Exploring the “Fine Lines” Found Within Christianity

“There is a fine line between acceptance and denial and it’s not always easy to know which side of that line you’re on.” – Alan Robert Neal

“There’s a fine line between participation and mockery.” – Scott Adams

“The shadow is the greatest teacher for how to come to the light.” – Ram Dass

Imagine for a moment that you are a gymnast – standing on a balance beam several feet off the ground.  Located on both the right and left side of the beam are padded cushions – strategically placed in the event you slip and fall.

I wanted to start the following sentence with “should you fall”, but after some deeper thought; I’ll begin the sentence with “when you fall”, as all of us inevitably do 😊

When you fall, either to the right or the left, these padded cushions protect you.  But breaking the fall has nothing to do with success.  Either way, you have failed.  Success is determined by walking the fine line of the beam – doing so with eloquence, poise, and determination.

There is an analogous relationship to Christianity and this balance beam you’ve imagined – walking a fine line between personal accountability and total surrender, between individual choices and divine, sovereign purpose, and between self-redemptive acts or seeing yourself as irredeemable.

The padded cushions on either side of the balance beam represent truths – inarguable facts that cannot be denied, all supported and reinforced within Scripture.  But remember that falling means failure.  To emphatically embrace one truth without considering the other isn’t walking the balancing act of what it means to be a Christian.

This balancing act might sound difficult, but the reason I want to put a spotlight on it is to reveal the safety and assurance found on both sides of the beam.  Too often we lean too far one way or the other – losing our balance and perspective.

So many people I’ve met, so many people who closely share my life with me, fall on these padded cushions of truth and it taints their larger view of who God is and our personal role within that relationship.  They discount and devalue Christianity based on immersing themselves on the right side or left side of the beam and the cushions of truth that surround it.

As I mentioned earlier, we all fall and fail (myself included), so having a broader discussion on each of these topics is a form of self-help to me as well.  😊

Here is a list I will explore within the next few weeks – hoping to stimulate thought and introspection.


Scriptures tell us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), that faith alone without works is dead (James 2:17), and without it; we are destined to spend eternity apart from God (Mark 16:16).  Christ spent much of his time on earth admonishing those with too little faith while healing/helping those who were overflowing with it.

Yet in the same context, we are also told that our faith is instigated in our lives, refined, and finished by Christ alone (Hebrews 12:2), that little of it is required to do great things (Matthew 17:20), and that each of us are given varying amounts of it (Romans 12:3).

So, how important is our personal level of faith?  How are we held accountable for it when Christ is the proclaimed Author and Finisher of it?  How can we be judged when each of us are given varying amounts of it in the first place?

If my individual faith defines me, how am I humanly capable of pleasing God as it ALWAYS falters and fails?


There are many Scriptures that highlight the significance and importance of our personal choices (Deuteronomy 30:19), but there are an equal number that reveal a sovereign God whose purposes stand (Isaiah 46:10) – a God who moves human hearts to accomplish His personal will (Exodus 10:27 and Judges 14:4).

The 9th chapter of Romans talks about this specifically – a Potter who shapes His people (clay) to fulfill His ultimate purposes.  The Bible says we can plan our way, but it is God who determines our steps (Proverbs 16:9) and that nothing can happen if God has not decreed it to be (Lamentations 3:37).  So, do we really possess free will or not?

If I have personal choices that I’m held accountable to and God can manipulate those choices to fulfill His purposes for me and others, how can I be judged for those choices?  Am I in control of the decisions that drive my destiny or is God?  How can God be the Sovereign Ruler of the universe while I have the power to choose whatever it is I want to do?

Redemption and Judgement

The Scriptures tell us that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, yet there are verses that point out how we are in control of our own redemption – that being saved falls on the beliefs and choices we embrace.

Is the redemptive, atoning act of the Crucifixion complete in and of itself (John 19:30) or do we have a part in our own redemption (Romans 12:1 and 13:1-2)?  If we do, how is that humanly possible?

How can God judge me when He knows I’m incapable of anything good?  If there is no condemnation found in Christ (Romans 8:1), why then will there be a Judgement Day when all must account for their individual actions (Romans 14:12 and Revelations 20:12-13)?

As I mentioned earlier, there are truths to be found on both sides of the balance beam – no matter which side you happen to fall.  The problem that arises from a fall on the right side is we forget there are truths to be found on the left side of the beam as well.  Success within Christianity is found in the balance BETWEEN both truths.  Again, I hope to explore these truths in more depth in weeks to come.

Too often however, we forget to see the Christ in CHRISTianity.  We discount the truths found on one side of the balancing beam and embrace the side that seems more truthful or reasonable to us at the time.

As an example, we must take into account our personal actions and behaviors but those alone are not enough.  Without Christ, we cannot walk the balance beam of Christianity.  In the same way, we cannot exploit God’s mercy and grace by ignoring our personal accountability and free agency.  It’s a balancing act that can only be achieved by an intimate, two-way relationship between us and the Savior, between God and His children, and between the inner man and the Spirit that resides in each of us.

Too many people walk away from Christianity because they embrace the truth that they alone cannot live a life that abides by its principles.  But that is only half of the truth!

Without God we are nothing, yet no relationship flourishes one-sided.  We have a part, yet God supports us as we play our part.  What a wonderful thought to embrace! 

I hope you join me in the weeks to come as we explore these “fine lines” together 😊

God bless!

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