Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Risky Obedience

*Part Eight of the Radical Read-Along with Marla Taviano
In the past few months, since really taking a hard, Biblical look at my faith and how it does (or doesn't) affect my life, I've received some "comments of concern" from some well-intending people in my life (all of whom I love very much). Many of the comments revolve around my desire to clear my life of much of the materialistic clutter I've acquired and spend my time and resources to the benefit others instead. I can't imagine the feathers I'd ruffle if I were to actually put my life on the line for Christ, rather than just my checkbook and time.

Shoot! I'd ruffle my feathers. Because I hate to say it, but I am still struggling deeply with the idea of intentionally putting myself in a place of real-life-threatening danger for the sake of the Gospel. I just plain don't want to do it and I am ashamed and frightened that this is the status of my heart. I am under construction and this is one area of my heart that I haven't really allowed God to get His hands on until very, very recently so I'm still having a hard time with it has He molds my perceptive. 

I've begun to realize that I have very eagerly bought into the modern, unbiblical idea that God wants His children safe - the whole "the safest place to be is in the center of God's will" idea. While I think the statement true, the self-persevering sentiment behind it is false. Because I think my view of "safe" is much different than God's view. God's will is safe not because it is happy, comfortable and easy, but because it is buffered by eternal security so that even when we loose our lives for His glory, we are eternally safe in His grace through our salvation.  

Yet, even as I type this, I struggle to live that way myself. I know it in my head, I can even articulate the idea well with words, but my actions seem to show that I am only partially believing it.

I've thought so often that if something is tough, or I don't like it, then surely God isn't behind it. I've viewed risk and difficulty as a "closed door" from God. However, when I look at scripture, God clearly calls people into risky situations all the time. Just because it's risky, doesn't mean it's not God's will. If God has told us to do something then our choice to obey has very little to do with "weighing the risks."

For example, consider how many Christians quote the verse, "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,'" yet fail to remember that the prophet to whom God spoke those words (Jeremiah) was persecuted, tortured, jailed, rejected and killed for fulfilling God's will for his life. God's perspective verse ours - very, very different.

This is tough stuff - and honestly, there are times I don't like what I'm learning. It was nicer when I was content with my safe, blind, unbiblical version of Christianity. But my eyes and heart have been pried open by the truth of the Gospel and for that I am grateful - however difficult it is to work through. I know that the re-building of my perspectives on this world are to my gain and to His glory. I am learning that God is trustworthy, even when His ways in this world don't make sense. I am learning that when I believe Him and live in the way He calls me to, it can be life-changing, rewarding and invigorating in ways that my "happy little life" never was.

"Indeed, God knows every detail of our lives, and when we step out in faith to follow him, he will show us that our greatest security is not found in the comforts we can manufacture in this world but in the faithful provision of the only one who knows our needs and the only one who is able to meet our needs in every way." (Radical, page 174)


  1. Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most commonly taken-out-of-context verses in the Bible.

    I'm with you on receiving "comments of concern." I've been getting those as well. I guess we can't expect the rest of the world to join us on this journey ... and that makes it even harder.

  2. Great post, Jen! I could relate to all your points. I am glad God is opening my eyes but there are parts of my heart I am too afraid to open up to Him. Praying for a kingdom worldview in my life!

  3. My eyes and heart have been pried open too and now I'm giving my all to "help" God pry open other people's. :) I'm so proud of you, "little" cousin!

  4. It just occurred to me that our children will (hopefully) have the opportunity to grow up with a very different perspective on Christianity than we did if we are faithful to God's commands. How refreshing. Maybe they won't have to struggle with this (battle between obedience to God and the 'American Dream') like we do.

  5. So, so good! Especially remembering what Jeremiah (and most of the people God radically blessed) went through in their lives!


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