Straddling the Fence Will Give You Splinters
Monday, December 4, 2023
“To hold with the hare and run with the hounds is a coward’s policy. In the common matters of daily life, a double-minded man is despised, but in religion he is loathsome to the last degree.” – C.H. Spurgeon
The expression “holding with the hares, but running with the hounds” is an English term that dates back to 1546 when John Heywood first coined the phrase. It means to deceitfully act in such a way that you remain on good terms with both sides in a conflict. Nowadays, we call that “straddling the fence.”
In the Bible, there are many examples of people who had one foot in God’s kingdom and the other foot in the world. Simon the Sorcerer, whom Luke describes in Acts 8, made a profession of faith in Jesus, but also wanted to continue performing his feats of magic. In fact, he went so far as to offer the apostles money to teach him how to demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit. Peter rebuked Simon sharply, insinuating that either his conversion wasn’t sincere or Satan still had a stronghold in his life.
Even Nicodemus, a good and godly man, came to Jesus at night for fear that his fellow Pharisees would find out that he was a secret disciple. Unlike Simon however, the legitimacy of Nicodemus’s conversion was never in question, because he put his life on the line by openly identifying with Christ after His crucifixion, laying claim to His body for burial.
Even some of Israel’s kings weren’t immune to trying to have it both ways, Saul and Solomon coming readily to mind. But perhaps the greatest example of being spiritually wishy-washy was the Laodicean church. In Revelation 3, Jesus was so repulsed by their lukewarmness that He said it made Him want to vomit.
My friend, Jesus said that you can’t be friends with God and the world at the same time (see James 4:4). Cozying up to the unsaved world makes you not only God’s enemy, but also guilty of spiritual adultery (also James 4:4).
As my dad used to say, “It’s time to fish or cut bait!”
“But if it is unpleasing in your sight to serve the LORD, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!” Joshua 24:15 (BSB)
- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President