Wisdom

Description

Guardrails are healthy boundaries established by heavenly wisdom. In this message we learn how wisdom helps us to stay out of the ditch.

Alright everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. I am so glad that you are here with us and we want to welcome all of our campuses. Whether you’re in Denton, Flower Mound, Louisville, The Venue, wherever you are, let’s celebrate together. We are so glad that you are here, wherever you are in the world. Welcome to Valley Creek Church, and I am really glad that you are here with us today, and I’m excited because we’re kicking off a new series called, ‘Guardrails.’ And for the next couple of weeks we’re going to talk about keeping your life out of the ditch. Now, when you hear that tagline, it maybe a little bit shocking or kind of just doesn’t like its maybe part of our culture as much. Like that’s just kind of not how we talk around here and so, when I first presented this to our communications team and say, “Hey, here’s the next series that I think God is leading us into,” there was so much pushback on this tagline. What normally happens is I kind of hear from God and this is the direction we’re going to go and I present it to our team and they come up with the look and the feel and the tone and all that kind of stuff. And when I said, keeping your life out of this, they’re like, “Uhm no. No, we can’t do this.” They’re sort of giving me ideas like how about walking on the road with Jesus.

Or you know staying in the center, or things like that. And I was like, “What is the pushback to keeping your life out of the ditch” and they kind of himmed and huhed and they looked at me and they said, “But we don’t feel like it’s very life giving.” And so, I said, “Okay, why don’t we think about it.” So, I thought about it and prayed about it for about a week and I came back and I said, “Nope. It absolutely has to be.” Keeping your life out of the ditch, because here’s the deal, sometimes the most life-giving thing you can is call something what it is. Because, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of watching people end up in the ditch. And I bet you are too. Marriages destroyed. Families imploding. Finances wrecked. Kids getting swept away by the vortex of technologies. Opportunities missed. Listen to me. We do not belong in the ditch. We belong on the road.

And I don’t want to see any of us end up in the ditch and so we need to put some guardrails in our lives. I mean, if you just think about guardrails for a second with me, like, you’ll see them on every major highway, on every major road, there are these protective barriers, they keep you out of the ditch, and keep you going on the road. Sometimes they’re made of metal, sometimes they’re made of concrete, but any way you look at it, they are these proactive, intentional and expensive boundaries that take a whole lot of time and effort to create. And basically, what they do is they’re designed to help you get from where you are to where you’re going in a safe way and every day they save countless peoples’ lives. They’re guardrails. And the faster the road is, the more you need guardrails. You usually see them on windy and dangerous roads, with curves and twists and turns, and if you’ve ever really looked at guardrails, you’ll notice that they are always all scratched up. Have you ever noticed that? Every time we see them, there’s like a big paint scratch on them, or they’re bent, or they’re a little bit broke from being banged into and say, “Why?”

Because guardrails were meant to be hit. They’re good things that were created for us to bounce into and push us back on the road, so we keep going in the direction we were supposed to go. And I think we can all agree, that it’s better to bump into a guardrail than it is to end up in the ditch. I’d say it to you like this, “A scratch is better than a wreck.” Okay. Well, just like we need guardrails on the road, we guardrails in our lives. Protective barriers that were designed to keep us out of the ditch and keep us going on the road. And the question is not “If you need guardrails”, it’s “when you need guardrails.” Because, I don’t care who you are, even the best of us are going to drift. And here’s what I’d propose to you, I’d encourage you to write this down right out of the gate for this series, here’s how we define a guardrail. A guardrail is a healthy boundary established by Heavenly wisdom. It’s a healthy boundary, established by Heavenly wisdom. And just like road guardrails, guardrails in our lives, they’re proactive, they’re intentional and they’re expensive.

They take time and effort to create, but I think we can all agree, it’s better to bounce into a guardrail than it is to end up in the ditch. Guardrails are designed to help us get from where we are to where we’re going in a safe way, and in life it’s true too. A scratch is better than a wreck. And so, we need guardrails. We need guardrails in our marriages, in our families with our kids, in our finances, in our thought lives, in our social media, in our sexuality, in our work, in our Church. We need guardrails. And so the question I would ask you is this is, Do you have guardrails in your life? And if you don’t know then the answer is no. Because guardrails are clear, they’re defined and they’re intentional. And so, for the next few weeks, all I want to do is talk about putting guardrails in our lives and we’re going to take a look through the Book of Proverbs. Really Proverbs was written by King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live. And the whole Book of Proverbs is just these bunch of guardrails, if you will, that he lays out there for us.

In fact, you could call Proverbs the book of guardrails. It’s really how it could be retitled. I mean listen, this is the very beginning of the book, this is what it says about Proverbs. It says, “These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, King of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline. To help them understand the insides of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right and just and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple knowledge and discernment to the young, let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser, let those with understanding receive guidance.” He says hey these are guardrails that will keep you out of the ditch. And if you read through the book of Solomon, it’s almost like he’s preaching to himself, he’s reminding himself of his own guardrails, because even Solomon, the wisest man to ever live in the end of his life ended up in the ditch. And this is going to be a super practical series, and I know we all get excited when we say it’s going to be practical, it’s like, “Okay, great. Give me three guardrails for my marriage, and three guardrails for my kids on the iPad, how much time they should do, what games they can play, and three guardrails for my finances.”

Okay, we’ll get to the specifics. But we have to first learn how we build guardrails. Because, you don’t want to build the wrong guardrails in the wrong time, in the wrong place. So, you got to learn to become a guardrail builder before you can put them up, and once you learn how to build guardrails, with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, you can establish Godly guardrails at any time any place. You hear me on that? So, if you’ve got a Bible, turn with me to Proverbs Chapter 2. Proverbs Chapter 2, right in the beginning is kind of in the middle of your Bible, right after the Book of Psalms. And this is Solomon writing, and he’s really telling us, how we established guardrails in our lives. Verse 1, he says, “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as silver and search for it as hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, and end up in the.”

“Ditch.” Solomon says, “Hey.” He says you need some guardrails. You need some healthy boundaries, established by Heavenly wisdom in your life. But you’ve got to catch the order. It is impossible to have healthy boundaries without Heavenly wisdom. You’ve got to get wisdom first before you even know how to know a boundary. A wise heart establishes strong guardrails, and strong guardrails are established by a wise heart. In other words, what’s Solomon’s telling us is it takes wisdom to stay out of the ditch. And so, if we want to be the guardrail builders in any area of our lives, first thing we have to do is get wisdom. So, three thoughts I want to give you, about getting wisdom to build guardrails. You with me on that so far? Okay, first thing is, you’ve got to admit that you need God’s wisdom. You’ve got to start there. I mean, let me just say it to you like it is, you’ve got to just admit that you need guardrails in your life. I mean look at what he says in verses 1 to 3. He says, “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, then you’ll have victory, He’ll be a shield, He will guard you and protect you. In other words, what Solomon says is, he says, hey until you actually admit that you need guardrails in your life, you’re never going to turn for it, you’re never going to look for it, you’re never going to ask for it. Because, at the end of the day, you won’t ask for something you don’t think you need. You won’t build something you don’t think is necessary in your own life, and if we’re just flat out honest with each other, that’s what most of us are. Like I’m good bro, I’m a good driver.

I know how to stay on the road. I don’t need any guardrails. My life’s too busy infect to spend time building guardrails. I know how to keep it out of the ditch. My marriage is good. My kids are good. I know how to do finances. I’m not tempted by that thing. I’ll never get there. That is the most dangerous place you can be. Proverbs says this, “First pride, then the crash. The bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” The moment you say you don’t need guardrails, is the moment you’re already beginning to drift. Like catch it. King David? He didn’t think he needed guardrails around his marriage, until Sheba walked into his life. And then all of a sudden, he took another man’s wife, got her pregnant, and had him killed, and his whole life ended up in the ditch. Noah? Noah didn’t think he needed guardrails around alcohol. Are you kidding me?
I’m saving the world. I don’t need to be worried about guardrails around alcohol. Until he drank so much, passes out naked in his tent and curses his son. And his son’s entire lineage. Or how about Adam and Eve, they didn’t think they needed guardrails around one tree and the guard, I mean it’s just one tree. We’ve got the rest of this and we’re good. And then what happens? They didn’t think they needed it and so that’s what happened. How about you? I mean listen to this, 1 Corinthians 10 says, these are all warning markers. Danger! In our history books written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes, talking about people in the Bible. He says, our positions are in the story are parallel. They are at the beginning, we are at the end, and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were, ending up in the ditch. So, don’t be so naive and self-confident, you’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your faces easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence, it’s useless, Cultivate God confidence, in other words you need Godly guardrails.

Or let me read it to you, out of another translation, same verses he says, so you think you are standing firm, be careful you don’t fall. I’m good, is the beginning of the drift. No temptation has seized you, except what is common to men. Going into the ditch has happened from the beginning of time till today. We’re all capable of it. And God is faithful, He’ll not let you be tempted what you can bear, but when you are tempted, He’ll provide you a way out, so you can stand up, under it. In other words, God wants to give you wisdom to build guardrails, so you don’t end up in the ditch. What is an area in your life right now where you struggle? That’s the place you need guardrails. What’s an area in your life right now where you think you are good? That’s an area where you need guardrails. You need guardrails. It doesn’t really matter who you are. It doesn’t really matter what’s going on in your life. It doesn’t matter all of it. You need guardrails. And the truth is, is you can’t wait until you need them to actually start building them. You have to understand, that guardrails are not a sign of weakness, they’re a sign of wisdom.

And, they are no reactive. They are proactive. And if you wait until your life is going out of control, it’s too late to build them. Like listen, I grew up on this little island called Grand Island. It was on the Niagara River above Niagara Falls. It’s one of the largest, actually the largest fresh water island in the world but it’s not very big. And we grew up literally right on the river, and about a half a mile down, from my parents’ house, there was Dead Man’s Curve. This hairpin turns. Now, I don’t know if it was called Dead Man’s Curve for real or we just as kids called it. But it was called Dead Man’s Curve to little kids. And it was this turn, that was real sharp and it was this big cliff down into the Niagara River, where the current is rushing towards the Falls, and there’s these guardrails to keep people from flying off the curve, and I remember one night, we were playing outside and a couple of miles the other way was a bar, that was on the river. And it was late at night, it was dark outside and all of a sudden, we heard this motorcycle come ripping by. [Motorcycle noise]

And it’s literally like you just started the count. 1. 2. 3. 4. Boom! And you just heard him the guardrails. Skids, crash, motorcycle crunching plastic, I mean you could hear it all. And if you were to ask that guy about 5 minutes before that if needed guardrails in his life, he would’ve told you, no way bro, I know how to rip around on my motorcycle. But, I bet you in that moment he was incredibly grateful that someone before him had put guardrails in place. Because if those guardrails wouldn’t have been there, he would’ve gone off the edge and he would’ve been off Dead Man’s Curve, into the river. Game over. Can I tell you, life is full of Dead Man’s Curves. Curves that show up and catch you by surprise, when you are least expecting it. And just like you build a storm shelter before the storm comes, you have to build guardrails before you need them. You build guardrails in your marriage when your marriage is strong. You build guardrails in your finances when your finances are good. You build guardrails around that thing that is not a temptation today but it might be in the future.

If you wait until you need them, it’s too late to start building them. You need God to give you wisdom on when to build them, where to build them, how to build them and what it’s supposed to look like in the days to come. Are you with me on that? You see, here’s what I want to tell you. The faster your life is, the tighter your guardrails need to be. Like you think of someone’s going 5 miles an hour down the road, they don’t really need guardrails, cause you kind of just drift into the ditch and come back out. You’re going 100 miles an hour? You need guardrails. If you’re here and you say your life is going 100 miles an hour, you need tighter guardrails. And let’s be honest, 95% of people sitting in this room, we all, all we ever do is tell each other, I’m so busy man, I’m so busy, my life is crazy. If you travel all the time, your inactivities, your kids have commitments, you’ve got to be here, there, everywhere the faster your life is, the tighter your guardrails need to be. Because, you’re either going to bump into your guardrails or you’re going to end up in the ditch, there is no in between. And I’m convinced the reason we don’t build guardrails is because we don’t really know where we’re going. Proverbs 29:18, what Solomon says is, he says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Another translation says, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.” So what Solomon is telling us is a vision, a vision is a revelation from God that constrains you. A vision is a revelation from God, it’s wisdom on the direction you should go, and it constrains you. It helps you build guardrails in your life, because you know where you are and you know where you’re going. A vision tells you what you’re going to say yes to, it also tells you what you say no to. A vision tells you where you’re going, it also tells you where you’re not going. And if a vision is a revelation from God, then a vision from God defines what the ditch is and what the end game looks like. You see how much you, think about it like this, like Highway 35 has a vision.

It has a vision, right? It’s going North and South. It knows where it starts. It knows where it ends. It knows what it’s doing, that’s why it has guardrails so you can’t go East and West. Don’t let a road have more vision in its like than you have in yours. Come on. You have a vision for your family. Your finances. Your kids. Your life. Your health. Your spirituality. I mean you have a vision for those things, because if not how are you ever going to build guardrails? Because you can’t define what the ditch is and where it is that you’re actually headed. But the more passionate you become about your vision the more passionate you become about your guardrails. I’m very passionate about my own personal guardrails, because I’m very passionate about the vision that God has given me for my life. We as a Church are very passionate about out guardrails. Some of you don’t like them all the time, but we are very passionate about the vision God has given us. That’s why our guardrails are tight, they’re non-negotiable. How about you? It’s really hard to build guardrails if you’re not sure where you’re going. Are you with me on that? Okay, so you’ve got to admit that you actually need them. Second thing is this, you’ve got to pursue God’s wisdom. If you admit that you need God’s wisdom, then you pursue it. Verse 4, “And if you look for it as silver and search for it as hidden treasure.” He’s talking about wisdom. He says, you need to admit that you need wisdom and then you’ve got to go seek it. And if you’ll do that, you’ll know how to build guardrails. And what I love what Solomon tells us is he says, hey just so you know wisdom is available, but it isn’t cheap. It’s free, but it’s costly. You have to search for it. You have to extract it. You have to go pursue it, that’s why there’s not a lot of wise people in life. I really want you to think about this for a second, you know a lot of smart people, you know a lot of intelligent people, and you know a lot of knowledgeable people. I bet you don’t know a lot of wise people. There’s a dramatic difference between wisdom and smarts, intelligence and knowledge. I would define wisdom to you as this, wisdom is Heavenly perspectives in Earthly situations.

Wisdom is when you take God’s perspective and insight on any given situation around you, and what I love is that anyone can become wise. We get so down on ourselves and we say, oh I’m not that smart. I don’t have that kind of intelligence. I don’t know all those things. Who really cares? My question for you is, are you wise? Do you have God’s perspective and insight on the situations that are happening in your world? And the truth is, if I asked you like, who do you go to for wisdom, the answers are going to be small. Because, people aren’t willing to pay the cost that it requires to become wise. Wisdom is costly, it’s inconvenient and here me it counter cultural in every single way. But, it is worth pursuing at all costs. I mean listen to what he says in Proverbs 8, he says: “Choose my instruction rather than silver and knowledge rather than pure gold, for wisdom is far more valuable than rubies, nothing you desire can compare with you. Some of you are like, I’ll take the rubies. Here’s what I want you to think for a second. The reason gold is valuable, is not because it’s rare. That’s what we say. There is gold all over this world. It’s just hard to find and it takes a lot of effort to get. That’s what makes wisdom so valuable. It’s hard to find, and it takes a lot of effort to get, but it’s free if you go pursue it.

I mean listen to this, I love this, King Solomon, when he was a young man, he’d just become kind, David had died and passed on the kingdom to Solomon, so he’s this young man and in Verse 4 here’s what it says, in first Kings chapter 3. It says, “The King went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on the altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Pause. Can you imagine that? Hey, it’s God. What you want? Like I asked my son the other day, I said, “Hey Trey if God asked you, you could have anything that you want, what would you ask for.” And he said, “Oh that’s easy Daddy.” I said, “It is? What would you ask for?” He goes, “I’d ask for an unlimited amount of wishes.” I said, “I think like a lad and that’s the one thing you can’t ask for.” So, here’s my question for you: What are you looking for right now? Like, what are you searching for, like if God asked you that question right now, “What is it that you want me to do for you?” Do you even have an answer in your heart? Solomon’s response to Lord in Verse 7, he says, “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I’m only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So, give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

He says God give me wisdom. “The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for his. So God said to him, ‘Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have you asked for the death of your enemies but for discerning in administering justice, wisdom, I will give you what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there never have been nor will be anyone like you before. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for – both riches and honor – so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among the kings'” Oh my Goodness. God says, “Solomon what do you want?” He says, “God, I want wisdom.” He asked for wisdom and got so pleased that that’s what he asked for, because it’s the most valuable thing. He says, “Solomon, then I’m going to give everything else too.” Riches and honor and glory and authority and power. You see what I want you to get is when you get wisdom, you become qualified to steward everything else in this world.

If you will get wisdom, you instantly position yourself and qualify yourself, for finances, influence, authority, people, all the things we’ve spent our lives chasing, the moment you get wisdom, you are now positioned and prepared to receive those things from God and steward them well. God says, “Solomon you can have all that, because I know you’re not going to use it for yourself, you’re going to use it for my kingdom’s purposes, because you’ll have guardrails in your life. So here you go.” I mean listen, I see this with our young people all the time, and it drives me nuts. Everyone tells, these 18 to 29-year olds is like, you’ve got to go to college, you’ve got to get a degree, you’ve got to get a job, you’ve got to get a promotion, you’ve got to make some money, you’ve got to get married, and what I’m waiting for is someone to look at them and say, “Hey you’ve got to get some wisdom.” Because, who really cares if they a degree, make a bunch of money, get married, if they don’t have wisdom, they don’t know what to do with their degree, how to work and how to have a marriage. But for some reason, we think that’s the thing.

It’s not. Listen this is a principle. Get wisdom, and God will give you everything else. That’s why I’m thrilled that our Church is starting Valley Creek Leadership Academy this fall. A yearlong opportunity for 18 to 29-year-old to devote a year of their life to getting kingdom wisdom. So, they now can know how to steward everything else. You see, what’s so cool about this is passage, this is an Old Testament picture of a New Testament truth. Like, I don’t know if you know this or not, but God is still asking you the same question: What do you want me to do for you? That’s why you have free will. You can make a decision to pursue anything you want. And listen to this, 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us the wisdom of God.” He says, Jesus is the wisdom of God. So, if you will choose Jesus, you will get everything else.

If Jesus is the wisdom of God, and this is an Old Testament principle for a New Testament truth for us, “If you will choose Jesus, He will give you everything else.” In other words, Jesus is your boundary lines, Jesus is your guardrails. He is the narrow gate that leads to a wide life. In 1 Kings 3, what Solomon is choosing, is he’s asking for Jesus. Wisdom is not an idea or concept, it’s a person, and his name is Jesus. He’s saying, “Give me Jesus,” and he got Jesus, and now God says, “Oh, now that you got Jesus, you got everything else.” Because you now know what to do with it. That’s what Matthew 6:33, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and,” what? “Everything else, will be added on to you.” Because, if you get wisdom, you have the rest of it. If you choose Jesus, not only do you not end up in the ditch, you end up in green pastures. And so, you say, “Well how do I actually pursue wisdom?” Well, just quickly and randomly like these, well not randomly, these were thought through well. All week. Here’s what you need. Just ask God. James 1, I think we got these as points for you.

Ask God for wisdom. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, you should ask God, He generously gives to those who ask Him.” God loves to give you wisdom, if you’ll just ask Him. When was the last time, you said, “God will you make me wise?” Second thing I would say to you is, you’ve got to consume God’s words. It’s how you extract wisdom. Psalm 119:11 says, “I’ve hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” The word ‘sin’ in the Bible, it means to miss the way. We always think about is doing these bad, evil horrible things. No, sin literally means to end up in the ditch, and miss the destiny that God has in store for you. And so, he says, “If you’ll hide my word in your heart, you will never end up in the ditch, because you’ll have the wisdom to establish guardrails in your life.” And the third way you pursue wisdom, is you invite wise people into your life. You’ll never become wise, if you don’t hang around wise people. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with the wise, becomes wise, for a companion of fool suffers harm.” You hang out with wise people, you’ll learn to build guardrails, because you watch them build guardrails. You hang out with fools, you’ll end up in the ditch, because that’s where fools are going. You with me on that?

So, you’ve got to pursue it okay? And his name is Jesus. And then, the last thing is this, you’ve actually got to apply God’s wisdom to your life. Like you’ve actually got to do something with it. Like in verse 12 and 13, “Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways.” He says, “Hey, you’re not meant to end up where they are in the ditch, but you actually now got to take what you’ve admitted you need, what you’ve pursued and gotten, and now you’ve got to build some guardrails. This is where Solomon went wrong. He had all the wisdom in the world, but at some point, in time he stopped building and maintaining his guardrails, so even he ended up in the ditch. Listen to me. Good intentions without faithful action is pointless.

I don’t care how good your intentions are. To have a healthy marriage and healthy kids, and finances. What matters is, are you putting action to it. Are you building clear, defined and intentional guardrails in your life? And some of you’ve been sitting here and saying like, “Okay give me an example.” Okay, here’s what I mean. If you’re here and you struggle in any way, with any kind of substance or alcohol, you maybe need to build a guardrail in your life, that says, “I will never go to an environment where people are drinking.” You’ll say, “Well that’s so extreme. That knocks out like, all my friends.” Yeah. Do you want to follow the rest of the fools into the ditch? Or do you have a vision for your life? Maybe you need to say here and you say, “Hey, my marriage, okay, what do we need in guardrails.” The only thing you need in guardrails in your marriage is: No secrets. Period. No matter what the cost. No secrets. It’s a guardrail. We’re building. And we’re going to maintain it. Maybe finances, a guardrail you build in no debt. Period. Doesn’t matter how bad we want that thing, how much we want that thing, how cool that thing is, how much money we make or don’t make.

We’re just going to make a decision. We’re not going to go into debt. Make that decision, before that thing shows up in your life that you want to buy. Maybe you need to put some guardrails in place to say, “I’m just not going to go into any social media pages that make me feel insecure, make me compete or compare, or make me get all emotionally wound up because I didn’t get invited to that thing, but they did or they look so amazing with their filters and I look so bad without my filters. Okay. But you chuckle because you know your heart goes like, off the little edge, like, [noises] you know, like okay, let’s just put it there before, before we need it. How about sexuality? Build some guardrails in place before that moment comes. Thought life, build some guardrails. Church, how about Church. If Church people would build guardrails in the Church, we could really change the world. The problem is, we don’t build guardrails for our own Church life, so we get offended or we have a preference or we just decide, we don’t want to wake up to go to Church today. And so, the next thing you know, you’re in the ditch. Build a guardrail when it’s awesome and great, and you’re loving it and say, “I’m not going to get offended, I’m not going to have a preference and I’m going to come,” because this is the epicenter of wisdom in the world. And I want to be a part of that. Okay?

So, you’ve got to think about that, because listen, if you don’t want to establish them, no one else will for you. That’s why in John 16, Jesus says, “When he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you in the all truth.” He’ll show you. Just ask him. And what I need you to understand, is that little compromises have big consequences. Listen to this, James 1 says, “But when each one is tempted, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives full birth to death.” In other words, little compromises lead to big consequences. Because, no one starts the day and says, “Today’s the day I’m going to end up the ditch.” No one. He says it. He says you just start driving and you start drifting. Little bit. Now you’re out of your lane. Now the rumble strip. Now you’re out of the rumble strip, so you don’t have to hear them anymore, oh this is better. And then the next thing you know, you’re gone. Sometimes, there’s something in the ditch and it’s calling your name. It’s got your attention. Sometimes there’s someone on the road, that’s trying to push you into the ditch, some of you know what that’s mean. It’s bad.

And sometimes, you’re just drifting. But here’s the beauty, it is almost impossible to end up in the ditch, if you’ve built, really strong guardrails. Think about it. I’m not talking about like a piece of caution tape, that waves in the wind. I’m talking about those concrete barriers. Just think of those concrete barriers on Highway 35, the frustration of construction. It is impossible, to get over that concrete barrier, is it not? You can hit it as hard as you want, it’ll blow out your tire, I’ll take out your engine, you may not be able to drive anymore. But you will not end up in the ditch. Don’t you want that in your own life? Because here’s the deal. At the end of the day, your guardrails, they’re going to be different from everyone else’s around you. Guardrails are not ‘one size fits all.’ Because we all have different struggles, we have different propensities, and on a positive, we have different God given visions. So, one size does not fit all. My guardrails, my family’s guardrails are very different than the people around us. And sometimes, if I’m honest with you, it’s awkward. Because it puts tension and pressure, even on some of our friendships. Our guardrails are different in our family, in our home, with our finances, with our life, but here’s what I want to say to you. If you, if you make me change my guardrails to be your friend, I don’t want to be your friend.

Because friends don’t mess with friends’ guardrails. They reinforce them. I want people to reinforce it and say, “Yeah, okay, it is different, but I want you to be you. I want to be me. And you build the guardrails of wisdom that God’s given you. I want to build these ones. And let’s go forward together.” That’s the kind of person I want to be friends with. And here’s the deal. There’s going to be times in your life, if you’ve built guardrails, that you’re just flat out going to feel weird. We’ve already said, wisdom is costly, it’s inconvenient and its counter cultural. But you will get where God has created you to go, while they all end up in the ditch. It’s your choice. And when you build guardrails, you don’t have to be embarrassed of them. They’re the ultimate excuse. If you’re a travelling business person, and everyone’s like, “Hey we’re going to the bar,” you know how easy it is to say, “Hey you know what, me and my wife or my husband, we’ve already made an agreement that we just don’t go to the bar without each other. It’s a guardrail we’ve built together.” And look at you and be like, “Come on bro. You’ve got to come with us.” “It’s a guardrail we built together, and I can’t go over it.” You will be fascinated at how much they will respect you and come back to you on the next trip and say, “My marriage is blowing up, can you help me?”
You know. If you’re a student, and you say, “Hey, we’ve got a guardrail in our home, I can’t go to your house until my parents have met your parents.” It’s just a guardrail. And you know, that’s like the ultimate excuse, it makes you not the bad guy or the weird one or someone’s pressuring you to buy something, “Hey in our family we’ve got a guardrail that just says, we won’t buy anything if it puts us in debt and we can’t afford that, so I can’t buy.” It is so easy to do it that way, because here’s what I want you to catch. Guardrails lead you to a life of freedom. You already know the answer before the question is asked. Before the temptation, before the opportunity, before the situation even presents itself, you already know what the answer is, so you can just fly 100 miles an hour and go for it with everything you’ve got for the vision God has given your life, and you don’t have to sit there and do, “I don’t know maybe, should I today, do I feel strong, yeah can I handle this, I don’t know, can-” Those are the wrong questions to ask. They have to be resolved before the situation comes. Joe made guardrails. He made a guardrail to say, “I will not look lustfully upon a woman.” He made that decision before a beautiful woman walked across his path. Joseph made guardrails in his heart to say, “I’m not going to live with bitterness or unforgiveness.”

He made that decision long before his brothers sold him as a slave. Paul made a decision about his own heart and his own sexuality, before any temptation came across his path. Abraham made guardrails to say, “I will always give my tide back to God no matter how little or how much I have, and before that windfall that showed up in his life, Abraham already had guardrails, so it didn’t even feel like he was giving something away, he already knew what he was going to do with it. David, made guardrails to say, “Any big decision, I will inquire of the Lord.” Does that make sense to you? Like build guardrails with faith. You say, “I don’t have financial issues right now, I don’t have a lot of money.” Then build some guardrails, like God’s going to bless you because you’re going to get wisdom, now you can steward it and you’ve already decided and what is His belongs to Him. I mean that’s the way to do it. And then you can just go for it. Like listen to this, you can tell I’m excited. Mathew 7. Because I’m tired of seeing people in the ditch. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

True freedom is found on the narrow road. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have narrow guardrails in an abundant life, than wide guardrails in a defeated life. At the end of the day, guardrails are about stewardship. There are about stewarding the life, the people, the things, the resources, the time and the time God has given you. Don’t think about guardrails in terms of sin and negative, think of guardrails in terms of getting where God has created you to go. That’s what I want. And if I’m honest with you, when I started building guardrails in my life, as I would hit them. I would feel so guilty. I would feel so bad about drifting out of the center and banging into the guardrail. Till one day, I woke up and realized, I don’t have to feel bad about hitting the guardrail, that’s why it’s here. I am grateful that I just hit that guardrail.

Because, it just opened my eyes. It got me back on Jesus, it reminded me of my vision, and it lets me keep going down the road I’m made to go down. So, it creates gratitude instead of self-condemnation. Listen to me. The guardrail will jar you. The ditch will kill you. The choice is yours. A scratch is better than a wreck. But you can’t get a scratch until you decide to get some wisdom and build some guardrails in the areas of your life. And so, for the next few weeks, here’s what I want to invite you to do with me. You got this reading plan when you came in. I want to invite you to read one chapter of Proverbs every day, for the next 31 days, 31 chapters of proverbs and let’s just ask God to give us some Heavenly wisdom, so we can build some healthy guardrails. There is gold in here, you just have to extract it. And my encouragement to you, if you don’t have a Bible, you don’t normally read your Bible, that’s cool man. Listen to me, don’t read it out of King James please. Okay? Because you’ll read like one day and be like, “I don’t even know what he’s saying.” So, here’s what I want to encourage you to say.

Read it out like the NIV, the New Living Translation or the message. You said, “I don’t even have a Bible, I don’t even know what that means.” Go online, go type in like ‘biblegateway.com’ and you can just click on any of those things and just read a chapter a day. And watch, as wisdom comes into your soul, and guardrails start to get created in your life. Because you don’t belong in the ditch. Great vision in store for you. So, close your eyes with me and let me just ask you, “What do you think. What do you think God wants to say to you today?” My hope is that, maybe, even together today, we, we hit a guardrail that we didn’t even know existed, to make us start thinking about guardrails. Maybe we just bumped into something that we weren’t planning on bumping into today, but all of a sudden, there’s this lightbulb that’s kicking on to say, “Yeah, maybe, maybe I need a guardrail in my marriage. Or with my time. A guardrail with me heart or my sexuality or my finances. Maybe I need some wisdom from Heaven on what that even means and what the even looks like. A good news is we serve, the author of wisdom, who will give generously to those of us who’ll just ask. And if you feel like your life is already in the ditch, I’m here to tell you that Jesus is the ultimate rescuer. He can bring you out of the most dark, the most deep, the most dirty, the most broken, the most knotted up ditch there is in the world.

And fully restore you, and put you back on the road, with a Heavenly vision. And if that’s you, you reach out and you take hold of his hand, and you start walking a new path, with us over these next few weeks, and watch where we’ll go with you. So, Holy Spirit, I invite you this this week to come into our hearts and then into our lives. Give us some Heavenly wisdom, so we can build some healthy guardrails, so we can get where you want us to go. We love you Jesus. In your name, we pray. Amen.

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