If anyone has the qualifications to write about this subject, it would certainly be me! I’ve spent so many years of my life sitting on a fence that it’s embarrassing. Always jumping back and forth; knowing what’s best for me, but struggling with the things I want in this world. In fact, becoming a Christian was the first long-term, solid commitment in my adult life. But even then, things didn’t entirely change in this area. They did at first, sure. But somewhere along the way, I lost the excitement of my newfound faith and began to slip back into old habits.
Now, here’s what I’ve learned over the years about sitting on a fence. Not only do you develop some deep-seated, rather painful indentations on your bum; you become somewhat of a spiritual wanderer. Not to mention habitually indecisive, uncommitted, unmotivated, self-centered… Sound harsh? Then listen to what God says about people like me who sit on the fence:
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. ” ~Jesus, Revelation 3:16-17
“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” ~Jesus, Luke 9:62
“But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:26
I could go on, but I think it’s clear that God is not pleased when we are wishy-washy, or when we like “infants [are] tossed back and forth by the waves, and [are] blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming”. And in His love and grace, if we belong to Him, He will not allow us to stay in this condition for long.
And this is where it can get very scary.
About seven years into my “wandering“, my insistence on having my own way brought about a series of events in my life that ultimately ended with me on my knees. Broken. Humbled. In despair. Unable to do anything at all to fix my life. And repentant of the way I had been living up to that point.
God in His grace, rushed to meet me where I was. He accepted me back without hesitation. He healed my heart, set my feet on a new path in life, and gave me a strong desire to move deeper into Him. I became re-established in a church and more committed about being in the scriptures and spending time with Him, and He met me every step of the way.
Since then, God has done amazing things in my life and I’m overwhelmed by how much He’s blessed me. He’s brought many godly people my way who have positively influenced me in my spiritual growth. And rather than run from the truth I hear from the pastors and teachers in my church, I’ve been challenged to confront the attitudes and actions in my life that I know have no place being there. As a result, my faith and relationship with God have grown deeper and stronger.
Obviously, I will never reach perfection this side of heaven. And I have no doubt that those who know me best would quickly agree that I’m nowhere close to having it all together. But thankfully, neither of these are on God’s short list for me (or long, for that matter) and to strive for them would only be self-defeating and destructive. I’ve been down that road. What I’ve learned is that God is all about process, and transformation is a journey. When we fail, we run to God, then we get back up again. And repeat.
What God wants from us isn’t perfection. He wants our heart. Not someone who’s on the fence, deciding minute by minute where their loyalties lie. And for the first time since conversion I not only understand this, it’s where I want to be.