HOLD THE LINE
What comes to your mind when you hear these words? This term is used by the military as a tactic, in which a line of troops was supposed to prevent an enemy breakthrough. In a department store, it meant keep the prices the same and firemen use the same term meaning, let’s not allow the fire to jump over the line and keep people from harm’s way.
But did you know that term can be applied to the life of believers—followers of Jesus Christ?
Servants of Christ—Pastors, teachers, and church leaders are God’s frontline defense of His church on earth. They witness firsthand the devastating effects of Satan’s bombardment, barrage and onslaught of God’s redeemed people. They hunker alongside you in the trenches of life. Their genuine desire is to keep watch over you for your spiritual safety and salvation. On the Day of Judgment, they will report to the Triune God for the groups of souls, large or small, entrusted to their care. That’s their privilege, honor and blessed responsibility.
But what happens to these leaders at the mention of your name, how would they react—perhaps with a wince or a warm smile? Are you a source of joy or grief? Are you a blessing or a burden?
In the church of Christ no matter how hard we try, we have broken relationships. Because we live in a fallen and sinful world, things happen that separates us from Christ’s love and from one another. And nothing fills Satan with more joy than to infiltrate our ranks in order to create division. He wants you to think “the enemy is your fellow brother or sister. He stirs the juices of misperceptions. He hopes we hurt one another wielding the weapon of words. His goal is anarchy in the church: angry members, anguished leaders, and lost souls.”
I have heard too many times a brother or sister, who has been hurt by Pastor, Teacher or Leader, I WILL NEVER FORGIVE THEM FOR WHAT THEY HAVE DONE. Not realizing with these words they are only giving the enemy ammunition to keep us apart. Many, who have been hurt, stay away from the Lord’s house and the grace He offers through Absolution, hearing His Word, and receiving His Sacrament; thinking by doing this they are hurting the church, but in reality hurting themselves.
Hold the line, dear Christian, alongside your leaders! The battle is not against one another but against enemies that do not have flesh or blood as the Apostle Paul reminds us: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12). Use God’s holy weapon of Christian love to achieve your mission: “Keep on loving each other as brothers” (Hebrews 13:1). Jesus fought with the holy weapon of love. He prayed, forgave, and loved us to death on a cross. He chose to obey His Father’s will. He blessed those who wronged Him. And today, His church carries out the mission of forgiving others in His stead and by His command.
Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about forgiveness; we worry and fret, instead, about the injustices we have suffered and the people who inflicted them. Remember God has a better plan: He wants us to live in the present, not in the past, and He knows that only His love and Spirit will help us forgive those who have harmed and hurt us.
I therefore exhort you in the name of the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ to join your church leaders, and fight for one another—because you are fighting for their souls. Following the lead of a godly leader reveals your faith in and obedience to God. Besides, nothing fills the heart of the Father with more joy than the willing obedience of His Son. Nothing brings more glory to God than people and leaders declaring, “Let’s hold the line together in the mission of saving souls!”
Hold the line, dear Christian, and may your knees never be too stiff to bend in prayer! Reach out this week to someone with whom you feel distanced. Tell them, “I want to see you soon.” Pray that Christ’s love runs deeply through you in sincere words and affectionate feelings. May it give you the opportunity to share their burdens and to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows” (2 Corinthians 1:4, 5) to others, because they are our precious brothers and sisters—they are the ONES for whom Christ paid His ultimate—His life’s blood on Calvary’s cross.
Hold the line, dear followers of the Savior and fight the fight for the soul of your dearly loved and cherished brother and sister in Christ. Please, reach out to those who have hurt you, or you have hurt, and let us not allow the devil to continue to have his heyday but kick him out of the life of the Church and the hearts of His redeemed people.
God bless you as you HOLD THE LINE today and always.