Do you remember these words?

“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, because you’re mine, I walk the line”

Most likely these words ring true to your ears when hearing the voice of Johnny Cash in your head singing his song, “I Walk the Line.” Now while this song is not about his spiritual relationship with the Lord, it is about a relationship with someone else. To keep that relationship his actions and his heart must align together with a standard that is fitting for that relationship to continue. Thus, the famous line, “I walk the line” sets the stage for how one must walk to keep our relationship with the Lord.

For all of us, to walk the line is a hard line to walk!

Have you ever seen in person or watched a video of someone walking a line between two buildings or from one side of a canyon to another? I have. Every time I see it I cringe at the possibility that they may lose balance and fall off of that line never reaching their goal of getting to the other side.

The Spiritual Walk

The line is a representation of our spiritual walk through life. When we watch the tightrope walk, we don’t always see the hardship one is going through when walking. We never feel the tightness of the rope or wire on the bottom of our feet clenching between their toes, or the crosswinds that are pushing them from the left and to the right. From our eyes, we are looking up at them while their eyes are looking down and across seeing both the other side and everything around.

We who are spiritual are to walk as the spiritual which means that we are to walk the line of faith. In the books of 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, Paul tells those in Thessalonica that they must walk in a certain way. For our purposes, we might say that he told them to “walk the line.”

You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory”1 Thess. 2:10-12

To walk the line their walk was to be worthy!

  • Worthy of God…1 Thess. 2:12
  • Worthy of the Kingdom of God…2 Thess. 1:5
  • Worthy of your calling…2 Thess. 1:11

The word worthy (kataxioo) simply means to be or become considered worthwhile, honorable, or proper. So, to walk the spiritual line our walk must be an honorable and worthy walk that is aligned with and focused upon the spiritual things of God.

When a person decides to step up onto the wire his/her focus is to get to the other side. In other words, they are seeking to overcome the obstacles ahead to reach their destination of freedom.

Walking A Firm Line

When the Israelite nation crossed the Jordan River to enter the promised land after a 40-year wait something wonderful is recorded.

“So when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant before the people, and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan”Joshua 3:14-17

The same is said of Moses as God led Israel from the grips of Pharaoh at the crossing of the Red Sea…

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided” …Exodus 14:21

God’s deliverance for those who “walk in a worthy manner” is unprecedented. Not only did He deliver His people from the hands of the enemy, but He also delivered them to His promised land. How did He do that? By providing what they needed and something firm to walk on!

Much like the tightrope walker, the nation of Israel as they crossed the Red Sea must have had several things going through their minds. As they looked to the left and the right, they saw millions upon millions of gallons of water that could come down on them at any minute. As they look back, they see nothing but fire and Egypt, but as they look forward, they see freedom from all of the turmoil they have gone through.

Our walk as spiritual people is much the same. When walking with God we have many things that are pushing and pulling at us from the left and the right. We have the person who we used to be the people we used to be around behind us, and the freedom God offers us in front.

When one steps on that line one must believe! Believe that they will get to the other side and that God will be there every step of the way to help them get there. But unlike the tightrope walker, we have something better to walk on, a firm foundation!

In Matthew 14 we remember the stormy event of the apostles while on the boat. Due to the high winds, they were fearful for their lives. But off in the distance, they saw something they had never seen before. A man walking on top of the water.

“But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward JesusMatthew 14:24-29

As Peter steps out of the boat his eyes are on His Lord and only His Lord. Because of this, the water he stood upon must have felt like the dry ground of the Red Sea. Firm to its touch, unwavering in its depth, and unchanging in its way.

However, as Peter begins to look…

  • He looks down and sees the things that in his mind should happen.
  • He looks to the left and to the right he sees the things that could happen.
  • Because of that his eyes and his heart lose focus of what needs to happen

“But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”Matthew 14:30

There are many things in this life that come from all directions trying to take our hearts and our minds off the Lord. When they do the worthiness of our walk fades into the depths of the sea but when we “walk the line” of faith our Lord is there to always save m

Our faith allows us to believe in the things that we can’t see, move through the things that we can see, and walk to the One that we must see.

When we possess a faith that walks in a manner worthy, we are walking on a firm foundation that takes us from one side to the other. From this life to eternal life. So, as we look to excel in our faith, we must be diligent to follow the words of the Lord as Moses did, to walk in the wonder of His ways as Joshua did, and step out into the depths of His power as Peter did to walk the line with God.

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Garrett married his wife, Cristen, in December 2005 and has four wonderful boys! Parker is married to his beautiful wife Claire and their daughter Taytum, Cohen, Ryder, and Kamden. Garrett has directed and participated in many camps, retreats, conferences, and workshops and serves on the national staff for Lads to Leaders. He is the President of Excel Still More and an annual writer and instructor for ESM. Garrett currently serves as the pulpit minister for the Hydro Church of Christ in Hydro, Oklahoma, where he and his family reside.