Over the last few weeks we have heard great preaching about ‘picking your line’ and ‘holding your line’. The principle of ‘a long obedience in the same direction.
As I pondered over this and the importance of hearing God, saying yes and then not shrinking back, I was reminded that in both rugby and soccer it is import to hold the line. If you don’t hold the line, it affects all those around you.
A few years ago South Africa played a rugby test match against England. I was at the stadium that day and was gutted when South Africa was behind 24-3 after 20 minutes (South Africa did win in the end). The reason they were behind was that we had two new, nervous and inexperienced wings who did not hold the defensive line. Every time England had the ball and were attacking, South Africa panicked as the opposition advanced and they cut in to help the guy next to them on the inside and so created an overlap that was exploited.
They broke the defensive line and so exposed the whole team.
In soccer the defenders advance to create an off-side line to stop the other team from breaking through and scoring. If one player panics and runs back, breaking the defensive line, he puts the opposition on-side and the goal becomes vulnerable.
In our walk with Christ we are part of a community and when we hold the line we protect the church community. When we shrink back, the defensive line is broken, and we open ourselves and others to the attacks of the enemy.
Relationships is often where the enemy attacks the church to bring disunity and division. While our spiritual disciplines of prayer, scripture reading, meeting with others in Powerof10 homes and in Small Groups all help us to hold the line, I want to remind us of two crucial relational keys (or disciplines) to hold the line: repentance and forgiveness.
Repentance and forgiveness.
I want to encourage you to hold the line by guarding the relationships you have through being quick to repent and quick to forgive. Quick to admit faults, make right and quick to let go of offences. Jesus taught this attitude in the context of prayer:
Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us Mat 6:12 TPT
Is there someone you need to forgive, or ask forgiveness of today? Let’s be a people who hold the line by practicing repentance and forgiveness, making sure there are no relational gaps that the enemy can exploit.
Repentance and forgiveness may not always be easy, but it is always necessary!