Focal Passage: 1 John 2:18-27
Ever drawn a line in the sand? Now wait a second, I am actually being literal here.
Ever been at the beach and drawn a line, for one reason or another, in the sand?
People playing any variety of beach games from paddle ball to volleyball will often use nothing more than a simple line drawn in the sand to indicate the limits to the field of play.
Children draw a line in the sand around their freshly made castles. Romantics will draw a fancy line in the shape of a heart as they stroll down the beach hand in hand. The interesting thing here is that in almost every situation the “line” is so short-lived it hardly serves its purpose.
From tides coming in, to people trampling on it, to others drawing new ones, lines in the sand seem never to last.
What about a figurative line in the sand, and what about one specific to our spirituality?
In 1 John 2:18-27, we hear about “letting truth abide in us.” Truth is one of those “line-in-the-sand” kind of ideas, and here we are encouraged to let truth be the line for us.
Taking the things we know as true, the things about Christ, and applying them to the living of our days in an uncompromising way is what we are called to. It is tricky business. How does one draw a line to secure truth, while still showing the compassion and lack of judgment Christ-likeness demands?
The web site www.englishforums.com makes the following observation about the origin of the phrase “drawing a line in the sand”: It seems that one of the Macedonian kings, a bit short of cash, decided to invade Egypt, then a Roman protectorate. His army was met at the border by a lone Roman senator named Popillius Laenas, who ordered the king to withdraw. The king began to stall for time, so Popillius Laenas drew a circle in the sand around the king and demanded that the king agree to withdraw his army before he stepped out of the circle. The king, apparently impressed by the senator’s nerve withdrew. Incidentally, not only is this account verified by contemporary historians, but it also may be the only known instance of a line drawn in the sand actually stopping someone.
Sadly, drawing lines in the sand has come to mean very little as evidenced by that last line. Where the truth of all Christ is serves as our spiritual place where the proverbial buck stops, we must make sure it isn’t just a line in the sand.