Moving Beyond “S.A.F.E.ty”

In the previous post, we took a look at our tendencies to drift into a life of safety and ease.  This time, we look at how to overcome this temptation.

Ultimately, if we’re going to fight this battle, we need to replace our safe, but boring, defaults with Jesus’ call from Matthew 10.  He’s about to send out His twelve disciples for their first Kingdom mission.  It’s not going to be safe or easy: they won’t have any money or change of clothes (v.9), they’ll be vulnerable to their spiritual and political enemies (16-19) – in short, “hated by everyone because of [Jesus]” (22).

We can identify with how they must have felt – called to go out and live for Christ, yet fearful of the response they would get and wanting to avoid it at all costs.  So, how does Jesus tell His disciples – and us – to handle the urge to ‘play it S.A.F.E.?’

It’s worth studying Matthew 10 in greater depth, but here are some things that jump out –

  • we have to accept both the call (“go”, “proclaim”, “heal” – vv. 6-8 ) and danger (see above), which comes from being servants of the Master (24-25).
  • we have to see how much we’ve received through Christ and the gospel – “freely you have received; freely give” (8).  As that happens, we serve naturally instead of dutifully, which never lasts.
  • we often stress out about difficult patient encounters, but Jesus promises that He will be with, and speak through, us (19).
  • recognize that this impulse for ease and safety is motivated by fear of people instead of the Lord (26, 28).
  • the antidote to this fear is to fear – in a healthy way – the Lord, who has ultimate power over everything (28), and to recognize how intimately God cares about the smallest details in our lives (29-31).
  • if we’re willing to truly follow Christ in embracing a risky, cruciform lifestyle, we will be rewarded richly in due time (38-42).

This is a lot to process, but don’t get overwhelmed.  With the area of temptation from above in mind, what one small step could you take to move in the right direction?  Personally – because I battle living for “security” – I’m going to pray that God continues to deliver me from fearing people and the small, risk-free life this tends to produce.

Let’s step out in faith together, eagerly awaiting the fruit God will give!

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About Bryan Stoudt

On my personal website (bryanstoudt.com), I help Christians follow Jesus in a noisy, broken world. I also have the privilege of helping Philadelphia's healthcare students and professionals do this as Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA). More information at cmdaphiladelphia.org. On a personal note, I'm fortunate to be married to my wonderful wife, Sharon. Together, we have four fantastic children. In my spare time, I enjoy roasting coffee, running, reading and learning foreign languages.
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