austin-neill-112058God isn’t safe, but he’s good. I love the story in C. S. Lewis’s book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where Lucy, who has ventured with her siblings into the world of Narnia, asks the Beaver family (who are actual beavers) whether Aslan (the Lion who represents Jesus) is safe. The children are apprehensive about their impending face-to-face with Aslan.  Mr. Beaver replies, “Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”[1]

Our desire for safety sometimes misleads us to choose the known over the unknown, even when we have reason to believe the unknown is best. The taunting “what ifs” propel us into all sorts of excessive expenditures of emotional energy. What if I don’t get married? What if I get cancer? What if…?

I used to try to order my life apart from God, doing all I could to achieve my self-determined goals, despite never-satisfying outcomes. I had social, economic and professional security, but I felt empty and alone—a very dangerous state. Ultimate safety was unattainable until I let the Lion of Judah[2] rule my entire life.

I learned the hard way that God wouldn’t be contained in the space where I kept feel-good thoughts. I learned by living with the natural consequences of prioritizing my desires above God’s. I also had a few things to unlearn, including some popular ways of “trusting” God that have no biblical basis:

  • Trusting him to accept me into his kingdom as long as I “did my best” to follow the rules and did good things;[3]
  • Trusting him to allow me to spend eternity with him even though I showed little regard for him in daily life;[4] and
  • Like many people who comply with political correctness,[5] counting on God’s goodness while trivializing his wrath toward those who suppress his truth[6] and approve of what displeases him.[7]

We deceive ourselves if we count on these man-made concoctions of what it means to trust God. Reliance on counterfeit notions confirms our desire for our way over God’s or our desire for other people’s approval[8] more than his. To our holy, all-knowing and rational God, these ideas are foolish .[9]

Instead, biblical trust in Jesus…

  • begins with the knowledge that the God of all creation did everything necessary to save us from eternal separation from him;
  • grows in increasing confidence in what God has said and done;
  • requires us to be willing to give up all of everything in obedience to him;[10]
  • compels us to go wherever he tells us to go and to do whatever he tells us to do;[11]
  • revels in his love that is better than life;[12]
  • yields peace,[13] joy,[14] and awareness of the presence, power, and sufficiency[15] of our great God.

There will be trouble in this world,[16] but by following Jesus we can count on his promised help[17] and be spared a heap of unnecessary trouble.[18]

Freeing me from the false security of unfounded trust, God helped me to embrace the certainty I have in Jesus. But to experience true trust in him, I had to come to the end of myself, acknowledging the huge deficiency in my understanding and power. I had to learn that trusting in God is the only way I can be successful in anything with value from the perspective of eternity. I had to come to terms with the truth that God is the primary acting party in our relationship, and that my role is to submit to him. He is the parent picking up this child, teaching me and working though me to accomplish so much more for his glory than I could ever ask or imagine.[19]

Deuteronomy 10:12-13

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?

Galatians 6:7

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

REFLECTION

  • What might you be believing about God’s expectations of you that is not based in Scripture?
  • How have things worked out for you when you didn’t trust God?
  • How about when you did?

PRAYER

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. (Psalm 86:11)

EXCERPTS READY TO SHARE (copy and paste)

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Eternal safety is possible only if God is the ruler of our hearts. The Conundrum of Safety @ https://karenlindia.com/2016/11/16/what-does-it-mean-to-trust-in-jesus-part-2-of-3-the-conundrum-of-safety/

Popular ways of “trusting” God that have no Biblical basis … The Conundrum of Safety @ https://karenlindia.com/2016/11/16/what-does-it-mean-to-trust-in-jesus-part-2-of-3-the-conundrum-of-safety/

Do you have certainty in Jesus or an imaginary faith? The Conundrum of Safety @ https://karenlindia.com/2016/11/16/what-does-it-mean-to-trust-in-jesus-part-2-of-3-the-conundrum-of-safety/

FOOTNOTES

[1] C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia,  (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), chap. 8. Kindle edition.

[2] Revelation 5:1-5

[3] Ecclesiastes 7:20, Ephesians 2:8-9

[4] Matthew 7:21-23

[5] James 4:4-8

[6] Romans 1:18

[7] Romans 1:28-32

[8] Luke 16:15, John 12:42-43

[9] 1 Corinthians 3:16-20, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

[10] Romans 12:1

[11] I learned this explanation at The Summit Church.

[12] Psalm 63:3

[13] Isaiah 26:3

[14] Psalm 16:11, Romans 15:13

[15] Psalm 16:8

[16] John 16:33 (NIV)

[17] Isaiah 41:10

[18] Psalm 16:4, Psalm 34:17

[19] Ephesians 3:20-21

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