A Story Line
One of my favorite movies of all time has to be Walk the Line starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reece Weatherspoon playing the roles of Johnny Cash and June Carter respectively. Immediately I purchased the movie soundtrack, and eventually when the movie came out on DVD I acquired it and became an instant Johnny Cash fan. The reason for this immediate buy-in was his determination to overcome several obstacles in his life starting with his drug addiction then his battle to gain the love, respect and acceptance of his father. I detected some similarities from his life that mirrored my own, with the exception of the music and singing of course. Among the obstacles in his life or what I call lines of resistance were his drug abuse and the “father issue.”
For example, at one point in the movie there is this scene where John and his friends are drinking beer on a concert stage just hours before an afternoon performance. During this scene June Carter, the consummate professional, walks into the auditorium dressed and ready to perform. She then challenges the tour team to stop drinking and shape up since their current behavior was endangering their ability to perform and finish the tour with dignity and integrity. She became so upset with them that she began to throw empty beer bottles at them exclaiming, “You can’t walk no line” as she walked away from the stage area. She was referring to their drunken stupor and their lackadaisical and carefree behavior, which if continued, would bring these public performers to their demise.
Although Johnny Cash was experiencing a promising and successful start in the music industry, he was limiting himself by drinking and popping the pills. This behavior was threatening his music career, his public image and his marriage. To be a great and enduring performer at any age you need to be at the top of your game mentally, emotionally and physically. You cannot be on the top of your game while compromising with drugs and alcohol. June Carter was simply conveying a strong message of personal restraint, discipline and integrity so that they could continue operating at a high level of excellence. Johnny Cash was jeopardizing and destroying what seemed to be a great start in the lucrative music industry by making poor decisions. In other words, he was not able to “walk the line” in his drug induced condition. It was only later in life that he put his life together and lived a remarkable life as a Christian leaving a legacy of struggle, but also of a person who overcame his lines of resistance. Today he is imbedded in the hearts and minds of many Americans as a country music icon.
The question you need to ask yourself is, “Am I doing the right things to ensure that I am ‘walking the line’ towards my destiny?” Are you currently making the right choices to ensure that you are following God’s plan for your life? In this book I will show you how you can cross and overcome the lines of resistance that will confront you at some point in your life. We will all face them at some point, but the question is do you want to live within these lines for the rest of your life or do you want to overcome them? Let’s start by defining what lines are. Then we can take a look at some examples.
Defining Lines of Resistance
A line is a mark that is preset, distinguishing a division between two distinct places. A line is a place of resistance where an opposing force comes against you attempting to restrict and hinder your forward movement. A line of resistance is something that opposes and keeps you in a limited, impeded, fixated position or a place where you feel constrained and living a life of mediocrity. We all live with some personal limitations whether we impose them upon ourselves or the imposition of them comes through our insecurities, our personal fears, our personal history or just our lack of knowledge and experience.
Lines of resistance can also be attributed when others attempt to impose them upon us. For instance, a comment out of line like, “Joe, you will never amount to anything!” can be a demeaning and hurtful statement that affects us down the road of life. Some children will grow up emotionally crippled by these words while others will use them as the means of motivation to prove their nemesis wrong. We will interpret life’s inconsistencies and cruelties differently than others, but there will be something embedded deep within us that will attempt to limit us in some way.
There are other names for lines such as personal constraints or lids. Whatever you want to call them we will encounter lines of resistance sometime in our lives. To accentuate my point let me familiarize you with some fun and interesting examples that will convey my point about lines:
– In baseball you have a baseline and a line that marks a home run. Nine innings is the line for an entire game unless the two teams have equal scores that require extra innings. To win games you have to become a great team who is skilled in both offense and defense, hitting and pitching respectively. The lines of resistance can be anything like the distance of the field, the wind factor, pitching prowess or lack thereof, even a capable defense, team strategy and personal limitations of skill and strength.
– In football you have to cross a 10-yard line to get the first down, enough of these put you over another line where you are awarded six points. Then you are given the opportunity to kick the ball between two vertical lines to add an extra point or at times you are award three points. However, at each attempt an equal force of eleven men who are trying to “hold the line” is opposing you. Crossing these lines require personal skill, endurance and strength, coupled with the ability to play effectively with your team members. The lines of resistance are obviously the opposing team, their size, strength and defensive strategy.
– In business you have deadlines, and those of you who are businessmen or businesswomen understand the importance of making those deadlines. When you miss your deadline it may likely hurt the bottom line. Here, the line of resistance is probably attributed to poor management skills, perhaps a disgruntled employee or the lack of communication among key team members.
– A belt buckle has holes that represent lines and these lines tell whether you have gained or lost weight, but consistent exercise and well balanced meals each day can trim and control your waistline. The line of resistance is an unwillingness to discipline oneself on a regular basis.
– When a man attempts to compliment a woman he uses a “line” in the hope of attracting her. When a bad line is used she will let you know that you were “out of line.” You probably need to take some etiquette classes because you lack the necessary social skills to talk to women. The line of resistance here is the lack of common sense. This line is commonly referred to as a respect line.
– There are emotional lines. Some of us can control our temper and keep it at bay while others live life with a short fuse. Angry people do not seem to have many friends. This kind of temperament can turn into a lonely line. Counseling for anger management may not be a bad idea to pursue if you want to overcome this line of resistance.
These examples are not exhaustive by any means, but they do convey the point that I am attempting to create. There are generally two types of lines that are common to everyone; boundary lines and lines of resistance. Boundary lines are usually healthy in nature since they are imposed by our parents, lawmakers, and common sense or by conventional wisdom. These lines are meant for our own good and well-being. They are designed for our safety such as looking both ways before crossing the street, observing speed limits or the conventional wisdom of “don’t drink and drive.” These are good boundary lines that we need to honor and respect because they are meant for our safety and the general welfare of those around us.
Lines of resistance are lines that we need to identify, break and overcome as they keep us in bondage or constrained inside a box of limitation. Have you ever heard the cliché, “Think outside of the box”? Well, there are times when we need to take that saying a step further and be determined to “Break out of the box.” It is not enough to think anymore, at some point you have to take action to break out of your limited condition into a different dimension of wellbeing and doing. Sound thinking is needed to start your breakthrough but your next critical step is taking action to make things happen. Your thinking needs to turn into action at some point so that you can produce the results that you seek. Desire is a good and commendable starting point but it means nothing without diligence breathing life into your situation, thrusting you forward manifesting your much needed breakthrough.
For instance, a person with good communication skills is most likely to be promoted over a person with a low verbal quotient. It could be that the person with a low verbal quotient is afraid to speak out in front of people for fear of being ridiculed and rejected by others so they will tend to hold back their opinions that may be beneficial on a team. This mindset may come from their personal history where perhaps a teacher or a peer in a classroom setting made fun of that student’s response to a question at some point. This person may now live with a personal constraint line of the fear of speaking in front of others. This scenario can breed insecurity or affirm a fear of speaking in front of others.
I know this scenario first hand since I experienced it myself but I don’t live with that limitation anymore. What helped me overcome my fear of speaking in front of others was a speech class that I enrolled in at college. It was a safe place for me to learn since everyone else in the classroom was just as nervous as I was to speak in front of others. Over time and exposure I became more confident in my ability to speak in front of people. Today I am an associate pastor at a large church where I speak in front of small and large audiences all the time. Do I still get nervous before speaking in front of others? Yes at times, but it has become easier to speak in front of a live audience since I do it regularly. Now my goal is to become a great communicator, one who can motivate people and bring transformation to their lives.
A Shepherd Boy’s Experience
In this book I will show you how three different people attempted to restrain the young shepherd named David. They attempted to limit David’s abilities and hinder his mobility toward his ultimate goal. David possessed such a healthy self image of himself that none of these lines of resistance affected him in any negative way. He was able to hurdle over these three lines of resistance with ease. If he overcame these hurdles with ease then we must ask and answer these questions, “How did he do it?”, and “Am I able to do it?” In this book you will learn how he accomplished his mission and became the renowned and loved hero that we read about today.
We all possess some personal constraint lines, again, whether they were imposed by our own personal history or by someone else. The question is which side of the line are you currently living in? Have you taken the time to identify the lines of resistance that try to limit you? Once you discover your lines then what will your plan be to overcome them in your life? There is a place where you can know when you have broken through your lines. It is referred to as the line of demarcation, a place that tells you when you have overcome the line of resistance in your life.
The Line of Demarcation
Now let’s look at the word demarcation. It is a word that means to discriminate or discern between two points. To take it a step further, a line of demarcation marks the end of something and the beginning of something new. It marks the end of the line of resistance and the beginning of a new place of living and experiencing life. Again, I am providing some examples from the sporting realm to accentuate my point:
– In baseball there are lines of demarcation concerning what is and what is not the strike zone. There have been a lot of arguments between umps, pitchers and coaches as to the demarcation of the strike zone; the distinguishing of a ball from a strike. In some games umpires can have a low strike zone while in other games the same umpire can call strikes consistently high or inside. When it is a bad call the fans usually let the umpire know by their boos. Even the fans have their own line of demarcation when it comes to distinguishing between the lines. In a game situation even the pitcher has to work with the umpire to understand his strike zone and adjust to it.
– In football when there is a dispute about a fumble the coach on the opposite team will call for a review of the play by throwing a red flag onto the field alerting the referee. Upon viewing and reviewing the call on the field the referee judges whether the knee was down on the ground before the player lost the ball or not. Many times there is a fine line of demarcation to affirm or overturn the call on the field. There has to be conclusive evidence to overturn a standing call on the field. At times I have seen calls that have been overturned and have led to one of the teams losing the game. These calls depend on how the referee judges the line of demarcation. The line of demarcation is often a fine line but one that we have to learn to distinguish if we want our breakthrough.
A Football Player’s Metamorphosis
My son was an outstanding football player who played first string positions in offense, defense and special teams during his High School prep football seasons. He played so often that he rarely got a break on the sidelines to catch a breath of fresh air. The joke around our house posed in question form was, “Man, are they ever going to allow you to get a breather?”
His genesis in football, however, was dismal at best and I wondered if he would ever play the game well, until one day he had a metamorphosis of his own. Prior to his high school years he played in the Nevada Youth Football League. He had never played the game before but wanted to passionately play. He had one small problem; he was timid when it came to tackling others which is a major part of playing the game. Whenever he would tackle a player he would grab on and wait for some of his teammates to join in on the tackle in order to assist him. It seemed as though he was fearful of hurting someone or being hurt himself. This was a personal constraint line that he imposed on himself probably because of his lack of experience of playing in an actual game. In my best estimation the line of resistance in his life was probably fear due to a lack of knowledge and experience.
One day there was an option play that took the running back around the side and down the sidelines. My son was playing the defensive end position and followed the play well. He ran toward the sidelines and gained so much momentum running that he just happened to meet the running back on the sideline at the right angle, at the right time with the right amount of speed and force. He had no other option but to plow him over by his shear momentum. It was a great site for any father to see as both of them went crashing down, kicking up dirt and grass as they tumbled and rolled on the ground. As he got off the ground I knew something had happened to him on the inside; there was a monumental change in his stride as he strutted back to the huddle. It was during this time that I discerned his fear had lifted and he had gained a new level of confidence as a gridiron man.
He had crossed over the line of demarcation. When he got back into the huddle with the team they celebrated with him as they smacked his helmet with their hands, a sign of acceptance into an elite fraternity of gridiron men. I noticed that in the plays that followed he was not intimidated anymore. For him tackling was not a bad thing after all. He had tasted the experience of a tackle and liked it; therefore, he crossed the line of demarcation and distinguished himself from his fear of tackling others by himself. My son had broken through the lines of resistance in his life and went on to have many more successful prep football seasons as an all around team player. The fear factor is probably the most debilitating line of resistance for many people. However with exposure, the right words of encouragement coupled with commitment, anyone can break the fear barrier. David was one of those who somehow did not know that fear existed; he had not lived long enough to taste its paralyzing effects.
David and Goliath
There is a story in 1 Samuel 17 about two armies that had come to a stalemate. The Philistines occupied one hill while the Israelites occupied another. The battle lines were drawn at this middle ground and for forty days Goliath, the Philistine giant, would go down to this line in the middle and taunt the Israelites. The story line goes like this:
A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.
Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand. (1 Samuel 17: 4-11, 16)
Goliath was challenging King Saul’s best men to a duel; a one-on-one contest that would determine the winner. However, no one dared to come out to face him since they were paralyzed with fear. However this day did not take God by surprise. He provided a way out of a tough place by sending forth His chosen servant. On this day He would summon a young boy by the name of David out from the shepherd’s fields and onto the battle field; from his duties on the pasture to his destiny in the battle field. On this day David was promoted from childhood to manhood; from working in the pastureland to serving the king in the palace (Psalm 78:70-72). A “shepherd field” was a real place but it also acts as a metaphor that resembles a “womb”; a place where someone is initially developed in order to enter and occupy another dimension of leadership. A shepherd field is a place of preparation, and development to gain the experience needed to perform at another level of service.
One day David’s father, Jesse, sent him on a covert assignment to see how his other sons were doing on the battlefield. David was assigned to bring back news of their condition. However this covert operation turned into an overt opportunity for David. He found his brothers on the battle line in a serious predicament. The question was, would David cross over into his destiny or stay on the wrong side of the tracks? Biblical history shows that David “walked the line” and won a great victory for Israel. This book explains how he did it.
David’s Three Lines of Resistance
There were actually three lines that David had to cross to distinguish himself from the crowd and as a champion. They were:
1. Eliab’s Line – Eliab represents the line of criticism. Eliab attempted to limit David’s movement by criticizing him severely. When you read through the story of the prophet Samuel’s visit to Jesse’s house to anoint a new king in the place of King Saul most of us would sympathize with Eliab’s emotional state since he was the first one among David’s brother’s to be overlooked as the new replacement (1 Samuel 16:1-14). Something like resentment festered inside Eliab’s heart from this point. Sometime later while he was serving in the king’s army Eliab was still stewing over his rejection and oversight by the prophet. It just so happened that Eliab encountered David on the battle lines inquiring about the reward for fighting and defeating the giant. Eliab detested his brother and his actions, which were evident in his words and tone. Any weak minded individual would have been crushed hearing these words from a member of their own family, but David was able to hurdle over Eliab’s criticism and overcame this line of resistance. His brother’s vitriol did not limit David from progressing and accomplishing his mission. He moved onto his next step with distinction and honor. David was brought to the king himself.
2. Saul’s Line – This line represents an authority line; a test of whether David could influence his leader with his abilities and gifts. After David’s short dialogue with Saul, David was given permission to face the giant. What leader in his right mind would send a young man to confront an experienced fighter? What did David say to garner the respect and permission of the king? One thing is for sure, David would not have confronted Goliath without the consent of the king. If we are going to face our “Goliath’s” we need to seek after and receive the permission and blessing from those in authority so that we can move forward with our calling and mission in life.
3. Goliath’s Line – Goliath’s line represents the line of fear and intimidation. David may have been oblivious to the unfolding events of this day. As the day unraveled so did the revealing of who David really was. This event propelled him into his life’s purpose that is often called destiny. Before we can possess our destiny we must first confront and pass the test of intimidation. Intimidation and fear will stare you down just before your promotion. It will be the enemy’s last line of resistance to hinder your forward movement and promotion. At this point we have a choice to make, on one side a mediocre life awaits you, but on the other side of the line your destiny also awaits. The reason we were created is within reach it is just one step of obedience away. We were created to rule and extend God’s kingdom on earth using the gifts and abilities that God wove into us. This particular day was David’s day of promotion and he crossed the line of demarcation and walked into his destiny and became known as the one who would slay tens of thousands.
The line of demarcation is a fine line but you will know when you have crossed it because you will have distinguished yourself from the crowd. Are you currently distinguishing yourself from others around you? If you are not then you need to face your lines of resistance and overcome them. If you are then I congratulate you for a job well done. This book explains and shows you how you can identify and break the lines of resistance in your life.
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