David Platt writes in his book Radical this statement:
This is the unavoidable conclusion of Matthew chapter 10. To everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable life free from danger, stay away from Jesus. The danger in our lives will always increase in proportion to the depth of our relationship with Christ.
Maybe this is why we sit back and settle for a casual relationship with Christ and routine religion in the church. It is safe there, and the world likes us there. The world likes us when we are pursuing everything they are pursuing, even if we do put a Christian label on it. As long as Christianity looks like the American Dream we will have few problems in this world.
Ouch, that cuts deep into the deepest views of our faith and convicts me to the core. We have bought into a view of Christianity that is tame, safe, and ineffective in doing much of eternal value. In living this out we have also been handcuffed to the ineffectiveness it invites us into. We wonder why people aren’t coming to Christ and there is so much need in our world, maybe its because our view of what it means to be a Christian is tainted to it’s very roots. That includes me, i limit risk every day. I hesitate when I know things could get dangerous or complicate my life. I believe its because i still haven’t finished the process of truly dying to myself so that Christ can live fully in me. When this process is complete in us, fear will be ripped away and nothing will be able to stop us because the fear of death, persecution, or trouble will have died in the truth of the apostle’s Paul’s words. “To live is Christ and to die is gain” The only way this brings us hope is if we have already died to Christ, and we are so focused on an eternal God that temporal human beings strike no fear in us. Wow! Imagine the powerful lives we could live if we just gave everything to pursue dying to ourselves. That gets me excited!
My guess is that the majority of us would characterize our faith as fairly “comfortable”. When was the last time that we felt a little unsafe or insecure in our pursuit of the people that God loves. When was the last time we have seen our faith become dangerous to the kingdom of hell? What was the last risk we took that freaked us out to even consider pursuing? This is what we are called to as Christ followers and is a life worth risking everything for. Dangerous sounds exciting in some ways until it is equated with:
- Selling your house in the suburbs and moving into a poor neighborhood
- Going into an area known as hostile to Christians and sharing your faith. (this could be a workplace, school, or even your own home)
- Giving large amounts of your time or money to people who need it
- Giving up months or years of your life to do missions work throughout the world
- Speaking up to defend your faith when others are silent
- Changing jobs or career paths in order to reach people more effectively for Christ.
- Being alone by breaking up with a person who isn’t right for you in order to follow the call that God has on your life and hear from Him.
- Giving up addictions to pornography, lust and selfishness by doing whatever is necessary to cut them out of your life.
- Standing firm when others ridicule, attack, and treat you unfairly for the stands you take for Jesus.
- Digging in deep in studying the Bible, spending genuine and quality time in prayer, fasting, and communication with God and being shaped by it.
Platt goes on to write “But if we identify with Christ, we will lose much in this world.” Are we ready to lose much of what we at time’s have felt entitled to in this world, in order to see the true work of God in our generation. I pray the answer for us is yes Lord, send me.