THE FINE LINE — REVISITED
Note: Originally penned for SIGN in 2005, then published as a key chapter in 2010 in my devotional titled “Something More,” this theme of “The Fine Line” once again is at the forefront of the spiritual dimensions significant for this season. It bears on the subtleties tied to our grasp of the Kingdom dynamics needed to overcome the challenges in seizing unparalleled opportunities. It is no longer business as usual.
As I’ve been praying lately, I’ve had a unique stirring in my heart regarding the spiritual implications of what I will call the “fine line.”
The “fine line” goes far beyond the portals of the narrow gate referenced in two of the Gospel accounts. It involves those moving into what some refer to as the deeper things of the spirit. It impacts those called to do something beyond the ordinary. Those who, in their times with the Lord, go beyond what most others will ever “see” or understand. Those who are serving as pioneers, paving the way for others. Those who have connected to something in the spirit, and by faith are hanging on.
For those operating in these leading edge arenas, the fine line describes increases in the delicacy and precision required to maneuver and advance. This is not to be confused with a prideful perfectionism. It will involve increasing subtleties of the distinctions between operating in the soulish realm and in the spiritual. For much being given, much will be required.
The more deeply we move into the spirit realm, the more we will recognize this fine line between operating in faith and operating in presumption. Between operating in the supernatural and operating in la-la land.
The fine line distinguishes between being strong in faith and forcing an issue. The fine line is the difference between being controlling and being able to speak into a person’s life. The fine line is being a trusted vehicle to speak forth the Word of the Lord, but not having the words we deliver being tied to an personal need for acceptance. The fine line separates faith and presumption. The fine line is that subtle gap between recognizing and correctly interpreting deep truths and over-spiritualizing. It is the very fine line between the flow of the Spirit and the subtle compulsions of the flesh.
This fine line is “the dividing asunder between soul and spirit” spoken of in Hebrews. It’s the distinction between operating by our own efforts and seeing the results from entering into His rest.
And the bottom line for the fine line — and whether we stay the course — is the poise of our soul. Issues of the heart. An absolute requirement for our openness to be REAL in the presence of the Lord. The cost of that “secret place” in His presence is a heart that can stand before Him without any covert issues – without any “secret” places or hidden agendas of the soul.
A recent popular phrase within prophetic circles has been that of the “wounded prophet.” Without any unkindness intended, I don’t believe you can last long in the prophetic and also have unresolved baggage. At least not if you expect to be traveling any distance beyond the narrow gate, down the narrow path. You’ll be coming up on the wrong side of the line if you do. I’m not saying prophetic people have to have it all together in all things. What I am saying cues on the word “unresolved.” Prophetic people are great for pressing in and going past the revelations to get special illuminations on things. But those who feel called to press into the depths; yet overlook what the Bible refers to as the issues of the heart are treading into hazardous territory.
And this is not a case for unfruitful, wheel-spinning introspection. It’s about learning to genuinely operate as Galatians 2:20 suggests, and as Paul admonishes the Corinthians, that we should daily die to self. You can’t hurt a dead man.
And that is the mystery: the exchange of His Life for ours. An exchange that means we are unfazed by the circumstance or situation. The key as we proceed is in insuring we guard our hearts, that we speak truth in our own hearts, and that the issues of our hearts are open between us and the Lord. Open and real … foundational for any genuine relationship.
King David’s Promotion and the Poise of His Soul
David, known as a man after God’s heart emerged from an extended time of great pressures and tribulations – to a time in which the promises came forth. He had rest from his enemies, he was made king and he prospered. Then came the episode with Bathsheba. As I recently went through this familiar story when Nathan comes forth to confront David, there is no doubt David is being convicted of his sin. But, as Nathan imparts the word of the Lord to David, there are strong clues pointing to the weakened state in David’s relationship with the Lord.
As Nathan confronts David in 2 Samuel 12:10, he addresses the core issue in David’s downfall. The passage reads that “the sword will not depart from your house, because YOU HAVE DESPISED ME.” Because “David despised the Lord” is a major departure from the one who always “sought the Lord.”
God’s Word through Nathan reminded David that the Lord had given David his master Saul’s house and his wives, as well as all of Judah and Israel — AND that IF that had not been enough for David, the Lord would have given David “much, much more.”
How could one who had been so faithful, for so long – be described as despising the Lord?
The implication is that David had become preoccupied and distracted in giving the Lord first priority. That preoccupation and distraction came within the context of the position God had put him in – to bless Him and to use him. The Word doesn’t tell us, but I suspect it began with the priority David gave to His time with the Lord. That intimacy with Him. That intimacy replaced with David following the momentum being carved out by his own strength.
David had come to the pinnacle of the promises and blessings God had spoken to him about years prior. Yet, at issue in his downfall, was the place in his heart He was now giving the Lord. Is there any doubt about the subtle encroachment of the pride of life, the love of the world and the lust of the flesh upon God’s anointed?
This would not have happened if David had been giving heed to the poise of his soul. The clear night that David gazed out and saw Bathsheba and was tempted – was not an event. It was the culmination of a subtle process. A process in which David lost focus and failed in that which had once been his greatest strength … being one whose soul was always “poised toward the Lord.” He was riding on the momentum of his past successes. And the Lord describes the condition of David’s heart – as “despising the Lord.” David had lost that place in the crucible – that place in which he once characterized himself as “weak though anointed.” No doubt, David had begun believing his own press releases. David had survived the years of persecution. He had arrived.
Thank God David could face the truth and that he knew how to repent!
Transitions and Promotions
We have prophesied transitions in process. We’ve spoken of understanding the times and the seasons.
There are many key players within the Body who, like David, have been waiting for years for what the Lord has promised. They have been faithful in that waiting process. And the time is soon coming when the fullness promised will be upon them. Many, like Joseph, are about to be promoted to sit along side of Pharaoh. Some, like David, will see the end of pressures and persecutions and be elevated to positions of prestige and influence and authority. Privileged positions prepared for them by the Lord. Privileged positions to enable the chosen, to be used mightily in the accomplishment of key God-ordained agendas. Key agendas they are being entrusted with.
But the Apostle Paul provides a key to the before, during and after – of the transition. Paul said that regardless of his situation, that he had learned contentment. He wrote the Philippians and told them that in whatever “condition” he found himself – abased or abounding – he had learned contentment. Why? Because his orientation was dependent on the Lord, – not on his circumstance. Paul also understood and lived the truth in Proverbs 16, that the one who rules his own spirit, is mightier than the one who takes a city.
There are some within the Body, who have experienced years of preparation for the calling God has for them. And the time is now. The time is like what was spoken of for Queen Esther – “for such a time as THIS!”
In his letter to the Romans, Paul admonishes them (Romans 12:2) “not to be conformed to the world.” The Phillips translation expresses that verse well by saying “don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.”
Of course we all know that. But why is this truth so important to those about to be promoted? To those who rank among the chosen? To those who have been the faithful? Because with the transition; with the promotions will be changes in venue and function that need to be recognized. And they won’t be recognized if that central factor operating prior to the promotion is in any way relaxed – the poise of our hearts toward Him – the priority given to our time with Him.
That means the time we spend immersing ourselves – each day – in His Word. That means the time, we spend in personal worship and fellowship with Him. That means the spontaneity to praying and seeking Him. Balanced in Spirit and Truth.
The deception with the promotion is that we have arrived. If anything, the process that led to the promotion – time with Him – is going to be more important than ever. The faithfulness that takes one through the time of waiting, has got to be at the forefront in addressing and accomplishing the agendas God has entrusted to those promoted. The fine line.
The Fine Line for Those Being Promoted
The fine line is maintaining that edge. The fine line is speaking truth in our own hearts, as outlined in the 15th Psalm. The fine line is constantly guarding our hearts with all diligence as we are admonished in Proverbs 4. The fine line is insuring that every thought is brought captive to the obedience of Jesus. The fine line is sacrificing our ego and personal agendas so that the love of God can flow through us; so we can be instruments of HIS purpose.
The fine line is operating according to the mysteries. To lead we must serve. True greatness is based on humility. We bless those who curse us. The fine line is not natural. But then, it is no longer our lives we are living. The fine line is daily avoiding spiritual staleness and never being satisfied with anything less than our passion for His presence reigning in our hearts. Never being willing to accept anything less than that wonderful consciousness of His presence.
The gifts may be flowing. Lives may be touched. Miracles no doubt will come forth in great measure. Incredible things will be accomplished for the Kingdom. But if we ever relinquish that poise of the soul toward Him and that time with Him, the result – for us – will be for naught. We will be like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. Regardless of our circumstance or position; whether we are facing promotion or simply allowing the Spirit to draw us more deeply into the agendas He is entrusting us with – let us maintain that place in Him spoken of by David as “weak, though anointed.”
The narrow gate is followed by the narrow path. The narrow pathway is a life guided by the Spirit. It’s what being a God-pleaser is all about. A life that cannot in any way be guided by the pride of life, the love of the world, the lusts of the flesh. Or our feelings – or our brilliant ideas – or the approval of man – or any other factor other than us operating in total oneness and harmony with the Master. That’s the fine line. And that’s the bottom line.
Father God, in the Name of Jesus, we bow our hearts before you. Lord, we thank You for the revelations from your Spirit and the Truths of Your Word. We thank You for the wonderful plans you have for us – plans for good and not evil. To give us a hope and a future. To make us increase and not decrease. Lord, thank You for calling us and choosing us to be instruments of Your purpose. But Lord, in all these things – we want You. We want more of You. Lord, increase the hunger in our hearts for You. Keep us far from the snares and the pits and the subtle deceptions that would entice us in any way away from that intimacy with You.
Lord God, we love You. And we need You. You indeed are our Everything. Lord, let there be no part of our hearts that we can’t bring before You. Let our passion for You reign and increase in our hearts – regardless of our situation or circumstance. Break our hearts afresh for You. Impart to us the gift of repentance. Grant us the grace to speak truth in our own hearts. Give us the spiritual vision, maturity and character to see the parameters associated with the fine line. Keep us far from the enticements of the soul, and may we be always in oneness and harmony with your Spirit, O Lord.
Grant us the consciousness of Your presence O Lord as we proceed in the everydayness of our lives. Grant us the balance we need O Lord. May the joy of your presence strengthen us. May your peace be an umpire to guide us along the right pathways.
Lord, may we be prepared for what you have before us. Thank You Lord for the truths you impart. Thank You O God for allowing us to be used – as servants in Your Kingdom. And in all You are entrusting us with, we pray that You would grant us wisdom Lord, so we never get the cart before the horse. We thrill at the deep things you show us. We are awed by the agendas you are bringing forth, for such a time as this. But in all of this, O God, we purpose in our hearts not to be moved by these things. Lord, enable us – that we might ever maintain that freshness and intimacy and wonder in our relationship with You.
Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and voice for the higher dimensions of spiritual game-changers and intercessors since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program and the Jewish Business Secrets YouTube series, Mr. Ruddick equips economic community builders with strategy where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.
He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
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