Life on the Edge

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Human hearts have always been fascinated with and drawn to the edge. The edge lies between the known and the unknown, the safe and the unsafe, the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, the possible and the impossible, the legal and the illegal. In the beginning of time, Satan pointed Eve to the edge. He did not highlight the beauty of all the selection of good fruit in the garden. He pointed out the one and only forbidden tree. His lie said, “God is not fair to restrict you from this tree.” The truth was that God was benevolent in granting permission to the host of trees in the garden!
This same tug is found in human hearts today. You and I have felt it. It is the impulse that draws us to the edge. As soon as an authority sets a boundary, our flesh wants what is just across the line. It doesn’t matter where the line is drawn, our flesh wants what is just across the line. That tug has its origin with the Father of lies, Satan. It is not of God!
This spirit of “living on the edge” is at the core of apostasy. It is part of every person’s journey who walks away from God and out into the world.
The reality is that when we first step out into the edge, we feel somewhat uncomfortable. We look around to see who’s watching. But soon it becomes normal and accepted and we forget it was once the edge.
Perhaps you have witnessed a relative leave the ways of Biblical modesty and put on short dresses. At first, when they are around modest people they tug at their dress to pull it down. They know they are over the edge. But not many years afterward they appear boldly uncovered and make no attempt to cover up. The “edge” is not so edgy anymore!
Or maybe some fad is first worn to places where the bishop or minister will not be present. It’s edgy and there is a tenseness that goes with it. But eventually it comes to church; it no longer feels like the edge anymore because others are also wearing it. Perhaps the first time it comes to church there is tenseness wondering if the preacher will say something to them. But nothing is said so the edge loses its edginess.
Maybe there is a written standard forbidding a certain practice or item. Someone comes close to violating it and nothing happens. Another person violates it once and nothing happens. Thus the edge is tested. They wonder, “Will anyone catch us on the edge? Does this standard still stand?” Then these people see someone from another congregation doing it and they feel more secure in it. It’s gradually becoming acceptable in their minds. Soon the standard is more defined by practice than by what is written. The edge of written standards is slipping. The edge is losing its edginess!
Then council time comes. Edge living people feel a little nervous. They cautiously say they appreciate the standards of the church and comfort themselves that they didn’t say they are abiding by them. Or they quiet their heart by saying everyone is doing it so it isn’t a standard. Or they say it’s a bishop’s idea and not the church’s standard. This at first feels edgy, but can become fairly normal with time. Eventually council time becomes easier on their conscience and the edge is losing its edginess.
This is life on the edge, and it’s right where Adam and Eve found themselves, just several feet from the Father of lies, listening to his taunting, tempting, smooth talk. This life on the edge welcomes change and sees little concern. It will at times even explain how much better it is on this road than the road of faithfully staying back from the edge. It will at times mock those who endeavor to keep the edge, the edge!
We should each stop and ask ourselves honestly, “Am I living on this kind of edge in life?” Perhaps we should ask our fellow brethren if they see us living on this kind of edge. Edge living is a sign of a serious heart condition. It is the same heart condition that got Lucifer cast out of Heaven and Adam and Eve cast out of the Garden. It is the spirit that says, “Yea hath God said?” Edge living has never contributed to building the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Parents, we must honestly look at the youth growing up in our homes. Are they living on the edge? Is that what we want for them? Will this lead them into Godly living and help them stay faithful to God in a society of decay?
As ministry, we must take the challenge to teach something more than edge living. We must set an example of living within the large pastures of God’s blessing and not on the edge. The principles of the Word and the standards of the church should be kept by us and our families without bumping them repeatedly or chafing under them.
But beyond good teaching and proper example is the call the keep the edge felt as the edge. As ministry we are called to speak up when we see truth ignored, Bible principles broken, and worldliness pursued. We are called to ask for compliance with our agreed upon standards.
Wise members will hear a good sermon and understand the edge from this teaching and choose to stay away from it. But others will need to feel the sting of rebuke when on the edge to really know that the edge is the edge.
As laity, we should be concerned about the edge. We should seek to understand where the edge is. We should help to establish and keep the edge according to the principles of the Word of God. We should honor the written edge of our standards as the minimum. We should ask council from ministry before entering something new and possibly edgy. We should be willing to live in the center of God’s large pasture even though we see others on the edge. We should help our children to this satisfaction of doing right for God’s sake. We should encourage others who are living safely back from the edge and be ready to challenge those living on the edge.
May God grant us the wisdom to know where He wants the edge to be in church life and let us faithfully stay well within the bounds of His smile of approval and blessing. May we be part of the faithful bride of Christ by resisting the urge to live life on the edge!