When I was eight years old I made a list of will do’s, might do’s, and will never do’s. I remember the day very well, in fact I can even recall the smells around me when I think of it. On a piece of paper I carefully drew a straight line across the center of the page, and then another straight line about 1/2“ above the first. Then I labeled the areas. On the bottom of the page I wrote “Will do’s” this section represented all the things that were okay and good to do throughout the course of my life. In it I listed things I would do or like to do in my life, things that were morally okay. This section contained things like, eat candy, drink coke, ride a motorcycle, kiss a boy.. that sort of thing.
The middle line represented things that I felt were wrong but that I would likely do or try. This section was labeled “Might do’s”. I felt a little like I was being bad as I wrote in this section. I looked around as I was about to write of my intent to do things I had been warned against. Smoke cigarettes was the first thing I wrote down, (of course it wasn’t spelled right but it still made me feel guilty) speed in a car was another one. Drink alcohol, skinny dip. These were some of the things on this line.
Then I got to the “Never do” section. This section was easy to fill up with things like, run away, punch someone in the face, take drugs along with I think at least 15 other things. I am proud to say that most of the items on my eight year old never do list, remain in the ‘have never done’ column of my life. I wish I could say they all were but eight year old’s don’t always understand the turns life will take. Hey! At least all of the above are still in tact!
Throughout Scripture we are commanded to be separate from the world, we are in the world for sure, but we are not of the world. We are to be separate. In the first chapter of Daniel we read about a man who drew a line and said – on this I will not compromise, and he refused to follow what had become the cultural norm or allow it to influence his actions. He refused to compromise on God’s commands. And God protected him and blessed him throughout the years.
Daniel 1:8, 17: But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. (17) To these four young men [Daniel, Shadrach, Mishach, Abednego] God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning and Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
It is so much easier to go along to get along, to allow ourselves to get caught up in what the crowd is doing because life seems to go more smoothly when we do. Or does it? I’d have to say – no it doesn’t. How can we receive God’s blessings when we are not following His will?
What is on the other side of your line? What sets you apart from those around you? What commitments have you made that you refuse to compromise on?