Pastor Doug Newell, IV
Christians often are mistaken that it is the best option to take the easiest or safest path, but the safe way is not always the clear path of obedience.
Many will follow Jesus until it hurts – but only until it hurts. When following Jesus means risk, or costs us in anyway, we become very practical. It’s my “best life now” or bail. But has Jesus called you to a life of comfort and safety?
The disciples were safe after running for the hills when the Jews arrested Jesus. They saved their lives but were so sad, they despaired their lives. But later, in the book of Acts, the Jews arrested the disciples and then beat them for their unsafe and bold stand for Christ in the public square. They walked away hurting, but happy in their obedience.
Elijah, on Mount Carmel, rejoiced as he stood alone facing 450 prophets of Baal. A dangerous path to go it alone; but he was happy. Later, when he ran for his life at the threat of Jezebel, he was safe. Safe and sad. He ran and saved his life and then wished he was dead. Abraham became scared when traveling through Egypt because he thought the Egyptians would kill him and take his wife Saria because she was pretty. He took the “safe way” saying his wife was his sister. But he was sad when the Pharaoh took his “sister” for his own. The safe way of disobedience didn’t lead to safety. Later, Abraham took his son, the son of promise, up on the mount, following God in obedience, to offer him as a sacrifice. What a costly path! What danger! What a difficult trek up that mountain! The path of obedience was the blessed way. Living by faith was difficult and costly, but God blessed him by providing a sacrifice, a substitute in Isaac’s stead.
When Nebuchadnezzar built an idol and commanded all to bow down and worship when the music played, the safe way was to go along, get along, worship the idol and live to fight another day. But three men said no and would not bow. It was costly. The penalty was death. Nebuchadnezzar arrested and bound the men and ordered their execution; burned alive. But the hard way, the difficult way, was ultimately the happy way when they walked in the fire with the Lord.
If Christ is Lord, then obedience to your God is more important than possible danger or risk. Our lives are not our own. We were bought with a price. The “safe” way of disobedience isn’t really safe at all. The easy way of disobedience is the one that is fraught with peril. Are you not serving God because you are afraid? Pick up your cross and follow Him. The way of obedience will always be the best way – even if it doesn’t seem safe. Trust God with your life and follow Him and you will never regret it (Psalm 27).