Guard Rails Direct and Protect

Guard Rails  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:28
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We are starting a series titled Guard Rails. We all know what Guardrails are… we have them on many of our roads and all of our bridges. How many of you would drive across the Huey P Long Bridge if it didn’t have any guard rails?
The official definition if a guard rail is…

Guardrails: System designed to keel vehicles from straying into dangerous or off limit areas.

The most common areas you see these guardrails are bridges, Medians, and curves or soft shoulders. .
Bridges - to keep us from going off the edge into ...
Medians - to protect us from oncoming traffic. I hate going on Causeway over the hump that crosses Airline because there is no guardrail… only a curb.
Curves - to keep us from running off the road or into soft ground...

Guardrails do two things:

1. Direct
They direct us to stay in our lanes…
2. Protect
They protect us from something worse than the guardrail
Something else about guardrails that’s important for the next few weeks we discuss them is this…
Guardrails are not put in the danger zone.
Guardrails are in the safe area so that they can keep us out of the danger area. They are close, but not in the danger zone. If the guardrails were not there, we could actually drive closer to the side of the bridge, but we won’t because there is nothing to protect us. Even though guardrails take up space, no one argues about them being there… right in the safe zone.
Another thing guardrails are designed to do is minimize the damage. The damage done when you hit a guardrail is much less than if there was no guardrail.
So why are we talking about guardrails?

The highway isn’t the only place we need guardrails.

Most of us in this room would probably agree that some of our greatest regrets in life might have been avoided if there had been a guardrail in place… moral guardrails… career job rails… relational guardrails … financial guardrails…
So the reason we want to look at guardrails is because future regrets can be avoided if we have guard rails in place - now.
The problem is that the culture we live in doesn’t want you to put any guardrails in place.
Culture doesn’t want guardrails in your life.
Culture really doesn’t want any kind of rules or firm guardrails at all.
Culture is ok with painted lines.
Painted lines or suggestions or warnings, but not something that is concrete and absolute. We live in a culture that has grey lines.
Drink Responsibly
What does that mean? If you drink responsibly or at all, you will eventually be somewhat buzzed, and when you do, you can’t be responsible. Maybe it’s a guideline, but it’s not a guardrail.
Or this one…
Wait until you are ready for sex.
When are you ready? That might be good advice for girls… ask a teenage boy when he is ready and he will tell you he was born ready.
Listen to your heart.
Worst advice ever… your heart will lie to you… everytime.
The problem is that no one wants to be told no. Culture makes fun of you when you have guardrails and tries to shame you into giving them up, but will shame you when you run off the road morally, financially, or in marriage…
Billy Graham Rule - Married men don’t ride or meet with women alone.
This is a guardrail many ministries and people have established.
This became known as the Mike Pence rule when it was discovered he applied the same rule to his life. When the media found out about this, they shamed him… made fun of him… The truth is that many married men and women have applied this rule for years.
But the same people that are making fun of VP Pence would have a field day if he had a moral failure with another woman. They would say that any man who cheats on his wife is no good…
Harvard Bus Revue - Men should not refuse to be alone with women, but offered this painted line solution.
“So what’s an evolved male leader to do? In the simplest terms, become what we call a thoughtful cave man. Healthy mature, self aware men understand and accept their distinctly make neural architecture.”
What does that even mean?
After slamming and shaming those who use the Billy Graham rule, the Harvard Review got the thought that there must have been something happening to make people come up with that rule. They acknowledged that when men and women work late… travel together… eat together that things happen.
At the end of the article, HBR made these suggestions. So what is an evolved caveman supposed to do?
HBR: You are going to work with attractive men and women… travel with them… be flirted with… the way you handle it is that you become an thoughtful caveman. That’s not helpful…
Here is the problem… let’s assume there is a thoughtful caveman … Ladies. Have you ever met one? Me either?
Let’s assume there are a few… they don’t need a guardrail. The rest of us do.
The BG Rule has been mischaracterized and misapplied because of the politics of the day.
Here is the point.
If you opt for guardrails, you will not be celebrated, but you will have fewer regrets.
This is not a new idea… guardrails.
Context: Paul has just finished warning against a series of things that we are generally against: greed; immorality; dishonesty; … Then he wars the readers about the consequences of those behaviors. Most of us would agree with Paul.
Ephesians 5:15–18 NIV
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
Be careful how you live.
Live = walk…
Lit… look around… look ahead and behind. like you had a dog in the yard
Be wise - Wisdom is much better than rules. Walking wisely is better than having rules of right and wrong to go by. Sometime you may not the right thing is a situation, but when you ask yourself, “what’s the wise thing to do?” Ask yourself, in light of where I want to be, what is the wise thing for me to do?”
Make the most of every opportunity. Don’t waste time. We don’t have unlimited time. How many wish you could reach back and some of the time you wasted in the past? I look at my early college days and wish I could get some of that back and have a do-over.
Literally - redeem the time because it’s a limited commodity.
Evil Days - Paul wrote this 2000 years ago, but it sure fits today. You have to be careful today. When you taught your kids how to drive, what did you tell them? Look out for the other driver… that’s what Paul is saying here.
Don’t act thoughtlessly of foolishly - Don’t live your life as if the past doesn’t matter. Don’t live your life like today doesn’t matter… like it doesn’t impact tomorrow.
But understand what the Lord wants you to do - he is saying stop running from what God wants you to do. stop deceiving yourself. You really do know what God wants you to do so do it. You know when you are flirting with disaster… how close you are to the line.
One thing leads to another
Guardrails are there to keep us from the other. Wise people know this.
Don’t get drunk which leads to…
- back in the day, wine was safer than water. Water might kill you but wine was safe. Wine would make you drunk, but water would make you dead.
Don’t get drunk with wine because they will … or because it leads to
Anyone come to mind? someone who wishes they had this guardrail? I know people whose lives would be totally different if their mom or dad would have stayed sober… because of what it led to… immorality, abuse, divorce...
One more thing - if someone has ever said to you that you drink too much - you do.
The point Paul is making is that getting drunk leads to something worse. It will ruin your life because of what it leads to.
For Paul right here drunk might be the guardrail… some thing that’s odd or even funny until a child or a souse gets punched… someone crosses the center line … someone realizes everyone else quit but they can’t. All of a sudden, what was fun become the master and leads to a ruined life.
They look back and say, if only I had put up a guard rail… in light of my family history… a guardrail…
Culture will laugh at you for putting a guardrail in place and then disrespect and look down on you when you turn up wiht an addiction problem.
Paul says don’t get drunk which leads to debauchery - primarily sexual indulgence due to lack of self control.
Guardrails safeguard us from handing over control of our lives to anything else.
Guardrails will safeguard your family… people you work with. They will keep you from handing over control of your life to someone or something else. We are not to allow anything or anyone to be our master but Jesus.
Then Paul says…
Ephesians 5:18 NLT
18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,
Up to now, you could have heard a lot of this anywhere - it’s common sense. But Paul believes that Jesus rose and has the power to lead us in the right directions.
Paul says don’t give over control to something or someone… be filled with the Holy Spirit. Bible teaches that HS takes up residence in us . You experience it in your conscience and he helps you make wise decisions. Paul is saying that instead of giving over control of your life to a substance, someone, something… I want you to submit your life to the gentle nudging of the HS.
You have experienced it… you are about to say something, and a little voice says… You are about to hit send on a text you should not and … You are about to take a turn you should not, but he leads you straight… That’s the Holy Spirit.
Here is what Paul is saying...
Ephesians 5:15–17 NIV
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
We don’t plan to wreck our lives… our careers, our families any more than we plan to go wreck our car.
We just plan NOT to.
Guardrails are how we live wisely.
Guardrails are how you plan not to. Guardrails are the way we live wisely. They are the equivalent of defensive living.
We all say the same thing… I’ll be careful. This is HOW you BE careful. The added benefit is that guardrails direct and protect.
Guardrails direct us away from harm to the person who loves us.
Guardrails direct you by causing you to step away from what will harm you towards the one who loves you. Then you will begin to learn the will of God in your life.
Where do you need to start? Where are driving on the edge?
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