In some ways, living on the edge of danger compares to living on the fringe … that is, keeping ourselves separate from others. Both invite harm, or at the very least, unpleasantness.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES                  by Sally Bair

The Fringe

You’ve probably watched nature films that portray lions going after their prey. You may even have witnessed a predator going after an animal on the edge of the pack whose position makes it an easy target for attack. The animals in the center of the pack are safest because their sheer numbers, strength and experience make them relatively impervious to attack.

Perhaps we can compare such situations to our own lives. “No man is an island,” John Donne, the famous poet, wrote. Families need each other. Children need parents to feed, shelter and clothe them. Adults can provide those needs by themselves, and many choose to do so. However, we were created with other needs—love, encouragement and companionship. You might add to this list.

God provided us with family—not only biological but spiritual. When we become weak in our faith, discouraged or beleaguered by temptations, we can call on Christian friends for encouraging prayer or help.

A loving brother or sister in Christ  does not force us to remain in the pack but guides us in our choices. If we choose to leave the spiritual safety of our Christian pack for the fringe, we have that right. But such living will open us to the enemy’s attacks. Living on the fringe is like living with one foot on each side of the fence—not totally in the pack, yet close enough to the outside to be picked off by the predator.

We have many predators. And attacks can come quickly, unexpectedly. A little money, fame or power can cause us to want even more.  When we choose anything or anyone that might lessen our love for God, we place ourselves on the dangerous fringe of spiritual safety. The devil is our adversary who “…walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith ….” (1 Peter 5:8)

The Bible also tells us not to love the world or the things in the world. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15) Christians are wise to stay within the “pack” of other believers. A member of the Christian pack should partake of regular fellowship within a church or group. Such regular 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 Your protection and strength, which comes in part through Christian fellowship. Keep us from wandering to the fringes of our faith. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Washburn, WI 54891

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