Many of us pursue a life of safety and comfort. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with basic safety measures like wearing a seat belt, locking your doors, not jumping off of tall buildings. We need basic safety measures in our lives. But what about the life God has called us all to live.
The Gospel of Jesus should not make us safe nor should it cause us to pursue safety and security. Yet, it is the very thing we pursue in our daily lives. We desire safer cars, safer roads, safer houses (these are not wrong or bad). We won’t travel to cities or countries based on perceived or real safety concerns. We won’t go on short-term mission trips if we believe it isn’t safe for us. We may even not talk to certain people because we fear they are a safety risk to our beliefs, assumptions or credibility. We pursue financial security, Roth IRA, and 401Ks (not all bad). Yet, if we have learned anything about safety and security it is a myth. 911, 2008-2009 financial crisis, natural disasters, drunk drivers, cancer, nothing in this world can guarantee our safety 100%.
A few years ago, we felt as though God had called my wife and me to go on a trip to visit a ministry in Ghana, Africa. The time of our travel was when there was an Ebola outbreak in Western Africa. We had a number of people come up to us and tell us we should not be going. Even people we had not talked to in a long time were calling us concerned/scared for our safety. After much prayer and research, we decided to go anyways. We had an amazing trip, experienced God in ways we couldn’t have imagined had we stayed home. We were so thankful that we went.
God’s call on our lives is not dependent on our safety. God never said, “Go into ALL the world, but only to the safe places.” When God calls us to go our first question is not, “God, is it safe?” God never said,”Love your neighbor, but only if you agree with them politically or spiritually.”
Jesus came not only to save us from our sin and a wasteful life here on earth but to save us from our pursuit of safety and security of this world. Our pursuit of safety and security will keep us from sharing the love of God to those who need it, pursuing justice for those on the underside of life, and sharing the Good News to a world that is lost and hurting. Safety and security will prevent us from living by faith. (“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” – Hebrews 11:6)
Sadly, we have bubbled wrapped what it means to be a follower of Jesus. We would rather pursue safety and security than follow Jesus into the messy, painful, hurting world where He calls us to go. We will do almost anything to ensure that our lives are without pain, suffering, risk or discomfort. We will fight for our security and pursue a life that is free of pain and discomfort even at the cost of God’s command of loving our neighbor. Do we our pursue safety and security more than following God’s commands and calling on our lives? If so, then we are in danger of living in sin and this is not the life God intended for us to live. One of the most dangerous people group in the world should be Christians. By dangerous I mean people who are living life like they have nothing to lose, standing against injustices, fighting to keep families together, standing up to unjust laws and defending the rights of the unborn, woman, poor, orphan, widow and foreigner.
What are we afraid of? What are you afraid of?
Jenny Allen in her book Chase writes, “Fear is rooted in unbelief.” That unbelief is an unbelief in who God is and what he has called us to do.
– Has God conquered death?
– Has God commanded us to not be afraid?
– Can God be trusted with our future and our kids future?
– Is God really bigger than all of our fears and doubts?
– will God actually provide for us?
– Do we really want to follow Jesus with our lives?
If I am honest with my self, living dangerously scares me. I don’t always like discomfort and the unknown of following Jesus, especially into messy, hurting places in our world. There are times that I would much rather live behind walls and live the “normal” safe life that America has afforded me. I don’t always like living on the edge and on the front lines. Yet, this is where God has called us and I don’t want to live anywhere else.
Imagine a world where every Christian took it upon themselves to take off the bubble wrap and radically love their neighbor, those closest to us and further from us politically, socially, spiritually, and ethnically as Jesus loved us. How different would the world be today? Chances are, the Kingdom of God would be advancing in ways we could never imagine.