Living Dangerously

   I hope that as the weather theoretically starts to warm up (I said theoretically) and more and more of us hit the road for trips to various places, let's stop to think for a moment if you know where your trip will take you. We've probably all had times when we get in the car and just start driving for fun, enjoying the scenery as we head for whatever destination, but eventually we have to end up going in a certain direction. If we don't--as much as we hate to tell ourselves this--then for all practical purposes, we're lost. We can only meander in a certain direction for a certain period of time before we have to stop to rest, eat and replenish our energy in some way. And if we don't, we'll be out in the middle of who-knows-where, hungry and tired. And that's usually not much fun. But how many of us who call ourselves followers of Christ don't know where we're going, or even where we're at right now? Well, we can call ourselves followers of Christ all we want, but the only way we know Him, and know that we know Him, is if we actually have a relationship with him.

   Maybe you've been to family reunions where you meet distant cousins and others who share your last name, but you have no clue who these people are. Are they part of your family? It doesn't seem very convincing if we call ourselves part of their family but have no relationship with them.

   But how many of us are like this with Christ and, in the process has no idea why or even if we are following Him? Is it time for us to find out whether we're following Christ or not? If He's leading but we're not following, are we going anywhere that matters? Do we call ourselves followers of Christ yet have no idea what our purpose is in life? I don't think it's that hard if we start with what He told us: Take up our cross and follow Him, make disciples of all nations and persevere until the end. It's quite simple. We either live dangerously for Christ. Or we live dangerously for ourselves. But there's a huge difference between those dangers: Jesus told us that just as the world hates Him; it hates those who love Him. I hope we see evidence of this every day in our lives, because if we don't see the world hating us because of Christ, are they seeing Him in our lives? If not, then we're right in the middle of the wrong form of danger. And I'd hate to be there.

   We've all been awakened at various times by a knock on our door, a phone call or some other way by which someone is trying to get our attention. So we weigh our options: Do we stay where we're at and hope the other person will go away, eventually drifting back to sleep? Or do we get up and answer the door or the phone? If it's someone we've been waiting to hear from, of course we'll answer. But what if we don't want to respond to the other person? Eventually they will stop knocking, but that doesn't necessarily mean that ignoring the knock is a good thing. If you have a serious disease that can be cured through an agonizing but effective treatment, what are your options? Endure whatever it takes to heal you--or let the disease kill you. If you ignore what your doctor says because you want to feel better for the moment, there won't be many moments left for you to feel good.

   This is the other side of living dangerously. If we're avoiding following Christ because of what it will cost us, because of what we'll have to go through, we're not playing with very good odds. Because while Jesus promises us that we will have trouble in this world if we follow Him (John 16:33), He also promises us that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Would we rather endure whatever it takes to follow Him? Or would we rather ignore the knocking at our door and just be left alone? Very alone.

   So the issue is what we're doing with what Christ has told us to do. Are we answering Him when He calls? Or are we ignoring the knock at our door? Our brains might be packed with knowledge about Jesus, but what are we doing about it? Does it do us any good to merely hear the Word but do nothing about it (Luke 6:46-47), to ignore what Jesus is telling us to do, maybe because we want to be safe on our own terms and not on His? That's living dangerously, and the wrong way to do it. Just because we can safely drive 70 miles per hour right before the road ends doesn't mean we'll be able to do so after we hit the end. And I'd bet the windshield we wouldn't see it coming. It doesn't matter how safe our trip is up to that point if we get killed because of a sudden lack of a road.

   So what are our options in following Christ? Are we going full-throttle on our own path just because it's been safe so far and hasn't killed us yet? (1Thessalonians 5:3) Or are we following where Christ leads us and trusting Him no matter what we have to go through, no matter how bumpy or narrow the road may seem, no matter how dark or desolate things look around us, trusting that no matter how things look to us, He is leading us to the only real place of safety? Nobody gets anywhere just sitting on the median.

With love,

          Mike


 



 

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