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Jesus is not safe
I remember hearing about The Chronicles of Narnia when I was just a kid. Little did I know that the author, C.S. Lewis, would later come back around to me after I received Christ and have such a profound impact.
In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Susan and Lucy ask Mr. and Mrs. Beaver to tell them about Aslan, the lion in the story who is the Christ-figure. They ask if Aslan is a man, and Mr. Beaver replies:
Aslan a man? Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the woods and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion—the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh!” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about being safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
That conversation is loaded. Please get the last line. He’s good, he’s the King, but he isn’t safe.
The wrong picture
We’ve done a pretty bad job at trying to paint a picture of Jesus in today’s society that is safe. His hair is always perfect. Did they really have product back then? His teeth have obviously been either whitened or capped. His robe never has any wrinkles and is always the whitest of whites. I guess the dust and dirt in Israel simply refused to stick to his clothes. And he never becomes irritated, upset, or does anything that might offend anyone, despite what we read in Matthew 12:1-4, Luke 4:28-30, Luke 11:45-54, Matthew 23 and John 2:13-17 (just to name a few!).
Make no mistake about it. He is good, but he is not safe! Following Jesus doesn’t ever lead to a safe, comfortable, and predictable life. How in the world could we ever expect the guy who said what he did in Luke 9:23 to ever lead us towards safety?
Take up your cross
Jesus didn’t say that if we wanted to follow him, we needed to take up our mattress, but rather take up our cross! If you are going to follow Jesus:
- You are going to upset some people (Matthew 10:34-36).
- He will bring out changes in you (Luke 19:1-10). We cannot meet him and stay the same!
- 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).
- You are going to have to lay some things aside (Mark 1:18).
- He will impact every area of your life (Romans 12:1), and you cannot pick and choose your areas of surrender when you are abiding in him.
- You are going to hear his voice clearly and accurately (John 10:4).
- You are going to experience abudant life, and your life will not be wasted (John 10:10).
- You are going to have to stop messing around—literally (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). In fact, following Jesus may make your dating life seem quite “boring” to others.
- You are going to have to surrender your wallet (Matthew 6:19-24, Luke 16:10-13).
- It is going to take a willingness to change the way you think (Romans 12:1-2).
- It is going to move your heart to care about and reach out to people that he deeply cares for (Matthew 28:18-20). I cannot say I am a follower of Christ and be unconcerned with the things that concern him.
God is good
Sanctification is not always a pretty process and following Christ isn’t always the easy or safe thing, but it is always the right thing. With all of this in mind, do not forget that Jesus is good that's the comfort in all this.
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. God is good and he works for the good of those who love him.
So what will you do today? Play it safe or follow Christ?