Living on the fringe of life reminds me of extreme sports people who “live on the edge” of danger, almost as if they want to see how close they can come to death. The same can apply to our spiritual lives. God doesn’t want us to live on the edge of His kingdom. He wants us to live in it, where we will find the greatest rewards.
Eternal perspectives by Sally Bair
You’ve probably watched nature films that portray lions going after their prey. You may even have witnessed a predator pursuing an animal that is at the edge of its pack. Those clustered in the center are relatively impervious to attack. It’s the ones on the fringe that become easy targets.
We humans need each other, too, not only for safety and the basic essentials of food, clothing and shelter, but for love, encouragement and companionship. God also provides us with spiritual family. When we become weak in our faith, discouraged or beleaguered by temptations, we can call on fellow believers for encouraging prayer or help.
The early Christian church, in fact, thrived and grew in number because of their close ties to one another. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
For people who have experienced lack of love, care or encouragement in their biological families, God provides them with Christian community that offers help in every aspect of their lives. God promises to be with us through all things, but He also does not want us to be lonely. We need each other. John Donne wrote, “No man is an island.”
By the same token, God doesn’t want us to live on the fringe of our Christian life. Even Jesus lived with close friends and His chosen disciples, who almost always stood by Him. Peter, in fact, vowing to protect Jesus, raised his sword against a soldier who had come to arrest Him.
Like the animals, we also have predators but in the spiritual sense. Their attacks can come quickly, unexpectedly. Temptations surround us. Our own thoughts can condemn us. And the devil, our adversary, “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith … (1 Peter 5:8)
Our resistance can be strengthened when we remain within the “pack” of other believers. Every believer should partake of regular fellowship within a church or group. Such fellowship offers family benefits. Love. Help when needed. Encouragement. Follow-up. A listening ear. Strong faith. Wisdom and knowledge of God’s Word. Most importantly, members of a Christian “pack” rely on God’s protection.
Lord, thank You for providing us with others who help undergird our Christian walk. Keep us from wandering toward the fringes of our faith in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.