At times in our lives we can all find ourselves living on the edge. It may be the edge of a major problem or the edge of a major breakthrough, but either way, the edge is not a place to stay. We need to quit living on the edge of emergency and sin, and start taking start taking steps to move toward God and grow in our faith, even if we have to move past the edges of our comfort zone.
I Quit 4 – I quit living on the edge
Sermon Notes by Marshal Blessing
Redemption Church Plano Texas
I Quit Title
What have you quit lately?
Sometimes we can tend to stigmatize quitting. We say things like, “Don’t be a quitter.”
But when you are able to quit something harmful, that deserves to be celebrated.
Quitting can be hard, just ask someone who has quit smoking. But in each of our lives there are probably a few things we need to quit.
Over the past few weeks we’ve told you about a few things you may need to quit doing: Quit hating your life, Quit loving your life, and Quit going to church. If you missed those sermons you should check them out on our website.
If you recognize something holding you back in your life, we hope that you will have the strength to say “I Quit.”
If you have questions or you need support, please talk to us. If you want to contact us anonymously you can use our Text Line 214-856-0550. We want to address your questions, and we want to help you quit.
Now, let’s be honest. There are probably some things all of us need to quit doing. I know there are things I need to quit. There are things you need to quit. For instance, I bet many of you, if not all are living on the edge.
I Quit Living on the Edge
Turn to somebody and tell them “Quit living on the edge.”
What are we talking about? There are times in everyone’s lives when we find ourselves living on the edge.
An edge is a transition. It is where one things ends and another begins. We all find ourselves at times of transition in our life. We can all find ourselves on the edge. But that’s not a place to live. We shouldn’t set up camp there.
With an edge, one side is better than the other. When we look at any transition or choice each side can have its pros and cons. We can tend to be “on the fence.” But today when I say edge, I mean that one side is significantly better, and one side is significantly worse. Think of a cliff. That’s an edge.
When you cross over an edge it can be hard to come back. It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult.
You may have some climbing to do.
There is some danger when you are approaching an edge. Cliff_Warning_Signs
That’s why they put up signs: Caution! Hazardous Cliff! Stay back!
Now you can end up there in different ways. We might get pushed out to the edge by circumstances.
Or we might inch closer to it ourselves. Until we find ourselves right on the edge.
The problem is that humans are adaptable. God gave us the ability to get used to things. Being on the edge might make us nervous at first. If you’ve ever stood on a cliff and looked over, it tends to make you a little uneasy. But if we stay there for a while, we will get used to it. We’ll set up camp. We say, “It’s not so bad.”
Over time we get comfortable on the edge, and that’s when things are really dangerous. We lose the sense of peril that we are actually facing. Over time we can get a sense that the work it would take to move away from the edge is actually worse than the small risk of falling off the edge. That’s crazy!
Cliff_House_Picture_1 Here’s an example. This was a house here in Texas. It was built on a cliff overlooking Lake Whitney near Fort Worth. This picture was taken about a year ago, in June of 2014. Sure there’s a cliff, but they have a beautiful view. To be fair, when the house was built the cliff edge was a little farther away. But over time, that cliff eroded, and that edge moved closer, and closer. But do you know how expensive it would be to move a $700,000 home? And it still has a great view… The question is, at what point do you stop living there?
Cliff_House_Picture_2 Fortunately, the owners vacated the house before this happened.
This is what happens when we live on the edge. The problem is we don’t know when it will happen, and we can always tell ourselves, “It won’t happen today.”
What’s worse is that it can affect others. *Music stand example*
If others see us living on the edge, over time they can come to think that it’s safe. They could be depending on us, and one day we’re not there for them because we went over the edge. Or worse, they could move out onto the edge with us. Your kids, your family, your friends, you can take them over the edge with you. Wouldn’t that be terrible?!
Does this make sense? We need to quit living on the edge. It seems pretty straightforward. But I’m talking about more than buying a house on a cliff. We can live on the edge in many different ways.
If you’re engaging in any kind of risky behavior, you’re living on the edge.
Quit Living on the Edge of Emergency
Many of us need to quit living on the edge of emergency. If you’re doing something that could potentially have a devastating impact on your life, but you tell yourself, “That’s never going to happen.” YOU ARE LIVING ON THE EDGE!
We just finished a sermon series about our finances. If you don’t have some savings or an emergency fund, you are living on the edge. You are just one car problem, or health problem, or job problem away from a financial emergency. You are living on the edge.
But it doesn’t have to be financial. It could be your health. If you eat a Baconator cheeseburger every night for dinner and you never exercise, you could be living on the edge. That cliff is creeping closer and closer, and one day you are going to have a major problem. If you never brush your teeth, you’re living on the edge.
If you have medical issues or mysterious symptoms, but you don’t want to get it checked out by a doctor, because “it’s fine, it will probably go away.” You could be living on the edge.
If you’re doing things at work that you shouldn’t be doing, because you think you’ll never get caught.
If you’re doing anything illegal. If you’re using drugs. If you’re becoming dependent on alcohol. If you frequently text while driving. You’re living on the edge.
We need to quit living on the edge, because if we don’t, one day we will go over the edge.
I realize this is a challenging message. Please don’t tune me out. When we’re living on the edge, and we’ve gotten comfortable, we don’t like it when someone points it out and says, “Hey, that’s dangerous.”
But it is! I love you. I don’t want you to fall off the cliff. We need to identify areas where we’re living on the edge of emergency, and we need to quit. We need to move away from the edge.
Now, some of you might say the problem is that you’re not living on the edge by choice. You don’t think you can move away from the edge. I want to tell you today, that there is always something you can do.
First and foremost, you can pray. With God all things are possible. He doesn’t want you to fall off the edge. Pray. Reach out to God. Ask Him for help. Ask Him for guidance. Don’t stop reaching out to Him.
Second, escaping the edge is often a matter of priorities. We know the edge is a problem, but other things seem more urgent. In the past Pastor Chris has talked about letting the urgent preempt the important. Getting away from the edge is important, but other things seem more urgent.
We need to shift our thinking. Getting away from the edge is important, but we also need to realize that it is urgent. We could go over the edge today! We need to move. We need to start taking steps to get away from the edge right now.
During the Financial Peace sermon series, we introduced the phrase “Gazelle-like intensity” but we never really explained what that means.
Picture a gazelle out on the African plains. When it is getting chased by a cheetah, it is living on the edge. It is one misstep away from being lunch. It doesn’t have time to think about other things, or stop and take a break. It has to be focused on getting away from that cheetah. It needs to put space between itself and that cheetah until it is safe.
We need to have the same intensity when we are moving away from the edge of an emergency in our life. The danger may not seem as real as a predator bearing down on us. But we need to see that it is.
We need to be focused on putting space between us and the edge. Make it a priority.
Proverbs 6:4-5 NIV Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
Be intense. Be focused.
Now this term comes from the financial peace course, and there are tools and guidance that can help you avoid a financial emergency. But “Gazelle-like intensity” applies to any area of our life. If you are on the edge of an emergency you need to be intense. Don’t stop until you are safe.
It takes perseverance.
James 1:4 NIV Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:5 NIV If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
Again, start by praying. Ask God to open your eyes to the danger you are facing. Ask Him for the wisdom to know what to do. Ask Him for the wisdom to distinguish the urgent and the important.
But you need to be committed to it. Don’t go back and forth. Don’t doubt that the problem is real. Don’t doubt your commitment to getting away from the edge.
James 1:6 NIV But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
James 1:7-8 NIV That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
Don’t be double minded. You’re either committed to living on the edge or you’re committed to getting away from it. If you go back and forth you are unstable.
Cliff_House_Picture_1 Imagine if their house looked like this and the owner couldn’t decide if they wanted to move out or not. So they would move their furniture out, and then move it back in. Out and back in. That’s even more unstable than if they just stayed put.
This reminds me of the parable of the man who built his house on the rock and the man who built his house on the sand.
Matthew 7:24-25 NIV Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock.
Matthew 7:26-27 NIV But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Does that sound accurate? The cliff in that picture was made of sand. But in this parable Jesus is talking about obeying His teachings. Jesus it talking about our spiritual life as well as our physical life.
The truth is we can be living on the edge in our spiritual life as well. We need to quit living on the edge of sin.
Quit Living on the Edge of Sin
The problem with sin is that the edge might look really appealing. It might look like a great place to live, for a season, before it crumbles. As Christians we sometimes see just how close we can get to the edge…
because we know we’re supposed to stay up here, but we really want to get close to where we’re not supposed to be.
And since it’s a spiritual thing it’s sort-of invisible. Where is the line? It’s easy to lose track of where the edge is. And if you can’t see the edge it’s really easy to go over.
It’s like the story of Abner. We mentioned him way back during our Dumb Ways to Die Series because he died in a really dumb way.
This is Old Testament stuff. Back when David had just becoming king, Abner had killed Asahel. So Asahel’s brother Joab wanted to kill Abner. Joab wants to kill Abner. But in those days if someone wanted to kill you, you could go to particular cities, “Cities of Refuge,” where they weren’t allowed to kill you. All you had to do is stay in one of those cities and you would be safe. The city of Hebron was one of those cities.
2 Samuel 3:27 NIV Now when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the gateway, as though to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him in the stomach and he died.
Joab got Abner to go out to the gate. Abner stepped over the boundary of the city and Joab killed him. He lost track of the edge and he died.
Don’t be that guy. Don’t push the limits. Don’t see how far you can go. If you are approaching something that might be sinful, turn around! Repent! The edge might be closer than you think.
Jesus told the people, “You’ve heard it said, ‘Do not commit murder.’” And the people said, “Yeah. We don’t do that.” But Jesus said, “If you are angry with someone, it’s the same thing. You’ve already crossed the line.”
You’ve heard it said, “Do not commit adultery.” But if you look on someone with lust you have already committed adultery. You’ve already gone over the edge.
We could find ourselves over the edge of sin; we could still be near the edge, but living on the wrong side.
Now we might be tempted to say, “Well, if I do cross the line – if I sin – I can always repent.” That’s true, and I pray that you do. But you still might have to deal with the consequences. And if we don’t turn back soon enough, the crash can come suddenly.
Samson was a man who lived on the edge. He was set apart by God before he was born, but he often went over the edge of sin. He figured “I’m strong, I’ll be alright,” until he found out that sometimes when you go over the edge it’s not so easy to come back.
You know the story. He had been living with a Philistine woman named Delilah, and she wanted to know the secret of his strength, because she was working for his enemies. He would tell her things, and she would try them. He eventually told her it was his hair, and she waited until he fell asleep and cut his hair off.
Judges 16:20 NIV Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!
He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.
That could be us. We think, I’ll have time to fix this later; until we don’t.
In a way sin is like cancer. It grows but we can’t always see it.
Imagine if you noticed an ugly spot on your arm, but you think, “It will probably go away.” A few months later it’s still there. A few months later it’s a little bigger. But you think, “I’ll deal with it later.” You’re living on the edge. You put it off, and put it off. It gets bigger and uglier, until you decide, “Okay, I’ll get it checked out.” Well, it’s skin cancer. And what’s worse, it’s been growing inside you. It’s spread to other parts of your body, and it’s going to be really hard to remove it, if that is even possible. They could have taken care of it easily if you had gone to the doctor when you first noticed it, but now it’s too late. You crossed the line several months ago, and you didn’t even realize it.
Sin can work the same way. If you’re trying to manage some sin problem in your life, it won’t work. Turn back today! Repent today! You may think you have it under control, when it’s really getting worse and you don’t realize it.
Quit living on the edge, move back towards God. You may have gone over the edge already, but you can always turn back to God. You may still have to deal with some of the consequences, but God is always ready to take you back.
And the amazing thing is that the edge to turn back to God is always right behind you. Just turn around!
Then move toward Him and quit living on the edge!
Even before we turn back to God we are living on the edge of a breakthrough. **Musician**
Quit Living on the Edge of Breakthrough
As a matter of fact, we are almost always living on the edge of a breakthrough in our faith. God always has something more for you. Repentance, baptism, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, there is always more that God can do in your life and through you as you grow in your faith, but all too often we are reluctant to leave the edge we’ve established for ourselves.
After the Apostle Paul was taken prisoner in Jerusalem, he got to preach the gospel to Felix, the governor of Caesarea.
Acts 24:25 NIV As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control, and the judgement to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”
Felix was afraid. He realized he was on the edge of something huge, but he didn’t want to leave where he was comfortable until it was “convenient.” Don’t be that guy. It will never be more convenient. Move toward God today. God has awesome things for your life, but you have to step over the limits you’ve imposed on your faith life. Quit living on the edge.
Quit Living on the Edge; Breakthrough
It’s like the Israelites at the Jordan river. They were at the edge of the Promised Land, but they didn’t want to cross over. Be bold! Make a move towards God today.
You have an opportunity right now.