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The risk of being a follower

June 9, 2008

You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose that you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it? … Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief. “A Grief Observed” (1961)

(warning this post is rambling at best, but I wanted to get it written down for my sake)

The quote above is from C.S. Lewis and in that quote is a great truth. I think that most things we believe in we would rather not test. Unless you are the type of person that tests everything to see if it is true. I think of how many things I have heard taught in an effort to educate Christians that if believed was certainly untested. But I am thinking today about the risk of testing a reality or belief.

I guess in a very real sense I have always ‘believed’ in God. I have had crisises of faith but have never got to the point of not believing. But it is a very different thing to be a believer and to be a follower.

Following is risky(and I am not talking about submitting to whatever number of steps you are taught to follow in order to get your ticket to heaven punched).  Following is really, truely following Jesus. It is believing that the mystery of the Gospel is Christ in us. That his life is available, that he lives in us, that we can actually have an intimate relationship with the creator of the universe. I haven’t always been a follower. For the longest time I thought it was about getting it all right. Then in testing that it failed. You can’t get it all right, it not about that. In part it is about admitting you can’t get it right but God can and Jesus did and placing your trust and faith in Him.

I am chosing faith. I am and have been choosing to lean into walking with God. That is something I have been growing in for some time. Leaning into, not grasping but pushing purposely to test and see.

So what do I mean by walking with God? That in a thousand small ways every day you can go to Jesus and ask “What do YOU think?” “What should I do?” , “What do I say to them?” You might call this revelation. It should be matched with wisdom. If you tend to rely too much on one or the other you should try growing in the other.

What I mean by that is that most people I know rely too heavily on wisdom.  They rely on what makes ‘sense’ to them.  Their actions or lack of action is based on things such as “past performance is the best indicator of future success”.  I have relied solely on this in the past.

I do know a few people that I think could benefit from more wisdom.  But they are few.  These people seem to rely solely on revelation.  The collective wisdom of church around them is screaming but “God told them…”   And there is one of the rubs.  So much kooky, weird stuff has been done in the name of “God told me…” that it is a great deceptive ploy.  One sniff of that and so many good hearted people turn away, sometimes never to again listen for God.

So back the the Lewis quote at the beginning.  This belief, (the belief that God is alive and speaks not only through the written word but in other ways that never disagree with the written word) if it is to be tested requires me to take my greatest questions, my biggest weaknesses, my doubts, my very life to God and ask…and listen.

For you to lean into this means that you will have to purposely give it a try. You will have to find some quiet both externally and internally and listen.  You will need to invite God to speak.  Ask what he wants to tell you.  You might find it to be exactly what you need to hear.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2008 5:02 pm

    That is powerful.

    I think I could use more of that. I tend to lean on what I know.

  2. June 9, 2008 5:51 pm

    I could use more wisdom for sure but since growing on my own, I am beginning to step out and trust more. God is in control but he allows me to make choices and decisions. I want to make sure that I never limit God. I want to listen to him more closely. I’ve been making a stronger effort and I feel like I have a good relationship with him. I think he is especially fond of me. 🙂 (my favorite line from The Shack)

  3. June 10, 2008 6:27 am

    Some of the greatest stories of faith, Biblical and modern day center around people who do something that is counterintuitive and find themselves in a place to be Jesus to someone. I am one who struggles with thinking too much, and therefore I listen too little.

    I need to “lean into God” more…

  4. June 10, 2008 10:12 pm

    You may get exactly what you need and find out it is nothing that you wanted at all!

  5. June 11, 2008 5:21 am

    I have a quote on my computer screen that says, “Faith isn’t faith until it’s all you’re holding on to.” In many ways what we believe doesn’t become real until we have opportunity to put it to the test.

    Great thoughts Tommy!

  6. June 14, 2008 9:27 am

    My favorite moment in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the one where Indy must cross a great chasm by an invisible bridge in order to get to the holy grail that will save his father’s life. He closes his eyes, and steps out – in faith – to find his foot firmly planted on a stone bridge he cannot see – but which we, the viewers, can see as the camera pans to change angles. The bridge was there all the time. He just couldn’t see it because it looked like the opposite side of the chasm.

    Faith becomes fact when you act.

  7. June 16, 2008 9:38 am

    Some of my biggest messes in life came about because I thought I knew God’s will and refused to listen to those around me. At the same time, I’ve been hurt pretty badly by people trying to tell me what to do. Not lately on either point, mind you! Maybe I’m learning.

    I hope so.

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