Summary: God wants to help us move away from the margins (edges) of His love and continue to grow as close to Jesus as possible.
Overcoming Marginal Living
-Several months ago Robin and I were sitting in the living room one night and all of a sudden there was a big thump! We went into Zoe’s room to check it out and she had fallen out of bed. She was fine. We helped her back in and she didn’t even remember it in the morning. I think that has happened more than once.
-Well, I also read another story of a little boy who fell out of bed one night. When his mom asked him what happened, he answered, “I don’t know. I guess I stayed too close to where I got in.” It is easy to do the same with our faith. It’s tempting just to stay near the edge where we got in and never move.
-The word marginal is an interesting word. Just like a letter that you write has margins around the outside, the word marginal refers to being on the outer edge of something; living on or near a borderline, rather than near the center or interior. Marginal can also refer to something that is close to the lower limits of quality or acceptability; barely exceeding the minimum requirements.
-Growth is the goal of the Christian. If a child ceased to develop, how would most parents react? Would they be concerned? Of course! Doctors would be called. Tests would be run. The lack of growth means that something is wrong. When a Christian stops growing, help is needed. If you are the same Christian you were a few months ago, be careful. You might be wise to get a checkup. Not on your body, but on your heart. Don’t get a physical, get a spiritual!
2 Thessalonians 1:3 “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.” Let that be said of Christian Life Center! Let our faith be growing, and our love increasing!
-I’d like to for us to look at 4 keys from the Bible that can help us move away from the margins and continue to grow as close to Jesus as possible (these were borrowed from Lee McCloud who shared them a few months ago):
I. Develop the habit of Prayer
Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
-Spend time talking to God every day about life.
-Jesus Himself spent time talking with His Father in heaven. If He, the Son of God, needed to pray, don’t you think we do too?
-Now let me just clarify that you don’t have to do it like anybody else. If you like to do it first thing in the morning, that is great! That works for a lot of people. However, I also know people who do a lot of praying on the go. They really live the verse that says to pray without ceasing.
-If your prayers do not spill over into your everyday life, then they might remain somewhat artificial. One of the first things I did after shooting my elk this past week (after I made sure it fit the description on my tag) was talk to God and thank Him for blessing me with a successful hunt.
-Talk with the Lord about what you are feeling. Talk with Him and ask Him to show you areas in your life that need to change. Then ask Him for His help to make those changes. Share your life with God through prayer! He knows what you are going through, but He likes to hear about it and help you learn to see things the way He sees them. Prayer changes us; Prayer changes circumstances; Prayer changes hearts! Growing people are praying people!
Luke 18:1 “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Jesus was showing that God responds to those who cry out to Him continually. Hebrews 11 also says that God rewards those who diligently seek Him.
-So, prayer is a key that will get us away from the margins, taking us deeper and deeper into a close relationship with the Lord.
II. Develop the habit of Study
James 1:25 “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-- he will be blessed in what he does.”
-Get to know the ways of God by studying the Manual (Bible) every day of your life.
-You don’t have to be a scholar to study the Bible. I truly believe that God can and will speak to the simplest heart through His word. And yet we do have a responsibility to dig in and try to understand what God is saying to us through the Bible.