Recently I followed an online discussion between some preachers known for their soundness in the faith and others whom some might describe as “liberal” in their theology. Over the vehement objections of the liberals, the sound brethren were promoting what they called “precision obedience” of God’s Word (Dt.. 4:2; 5:32; Josh. 1:7; Mt. 7:21-27; Ja. 1:22-25).
The discussion reminded me of Johnny Cash’s classic song, Walk The Line. Its lyrics speak of the great sacrifices a man would make for a woman, thus expressing his obvious deep love for her. Sometimes when I hear the song, I wonder how many of us could honestly say the words of this song about our relationship with God. As Christians, it’s easy to “talk the talk”…but do we “walk the line”? Those who loudly protest the biblical concept of “precision obedience” would apparently think it unnecessary, but are they correct?
Think about it. The song opens by saying, “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine/I keep my eyes wide open all the time/I keep the ends out for the tie that binds…” That’s what God wants us to do for him (2 Co. 13:5; 1 Th. 5:1-11; 1 Pt. 5:8). If we’re willing to do it for people we love, surely we can do it if we love God more than them (Mt. 22:37). We do whatever we can to keep strong ties with those whom we love, but do we do the same for God? If our family or friends need us, we don’t hesitate to go to them…yet do we easily find excuses to not attend church, read our Bibles, and pray?
“I find it very, very easy to be true/I find myself alone when each day’s through/ Yes, I’ll admit that I’m a fool for you…” Keeping true to God’s commands is not burdensome unless our prideful selfishness makes it so (1 Jn. 5:3). Obeying him might make it seem like we’re alone in the world because the majority won’t obey him and will think us to be foolish (Mt. 7:13-14; 1 Co. 1:18-31). Are we willing to confess Christ anyway (Mt. 5:10-16; 10:32-33)?
“As sure as night is dark and day is light/I keep you on my mind both day and night/And happiness I’ve known proves that it’s right…” So many have a dead faith in God, a faith not backed up by obedient works (Jm. 2:14-26). God wants our faith to be sure, with all our heart (Ac. 8:37). The only way we get that faith is through daily and nightly meditation upon his Word (Rm. 10:17; Ps. 1:1-3). It will be that faith which brings true happiness (Pr. 10:28).
“You’ve got a way to keep me on your side/You give me cause for love that I can’t hide/For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide…” While God does not take away our free will (Josh. 24:15-18), he gives us plenty of motivational reasons to love him. We owe our very existence to him. He sent his Son to take away our sins through a horrible death. He offers us salvation from an eternal hell. What are we willing to do for him (Rv. 2:10)?
“Because you’re mine/I walk the line.” He is our God…but are we truly his followers? If we love him, we will obey him (Jn. 14:15). We will precisely obey him. We will walk the line. — Jon