I attended the Texas State High School Track Meet last year in Austin, as I do most years. My brother, who is a high school coach, had a great athlete going for the gold in the high jump. At each level the competitors who made the previous height would compete at the next level, which was one inch higher. The workers would set the bar higher for the purpose of identifying who the gold medal would go to. This is setting the bar.
As I watched the top nine competitors compete in the high jump, I couldn’t help but think about the thousands of kids that didn’t make it to the State meet. All had the same equal dynamics of time, high ump pits, weight rooms, seven track meets to qualify, etc. So why were these nine athletes here and the others back at home? It’s really very simple. While the state meet competitors developed a mindset of raising the bar, the rest settled for a mindset of drawing a line.
What this means is, some people, when presented with the option to practice an extra hour, value it and use the hour to achieve greater things. Others with the same option choose to say, “Nah, not today. I’d rather go hang out with my friends, crash in my room, or play video games.” This is called drawing a line.
Today I don’t compete in track and field like I used to, but I still use the same patterns and principles of truth that I learned back then. I stretch myself by stretching my faith with God. I ask bigger, believe bigger, and receive bigger! I set the bar when it comes to wining souls, giving financially, dreaming with God’s creative strategies to win cities, build retreat centers, gather thousands of fathers and sons, etc. We cannot look back, we cannot draw a line and state that we will not go forward with God and His will.
John 8:31-32 (NLT) Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
We have no other choice but to remain faithful to Jesus’s teaching if we intend to be called His disciples. If you look at the history of the Bible and his disciples in it, you will see that Jesus was always stretching his disciples or setting the bar higher. This was his method of growing them from faith to faith, glory to glory, and truth to truth, and it’s the same way He will grow you if you will simply refuse to draw a line in the sand.
Look at what Jesus asked of His apostles:
1. Leave your job and family and follow me.
2. Feed 5,000 men with a few fish and a couple biscuits!
3. Eat my flesh and drink my blood (covenant). 66 drew a line, 12 set the bar! (John 6:53)
4. Walk on water.
5. Do what I have done and greater.
6. I’m about to be crucified, and so will you. But follow me anyway, preach the gospel, and I will prepare for you a mansion in heaven where you will be with me always.
For over 27 years I have watched people who claim to be saved but draw a line. They seem to go only so far, then they draw a line and sit down, saying that this is as far as I will go, no further. What I’ve observed is that this is the end of their existence in Christ. No more adventure, no more thrill, no more achievement, no more gratification by experiencing the power of God coming through for them and getting them over the bar at a record height. Line drawing is the beginning of backsliding because people actually never stand still; we are moving forward or backward.
I’ve also witnessed people that step out in faith and choose to be stretched by God daily. These are people that tithe before they pay their bills. These are people that serve at a ministry like Jordan Ranch or go to pray for ladies on the streets of Houston that are about to abort their children. These people are riding a tractor cutting grass at the ranch; they are sacrificially giving above the tithe in the 2020 Vision, so that the next generation can use a ranch that is debt free to win millions. These folks are in the nursing homes and life groups daily setting the bar for God. These high bar people really believe that “all things are possible,” simply because God said so.
So do we draw a line or raise the bar?
We will one day be judged on this decision. Do the right thing today. You know what to do. Tell the officials to raise the bar another inch. Welcome to the great adventure of knowing God!
See you at the top!