In Every Horizontal

“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the LORD your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD… So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God… You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” Leviticus 18:2-5,30; 19:2

The nation of Israel was birthed in a foreign land, when Abraham was called out of Ur in his native Mesopotamia to a land I will show you. After an initial pause in Haran, Israel’s patriarch trekked forward in faith toward Canaan. This initial planting was a picture of God’s plan for them: to cut ties with the world they knew and be bound to Him, belong to Him, follow His ways, and bear holy fruit. Theirs was to be a vertical identity and allegiance in every horizontal movement they made. (Genesis 11:31-12:7)

We, too, live in an unholy criss-cross world. God calls us, from above, to come out from the world and be separate from its unholy ways of thinking and behaving. Practically, we are to remain in the world, but not be of it. We daily encounter pressures and movement, we enter and exit places and conversations, decisions and challenges, all on a horizontal plain. We are attracted and opposed, pushed and pulled, and it takes resolve to keep our compass heading in the right direction. It behooves us to stay connected vertically and keep attuned to our heavenly Lord’s voice. He is LORD, and He calls us to be holy. (John 17:14-16; 2 Corinthians 6:17)

Where are we headed today on the horizontal? Left or right, east or west, work responsibilities, familial and friendship duties, service for country or community? In every place, people and statutes and customs strange to our Lord, and foreign to His uprightness, will do what they do and say what they say, and their magnet may be strong. We must be vigilant to acknowledge who is actually LORD, and to walk with Him. Walking in His Spirit secures us against gratification of the flesh, and keeps us in step with Him. Remember, He is LORD, and He calls us to be holy. (Galatians 5:16-25)

“May the mind of Christ, my Savior, 
Live in me from day to day,
By his love and pow’r controlling 
All I do and say.

May I run the race before me, 
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus 
As I onward go.” ~Kate Barclay Wilkinson (1859-1923

Father, You are holy. May You be enthroned on my praises and in all my doing as LORD of me. Help me live with a vertical mindset and heart affection in every horizontal push and pull, so You are glorified as supreme. (Psalm 22:3)

2 thoughts on “In Every Horizontal”

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