“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. Lewis,
First, God is not safe!
We live in a culture without much fear of God. Our society is casual and irreverent, and to an alarming extent, this attitude spills over into the church. We approach him with very little trepidation, sometimes even flippant and casual in worship and word. We forget (if we ever knew) that it is “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
God is good, but he isn’t safe.
He is not one to be trifled with. He is “a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29) and “greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints…” (Psalm 89:7). Approach with caution! The “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” That means it’s Common Sense 101 to use respect and reverence. He is not tame. He is not safe. But he is good.
And yet, it seems a paradox to think of “a dangerous God.” Doesn’t the book of Psalms tell us of a God who is our refuge, our strength, our shelter? Of course that’s so. Everyone who comes to him finds a father, a protector, a champion.
So, second, we are safe in him.
But safe is not the same is comfortable. And though God is a good God, he isn’t going to make you comfortable. He is going to stretch you, He is going to challenge you, He is going to give you opportunities that may look impossible, and he will use you to reach others in really uncomfortable situations.
He is good and because of his goodness we know we are free in Him alone, but His desire is to not keep us safe, His desire is to follow Him even in the darkest of times, when our faith is tested, and when we have to step out in faith and in the not-so-safe world we live in. That is our calling.
“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” – C.S. Lewis
Safe moves are not for Jesus followers.
Is God leading you into unsafe waters where you need to fully rely on Him? Do you need to start serving? Do you need to mend a relationship? Do you need to do mission work? Ask Him. Allow Him to use you in an unsafe way.
Because third, if you choose God, your lifestyle will begin to look pretty darn unsafe.
He can’t be our Protector if we are complacent and comfortable in our life. As someone said, Jesus didn’t say if we wanted to follow Him that we needed to take up our mattress…but rather take up our cross! Here’s a clip from an online piece on “If you follow Jesus…” It’s not for the easygoing.
- If you are going to follow Jesus, you are going to upset some people (Matthew 10:34-36!)
- If you are going to follow Jesus, He will bring out changes in you (Luke 19:1-10)—we cannot meet Him and stay the same!
- If you are going to follow Jesus, He is going to challenge you to look straight ahead and NOT behind, no matter how good or bad it may have been (Luke 9:62!)
- If you are going to follow Jesus, you are going to have to lay some things aside (Mark 1:18!)
- If you are going to follow Jesus, HE will IMPACT every area of your life (Romans 12:1), you cannot pick and choose your areas of surrender when you are abiding in Him.
- If you are going to follow Jesus, you ARE going to hear His voice clearly and accurately (John 10:4).
- If you are going to follow Jesus, you ARE going to experience an ABUNDANT LIFE…your life WILL NOT be wasted (John 10:10.)
- If you are going to follow Jesus, you are going to have to surrender your wallet (Matthew 6:19-24, Luke 16:10-13)
- If you are going to follow Jesus, it is going to take a willingness to change the way you think (Romans 12:1-2).
- If you are going to follow Jesus, it is going to move your heart to care about and reach out to people that He deeply cares for (see Matthew 28:18-20!) I cannot say I am a follower of Christ and be unconcerned with the things that concern Him.
BUT…with all of this in mind do not forget, Jesus IS good—He IS NOT SAFE.
True life begins when we no longer live for safety but rather for sanctification…and that is not always a pretty process…and following Christ isn’t always the easy thing (because it is not safe), but it is always the right thing.
The comfort in all of this…He’s good! Scripture talks over and over again about the goodness of God! When I do not understand, agree with or even see what He is doing I can know that Romans 8:28 is true…that HE IS GOOD and that He works for the good of those who love Him.
And Jesus lays it out quite straightforwardly (in Matthew 7). Here’s a modern paraphrase:
“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?”
Don’t you think?
Following Jesus is the good thing, the right thing…but it is not the safe thing.