If there is one thing following Yeshua has taught me, it is that every step of the journey with Him takes you deeper into trust. Every fear we are faced with is a choice to base our security in ourselves, our jobs, our titles, our “callings,” our money, our community, idols or…in our God.
You cannot love both God and money. You will hate one and love the other. (Matthew 6:24)
You will hate your mother and father and children and…REALLY? Hate? (Luke 14:26)
Why…because where our love and security is, in those precious things we trust in, there is our faith. God invites us to put as much trust in Him as we can muster. How much will you trust Him? Enough to believe and act on His words? To align with His way of life that He describes without arguing with it or trying to explain it away?
We might call ourselves Christians, but if our actual sense of security is found in money, having a nice car, a good job, good foods, even a comfortable house, a retirement plan, we’re lying to ourselves. And it’s actually really hard to find out if this is the case, because our deceptive heart will do everything it can to convince you that you are doing just fine in your life choices while leaving you wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Want to really find out where your security lies? Try to give it all away. That was Jesus’ advice to the rich young ruler.
“Teacher, I have kept all these [commandments] from my youth.” Looking at him, Jesus showed love to him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But he was deeply dismayed by these words, and he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. (Mark 10:17-27)
We found it to be true. It was nearly impossible and harder for us to enter the Kingdom then a camel to enter the eye of a needle (Matthew 9:24) …and we were not really that rich by American standards! But by God’s grace, and help from our friends, we did it. A little over a year ago, we sold our house and everything in it and moved with our four kids into full-time cross-cultural ministry. We had all sorts of reactions from people but we felt the pleasure of God as we obeyed His word to go disciple the nations, and we moved to align our lives with His priorities and projects, instead of our own, His gifts for the world instead of ours, His renown instead of ours, His legacy instead of ours, His Kingdom instead of ours. We counted the cost of a completely Kingdom-centered life. For us, full surrender to God’s project of discipling the nations meant we had to leave behind a lot in order to realign; our nice jobs, our career trajectory, our house, our country. We were in so deep in the world’s system of security that we needed drastic measures in order to make God’s project our project.
Why am I telling you our story? Because all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:25-28). He is able to get you realigned with His purposes, His projects, His plan for discipling the nations.
I asked my husband last night what He felt this process has worked out in us. He said, “Well it sure does a number on your ambition and dreams.” It’s true. Your ambitions fall and you take up the Father’s…the natural outcome of simply obeying the simple, yet ridiculous commands of Christ.
Leaving. Loving. Hating. Blessing. Forgiving. Giving.
Our goals totally shifted for our family. We were starting over, like being born again. What was I experiencing? The ugly unveiling of all I trusted in besides God. I am a very trusting person, and thus, I am also the most idolatrous person I know. I trusted my car to get me to work. I trusted my job to give me money and provide for my family. I trusted the doctors to heal me. I trusted my people to care for me. I trusted my couch and air-conditioning and soft bed to comfort me when my body hurt. It wasn’t until I left that I felt the shaking awareness and shame when I finally saw ALL of it…all I trusted in besides God. I repented and was met with blinding grace…as always.
We are blind until we actually leave it behind. Then the attachments show themselves, the idolatrous allegiances, the selfish motivations. We are so self-deceptive. It is only by God’s grace that He reveals the depth of our selfishness. And He only does that when we say, “Open me up and search me, Oh Lord.” He moves the curtain gently away from our hearts to shine on us, and we see all the depth of our sin. And we cry out for freedom. His response?
Anyone who loves His own life must lose it, but whoever loses His life for my sake will find it.
Recovery is slow from decades of distrust.
For me, after a full year of His miraculous provision, I still feel the ground shaky under my feet a little bit. Like walking on waves. Exhilarating yet terrifying. It’s not what’s under my feet that is firm, it’s the hand holding mine. He’s not letting go. Now, He is trying to stand me up again on something solid called “steadfast faith,” but I am not really sure how to stand on a foundation like this. Surely it’s too simple. Surely I’m not doing enough. It’s like re-learning how to walk. Where was my foundation before? It was not here, that’s for sure. I thought it was, but it wasn’t. This is new.
Do not worry about your food. Really.
Do not worry about your clothes. Really.
Do not worry about your LIFE. Really.
These are the command of Christ. I recite and read them over and over as if reading them makes me choose to live this way. The only thing that actually counters this level of worry and fear that I struggle with on a daily basis is doing what He said to do. Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I commanded you. Obeying Yeshua in the turning the cheek, the giving to all who ask, the intolerance for lust of the eyes and heart, the refusal to judge, the hatred of money. In obeying Him, I am yielding to the Kingship of God. In going out, obedience becomes the rule rather than the exception. I think that’s what the great commission applies to all of us. It is in the “going out” that we realize the cost of following Yeshua and all the empty striving for riches, renown, and reputation, and all the false security of place, people, position, popularity, and phinances (Sorry, it needed to start with a “P”).
Anyone who loves me will obey my commands. (John 4:21-23)
Love-driven obedience to disciple the nations re-centers our security…not in good works or self-righteousness, but the natural squeezing out of every competing affection. Obeying Yeshua in this hurts us and the ones we love. It’s like how a child screams when you get a splinter out. The healing hurts. But following the commands of Yeshua and learning to be led by the Spirit is also the most life-giving, healing way of life I have ever known! It is so joyful and so glorious.
In faithfully listening to His voice, walking by the Spirit, and doing what Jesus said to do, I am entering a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. Love-driven obedience is a pathway that naturally excludes everything unrighteous. I soon realize I have stumbled on the path of righteousness by simply obeying Yeshua from a place of love-driven trust. He has taken what we have offered, this patch of clay, taken out the weeds and rocks, and He has told us He will provide what we need, give what we ask for, and never leave us or abandon us.
He has not failed me and won’t.
Do I think I have evidence to the contrary? Then I am not seeing clearly. All becomes clear when I put my eyes on Him in worship. I shrink back down to appropriate size, He grows to His appropriate greatness in my mind and heart. I lose focus on my problems, His face comes into focus (His countenance/His glory), and He makes His face/His glory shine on me. He accepts me as a child and brings me into Himself like a branch into a vine and I can see life as He meant it to be. I can see me as I am meant to be. I can learn to walk in Spirit filled power like sap flows through a branch. And in this place everything is reset for one more day. That’s why I come back here into the thone-room everyday. In this place I am 100% secure.
Disappointingly, I can still switch back and forth, in a moment, between trust and fear, between belief and doubt. I’m not proud of that. But I am learning, one day at a time, to stay in the throne-room presence of God. He never asks me to leave, though I often do of my own accord.
Where is your security?