A Line in the Sand


One of my favorite movies as a child was The Alamo.  I remember this Hollywood version of Texas history very well. I don’t think historical accuracy was a major goal of the director, John Wayne, who also starred as Col. Davy Crockett.  I remember watching Santa Anna’s Mexican army sweep into the Alamo and there was big John Wayne, swinging his Kentucky long-rifle, gallantly fighting to the last.

Before the final and climatic battle there was a romantic scene. I’m talking about girls and kissing and yucky stuff that eight year boys can’t stand. I’m talking about ‘kid romantic’; I’m referring to a kid who loved Daniel Boone, Superman,  and six-shooters.

The Most Romantic Scene:  The ‘Texacans’ and other Americans were gathered inside the walls of the Alamo. Col. William Travis (Laurence Harvey) stood before them and explained the situation looked bad, real bad. They were tremendously outnumbered (7,000 to 185) and no help was on the way.   Colonel William Travis is hoping to give Houston the time he needs to pull his forces together.

Travis speaks to the men who have been defending the Alamo. He tells them there will be no shame if anybody wants to leave.

Richard Widmark, a real Hollywood tough guy plays the role of Sam Bowie. For some reason lies on a blanket unable to stand. In the most remarkable and indelibly imprinted movie scene of this eight year old had ever seen, Col. Travis draws a line in the sand.  If you cross that line in the sand, you are saying you’ll stay no matter what. Nobody moved.

Then, Sam Bowie, laid out on a blanket says, “Carry me over boys,” or something like that. Then all the other Alamo defenders step over the line. I’ll never forget the image of that line in the sand.


I looked it up.  I look up the quote “line in the sand.” Here’s what it says, “a point beyond which, once the decision to go beyond it is made, the decision and its resulting consequences are permanently decided and irreversible. It’s a commitment. It’s something to believe in.

Now consider the Bible verse.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must BELIEVE that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”(Hebrews 11:6)

Do you believe? Do you believe something to the degree of committing your life? What does it mean to believe?

Too often we become a bit cowardly. We are afraid to believe something. “What if I’m wrong?” This is easy to think, I mean, after all, who can be sure?  Do I, should I, can I believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Would I, should I cross that line in the sand? We are talking about a decision and its resulting consequences that are permanently decided and irreversible.


The Apostle of Jesus Christ believed. They believed with their lives. I have been meditating on the Apostles Creed for about four months.  I have been asking myself, “Do I believe?” Do I believe as the Apostles? Let’s consider the first lines of the Apostle’s Creed:

“I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,

And I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.”

When I refer to the Apostle’s Creed, I am saying “Hey, I’m with those guys!” I am with the guys who took the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. I’m with those guys, and I understand that they gave their lives believing that Jesus was raised from the dead. I believe. I am in. Yes, I am ALL IN.

The Belief – it is the pledge, the ultimate undertaking, the position taken by the Apostles in this world.  I believe. I believe. I believe what the Apostles believed; I know what they believed that is the record which is the Bible itself.

“Love, peace, be cool, be happy. Let’s all be open, man.

It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as it makes you happy.”
“Just be open and be free and believe whatever you want.

Just as long as you believe, everything will be okay.”

Well, if that’s true, the Apostles died for nothing. “and if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”  I Cor. 15

They didn’t concede that there are many paths, many ways to God. They dared to say, we have met the Messiah and his name is Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You know what, my friend? I think it does matter.

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance.

The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” C. S. Lewis

In the days of the Apostles, belief in God was not that uncommon, belief in multiple gods was even politically correct in their time. They dared to draw a line in the sand. The line spelled but one supreme name, JESUS.

To say I believe is more than simply making a distinction between me and an atheist.  It is to say:

     (1)  GOD IS…Not a god, but THE God. I believe in God the father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only son, our Lord —- HE IS —He does exist and I accept HIM as “my God”, and

     (2) I have an unwavering conviction that HE is “a rewarder of them that diligently (earnestly) seek HIM. He will come through; I TRUST him… I believe this with my entire being;

     (3) I have an unshakeable belief in “The Word of God” – I believe God has spoken! What He says is the true. What He says is the best way not only to eternal life, but this life as well.

I BELIEVE.  I’ve cast my lot; I’ve devoted my whole self.

“I’m with those guys.” And we look to a group of Apostles.  What did they believe? What was their message?  Their message was Jesus Christ, crucified, dead, buried… rose from the dead. GOD IS, HE HAS SPOKEN … WHAT DID HE SAY?

God’s Word is JESUS.