There are national borders that separate one country from another. Most people live spread out all over the country. However, part of the population lives in the border region. Some of these people commute to the neighboring country. They like doing this because it benefits them.
Let us apply this example to the spiritual realm.
There is a border between Christianity and the World.
This border was not drawn by people. It was not determined through human reasoning, as was the case with national borders in Europe after World War II, for example. This invisible border, drawn by God, is described for us in the Holy Scriptures:
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.” (Psalm 1:1) or
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16).
This tells us to avoid literature, video games, friends, and other things that tarnish our Christian ideals.
In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul gives us the following words of warning: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15) He is warning the children of God not to cross the border. He wants to keep them from leaving the Kingdom of Light and returning to the Kingdom of Darkness.
Solomon warns us not to move the border drawn by our fathers (Proverbs 22:28). If people or preachers move the border, previously unthinkable things and developments will be tolerated. I personally would never have thought that certain things from which I fled as a young man some 40 years ago would make their way into our congregations.
This is caused by the border crossers who like bringing things from behind the border back into the congregations. My dearly beloved in the Lord: That will have consequences!
In some large churches, border crossers have managed to get people to tolerate sins that are clearly condemned by the Word of God. Did that happen overnight? No! The borders were moved gradually, over decades. We end up in the Kingdom of Darkness despite still calling ourselves Christians. We say: But we must love all people. That is true. We love the people, but the sins must be punished.
In connection to this, the same question came to me again and again: Has the effectiveness of the Holy Spirit changed? No, the working of the Holy Spirit has not changed.
Someone wrote the following: “All knowledge imparted to us by the Holy Spirit in the past will never contradict what the Holy Spirit tells us now or will tell us in the future.”
The drastic changes that have been taking place among self-professing Christians in recent times can be connected back to these words from the Lord: “The people no longer want to be disciplined by my Spirit.” That alone is the cause of the shifting borders in the spiritual realm.
What Defines Cross-Border Christians?
1. They spend time too close to the border.
Brother S. Weissburger was asked: “Why are Christians deserting the faith?” He answered: “They are living too close to the border.”
Let us take residents of a border region between two countries as an example. They are familiar with the currency, traditions, and customs of the neighboring country. They know its language to some degree and are familiar with the country’s advantages and disadvantages in comparison to their own.
This is a good metaphor for the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness. Somebody living too near the border knows what is happening on the other side. Border crossers look at the things going on behind the border, including language, behavior, fashion, pride, vanity, love of money, music, and other things of the world.
They are often only one step away from crossing the border entirely and living in the Kingdom of Darkness. We read in 2 Timothy 4:10: “For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed to Thessalonica….” Demas had been one of Paul’s colleagues. At some point, however, he deserted the brothers and fell in love with the world. He took that one step that effected this great change.
2. Cross-border Christians ask: What can I do and still be a Christian? Can I go to the movies? How deep can my neckline be? How short can my dress be? How much can I dress up? (Hint: Note how makeup is stored in “vanity” cases – and vanity is closely associated with pride.)
God’s Word clearly and categorically forbids joining in the vanity of the heathens: “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind” (Ephesians 4:17).
What about the borders of the forefathers who taught simplicity, humbleness, and plain living? Are you still observing them? In Jeremiah 6:16, we read: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.’”
3. Border crossers do not ask: How can I grow closer to the Lord? They do not have a deep longing to deepen their knowledge of and relationship with God. It does not interest them enough. On the other hand, those living far from the border and near to the Lord have a thirst for a deeper spiritual life. They long for sanctification, seek it, find it, and live it out. Advancing the Kingdom of God is very important to them. What a difference there is between a border crosser and the child of God who loves the Lord more than anything!
Serving God Within His Borders is Wonderful!
We read in Malachi 1:5: “Your eyes shall see, and you shall say, ‘The Lord is magnified beyond the border of Israel.’” Has that been your experience as well?
The glory of God fades in the borderlands with the Kingdom of Darkness. The core of an energy source, e.g. an open fire, is its warmest part. The greater the distance from the core or center, the colder it gets. By this reasoning, it follows that: the love of God threatens to cool off in border crossers, but burns bright in those that walk at the side of the Lord. The effects on their lives are obvious: righteousness, holiness, pure and lovely speech (language of Zion), modest conduct between men and women, and much more.
As long as the people of Israel stayed within God’s borders, things went well for them. When they spent more and more time with the heathens, adopted their customs, and married them, they fell from grace and became a tribe like all others. This is the danger facing all cross-border Christians!
God does not want border crossers. He calls to them: Come nearer to me, my child, come nearer! Jesus wants to draw you to His breast like John. Border crossers do not (or no longer) know how wonderful it is to be in the center of God’s burning love and how this love pleases the heart. The border crossers cost the Holy Spirit and pastors a lot of effort. The more border crossers a congregation has, the worse its overall spiritual condition.
What does God expect from a congregation and from every individual, both young and old?
1. Observe God’s borders.
2. Draw nearer to God and leave the borderlands behind.