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Tuesday, April 19, 2016
If you have ever tried to be on both sides of the fence at one time, you know it is not very comfortable straddling the fence! You really cannot be on one side today, another tomorrow, then back again the next day without it taking some type of toll on either your emotions or your spirit. Yet, this is exactly what some of us try to do in our relationship with Christ - we want to be as close to the old way of living as possible, but we want all the benefits of serving Christ. We think it won't matter to walk so close to the edge of compromise, but it doesn't take much for us to stumble and fall right into temptation when we do.
If any of you want to walk My path, you’re going to have to deny yourself. You’ll have to take up your cross every day and follow Me. If you try to avoid danger and risk, then you’ll lose everything. If you let go of your life and risk all for My sake, then your life will be rescued, healed, made whole and full. (Luke 9:23-24 VOICE)
For most of us, the choice to live so close to the old way of living isn't because we aren't really excited about what it offers, but rather we are "comfortable" with it. The uncertainty of what might change in our lives when we fully commit to Jesus, choosing to walk as he directs, is kind of scary to us, so we hold as close to the line as possible. Not too many of us actually thrive on uncertainty. We want the "balance" or "equilibrium" we experience when we can count on something being as it has been. The thought of something different occurring in our lives just stops us short of taking that first step because we don't like the equilibrium to be rocked!
Jesus didn't come into this world to let the status quo (existing state of our lives) continue. In fact, he came into this world to rock this world to the core - to upset the imbalance sin creates and return balance to our lives which grace brings! Jesus was quite clear when he spoke to his disciples those many years ago, and the message is still as clear today - you cannot continually "walk the line" and expect things to change for the better in your life. You have to draw squarely into the "camp of grace" if you are to experience the true equilibrium of his life. This requires what he calls "risk" - the very thing we think will bring us hazard or loss, but is assured to bring us joy and blessing.
Looking again at what Jesus said, it is a daily choice. It often involves us dealing with whatever fear we have of the unknown, stepping out in obedience (not really much faith, but a mustard seed size trust), and then leaving the rest to Jesus. That is scary because when we leave the outcome to someone else in our lives, we might not get what we expected, but it is entirely truthful to say we might get what we had no idea was right there in front of us! We see the risk as great only because our obedience is small. The more we take steps of obedience, even if they are small ones, the further we move from the fence line. The further we move into his grace, the more we will have our faith increased and our lives changed in ways we never imagined possible.
The risk of obedience may be greater than any other risk we have taken in life, but far more valuable than any other risk we could take. No, obedience is not always easy. Yes, it has some fear associated with it because we are going into the territory of the unknown. In each step we take toward God's will, there is increased risk, but with that risk comes blessings in immeasurable amounts we could not have realized apart from having taken the first step toward obedience in our lives. Risk it - the first step is totally worth it! Just sayin!