Sunday, October 4, 2009

Safety vs. Significance

One of the most dangerous ideas about modern Christianity is that it is supposed to be "safe." Many Christians are deluded and, to some degree, enticed by the idea of God having their back, and being able to pray away any problem, to lay back and reap the benefits of siding with the Almighty. I feel that simply as a result of my more withdrawn personality, I have fallen into that trap all too often. I have rarely taken bold steps in faith, and it seems sometimes that I am living WITH God instead of FOR God. I've prayed about this a lot, and I am getting better; I stepped into the role of worship leader at Intervarsity this year, originally not even planning to sing, and now I lead and sing several songs per week. This past week, I took what I would consider my boldest step of faith in performing with the IV worship band at Concert on the Commons, which I was actually having nightmares of in the weeks leading up to it. I think that it went very well, certainly much better than it could have, and the sort of spiritual momentum that I gained from it has kept me dreading the idea of falling back into a typical, lazy relationship with Christ.
With this stuff having been on my mind for a few days, I went to Lifepoint tonight, and guess what Pastor Jeff was preaching about? The myth that the safest place to be is the center of God's will. Wonderfully coincidental, no? According to him, and of course, the scripture he cited, quite the opposite is true. (As a side note, much of what I say will be echoing what Jeff said, so I'm just gonna throw down a blanket citation here.) Jesus himself attests to the fact that in using us for his glory, God will put us in some darn uncomfortable situations. In John 16, Jesus explains some of the hardships his disciples will face for merely following him. In verses 1-4, Jesus says 1"All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. 2They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. 3They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you." He goes on to say in verse 33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Now if you are anything like myself, the first time you read over that, you didn't exactly get a lot of peace from it. I'm not to keen on the idea of people wanting me dead, you know? I don't like to rock the boat. The problem is that oftentimes, Jesus doesn't just want us to rock the boat, but to get the heck out and walk. God doesn't put us in safe places, but he keeps us safe amidst danger, and makes us dangerous.
Now, does living in the center of God's will, and living outside of our safety bubble, mean going about in the most dangerous places, being persecuted and killed like the disciples? Not necessarily. Living dangerously for God does not necessitate martyrdom. In the case of more simple people (and I'm pretty simple), it can merely mean trusting God and taking bold steps of faith outside of your safety bubble. It can mean stepping up to a leadership role, or playing worship music on campus, or simply overcoming my social awkwardness for a minute and speaking to somebody new, and over time possibly helping them get to know God. So as my little unorganized spewing of thoughts here comes to a close, here are my summarizing thoughts: God is our parachute. He will keep us safe in the most dangerous situations, so it is not our responsibility to live safely. We don't need the cushy job, or the "nice" house in the "nice" neighborhood. He will provide; he will catch us. We are just called to take that bold step of faith right out of the plane. And then, there's always Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

1 comment:

  1. I like this. I really relate to the part about dreading going back to the lazy relationship with Christ. I felt that exact same way when I got back this summer, so scared I was going to go back to how I've been before, but I didn't really know how to explain. And I sometimes I do find myself going back to it just out of laziness or habit or who knows, but there's a desire and a joy in Christ that wasn't there so much before, and it's amazing how much a big step of faith or boldness to step into the things that God asks of us will precipitate that, you know?