Safety isn’t the top priority for the Christian. God’s glory is. And living for God’s glory isn’t the safest thing to do, says Alex Hawke. Photo by Matese Fields on Unsplash.
You’ve probably heard this phrase: “The safest place to be is in God’s will.”
No, it’s not.
The safest place to be is probably on the couch in your living room minding your own business. Though even that depends on where you live.
Safety isn’t the top priority for the Christian. God’s glory is. And living for God’s glory isn’t the safest thing to do.
In God’s will is the right place to be. The best place to be. The most God-honouring place. We see wonderful things happen as we follow Jesus. But it’s not the safest thing to do.
Countless believers throughout history suffered precisely because they were following Jesus.
Following Jesus is not the safest option.
There’s the risk of possible danger. We could avoid various challenges, hardships or dangers by fleeing from God’s will.
Risk means exposing ourselves or others to possible danger, harm or loss. People take all kinds of risks with their safety, their finances and their relationships. Some risks are reckless, some are reasonable and worth it.
Followers of Jesus don’t take reckless or foolish risks, although to some people it might look that way. We don’t go seeking risk merely for the sake of an exciting life.
We believe that risk is right when it leads to God being glorified.
Daniel. Joseph. Esther. Stephen. Paul. They were faithfully following God’s leading and it got them into risk-filled, dangerous situations.
Then there’s Jesus who was perfect, fully obedient and went to the cross. Then there are the countless believers throughout history who suffered precisely because they were following Jesus.
Rocky roads ahead
God never guarantees His people safety in every situation. Passages that tell of God rescuing and delivering show that people had encountered great trouble and danger up to that point.
There are so many verses about afflictions, trials and suffering in the Christian life:
All commended for their faith but some were delivered and some were killed.
“We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)
“Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12)
“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him but also to suffer for him.” (Philippians 1:29)
Hebrews 11 tells us about people who were all commended for their faith – some were delivered, some were killed. They were all faithful.
Faith is no guarantee of earthly safety or health.
Suffering is normal. There are all kinds of risks in obeying God. God knows the future, we don’t. He can’t risk. We can.
May God strengthen us to take risks in His name. To live out the faith He’s called us to.
As followers of Jesus we embrace risk, we don’t turn from it.
Many others have suffered greatly and lost their lives when they were exactly where God had sent them to be. They knew the risks but they did it anyway.
We are ultimately safe – guaranteed the perfect rest and security of God’s Kingdom. That confidence helps us take risks for the Gospel’s sake and face danger where necessary.
The risk-reward ratio
When people see us endure, persevere and trust God through challenges, dangers, illness, persecution, it’s a really powerful witness. It tells people we value Jesus above even our own safety. He is so worthy that we are willing to suffer for his sake.
It’s reasonable risk. Not foolishness.
Reasonable because of the results that it can bring: Glory to God, people led to Christ and spiritual growth in our lives.
May God strengthen us to take risks in His name. To live out the faith He’s called us to live. To live a life for God’s glory, whatever happens.
If you are interested in exploring more about Jesus and Christianity, Alex Hawke recommends the book More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell and the website www.christianityexplored.org.