Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV)
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
In my head an image formed of me standing on the edge of a cliff over the water a massive storm was approaching with wind, rain, thunder and lightning coming from black clouds. It was beautiful and dangerous in its own right. As I stood there watching from what seemed to be a safe distance, the gentle breeze rustled through my hair and I could feel a midst on my face. Closing my eyes, it was almost calming until I opened my eyes to see that there was no time to run for the violent storm was fast upon me. In shock and awe, I waited to be sucked up in the violence of it. Suddenly, my perspective changed and just as I almost fell over the side a giant hand reached out and grabbed me. It was so large and powerful that you could not even see my form anymore as it shot back into the cover of clouds instantly. This came to me a couple weeks ago, and I really did not think much of it other than the Lord comforting me in the midst of our chaotic life. That is until a friend called to share something with me that came to her while praying for me. Her story began with “I saw you standing on the edge of a cliff…” My life of late has driven me to the edge of my faith and challenged everything that I believe. Traveling through the wilderness has not been a pleasant experience. The Word that I have laid down as the foundation of my faith does not seem to be working at it has in the past. The things that I believe God intends for my life are not clear and evident at least to my very human eyes. Rather than being caught into the clouds of His Magnificent Presence, I feel like a runner in the midst of a marathon who tripped over a rock unceremoniously landing on the ground. On all fours, I look at the dirt as it becomes mixed with tears and sweat. Why am I running this race of faith again? Where am I going? Will I ever cross the finish line? Where is the victory? I want to press on and lay hold of that which Christ laid hold of me, I do. But in this moment, my humanity has overtaken me and I don’t have the strength to get up. He is calling me upward but from this position it is hard to perceive. This is life on the edge. It is not for everyone…
I Kings 19:9-14 (NKJV)
And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” So he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your Covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” And he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your Covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”
Elijah was a mighty prophet of God who had just experienced a great victory was not running for his life. He had executed all the prophets of Baal and Jezebel was not at all happy with him. He went into a cave to hide for the night when the Lord spoke to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Like most of us who are fearful, he begins to pour out his dilemma to God as if it has gone unnoticed or that Lord cannot see our quaking form hiding in the darkness. He recounts his obedience and allegiance to God. He tells him that now he is left all alone. The God tells Elijah to go out and stand on the edge of the mountain. As the Lord passed by, a great and strong wind came loosening rocks that came tumbling down. There was a mighty earthquake that shook the foundation on which the Man of God stood. Then there was a raging fire in his midst. After such a mighty display of God’s Power, there was a still small voice that would ask the same question again, “What are you doing here?” I have had this experience just this week. No, I am not a prophet or preacher just a person who God loves enough to reach out to. In the beginning of my journey with our son who is battling cancer, the Lord asked me, “Do you trust me?” I think that this is reminiscent of what God is implying to Elijah. You have seen my power and victory so why are you here? Where is your faith? Do you trust me? I thought after more than two years of this journey that the Lord would have delivered us by now. That at some point along the way, I would have reached the prize of the upward calling of Jesus Christ and our son would be healed already. So when one more perplexing problem arose and the door to his treatment slammed soundly in my face, it hit me. Suddenly, I was back on the mountain of fear hiding in the darkness. The lie of the enemy attached my confidence in the Lord. Suddenly, I was the runner on my hands and knees praying and pleading with God to send me the Light. How did we get here? Where are we going? Did we miss a turn along the way? Why the wilderness? The Lord is inviting me to life on the edge. Will I go?
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
What is keeping you from being full of faith and confident hope today? What will it take to make you fully trust the Lord without holding on to the things of this life any longer? This is the purpose of the edge. It is a place that we must lay aside every weight and sin that traps us and keeps us from running the race set before us to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. Peter wanted to be with Jesus. He was passionate in his love for the Messiah. He believed in Him to a point. What is that point? The edge – it represents when our faith and hope in the Lord stops. How far we go determines success or failure in attaining the perfect promises that are waiting for those who endure. Peter jumped over the edge of the boat to walk with Jesus on the water. What a noble effort? But when the waves kicked up the wind swirled around him, fear overtook him drowning his faith and Peter began to go under. We do the same thing boldly professing that we trust the Lord trying to work some magic behind the scenes to help God out. We do all the right things hoping that the Lord is watching and will reward our good behavior. In our moment of desperation, we expect Jesus to come to our beck and call doing what we want when we want Him to because we have “graciously” surrendered our life at least for the time being to Him. The edge is where we let go of everything else except faith holding on for our very life. Grace catches us when we choose to cling to something else other than the Lord. In Peter’s case that day it was fear. However, Peter would once again jump over the side of a boat to get to Jesus. (John 21:3-10)This time it doesn’t talk about sinking but rather swimming all the way to the shore just to be where His Savior and Lord was walking. His faith had now turned to confident hope that allowed this man to make it to the One who was calling His Name. It was upon his arrival that the Lord would reveal His Plan for this man’s life. Are you ready to go to the edge? “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:11-13)
Philippians 2:5-10 (NKJV)
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I am to have the same mind (attitude) as Jesus Christ who decided to set aside His Life as God being equal to God to come as a man and endure the suffering of the Cross. He humbled Himself to the point of death yet we complain if simply inconvenienced a little along the way. The Word of God warns us that if we cling to our life we will lose it. (Matthew 16:25) Our life is to be lived to the Glory of God just like Jesus Christ. We do not have to be crucified again. We must crucify our flesh that is determined to have a better life now and forsake forever. Faith unites us with God’s Kingdom so that we can one day achieve the Eternity that his hidden in our heart. Confident hope allows us to hold fast to our faith in the midst of such violence as storms, earthquakes and more. We experience the trail, testing and hardships of life in order to evaluate our faith and if it is worthy of holding on to. We must cling to our faith in Jesus Christ to endure such circumstances and achieve victory as promised. (I Timothy 1:18-19) God will bless and prosper you in these times of trial but only if the substance of your faith is secure. It is the moment we decide that Jesus is all that we need. (Matthew 9:19-22) If I can just get close enough to touch the hem of His Garment (into His Presence), I will be healed and made whole perfected in Him. We will position ourselves for an encounter with the Lord by faith that pushes us closer to the edge. (Mark 6:56) The Lord is waiting to satisfy our very soul in this place. Life on the edge is the moment of revelation. It is the moment when we change our mind from thinking that we can do something for the Lord to the fact that He is all that we need. (John 4:6-14) Such an encounter with Jesus will change your life from random righteousness to uncompromising obedience that will open the windows of heaven over our life as we stopped searching for lesser things and cling to confident hope of what God is making happen our life cherishing it and clinging to it as a valuable and precious prize.
Psalm 63:1-8 (NLT)
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.
Life on the edge is not a consequence it is a calling. The details of our life that lead us to this moment when our faith is testing and confidence challenged is not for our downfall but rather our ascent. Such faith moves us deeper into the Presence of God to a place where He is all that we want and long for based on the sound knowledge that He is all that we need. You will not find such revelation in our comfort zone padded by complacency and counterfeit things. Our life must be turned upside down so that we are removed from such a rut and given the opportunity to experience the reality of faith and hope in a Living God who as a perfect plan for us. When all we can hold on to is our faith will it be enough? When nothing seems to be going according to our plan, can we hold fast to the Word of God for our life until it matures (prospers) producing a huge harvest? (Luke 8:11-15) God is calling you and me to live life on the edge…I for one am going to do it! So I am going to stand up straight again, wipe off my hands, dust off my knees and begin running all over again until I find Jesus reaching forward to the things ahead claiming the Prize that He has promised me when I put faith and confident hope in Jesus alone. He is the One that I am holding on to! His Love keeps me from me from falling!
Psalm 119:30-32 (NLT)
I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations. I cling to your laws. LORD, don’t let me be put to shame! I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.