I recently had the privilege of participating in a training exercise with some of America’s most elite special forces. These men are the epitome of courage, and to witness their tactics in action was both awe-inspiring and a good reminder of the danger they face every single day.
Rudy, a retired operator with decades of combat experience, led my team in a crash course on techniques that would allow our unit to function as one against our adversary. He taught us communication signals, showed us how to provide cover for our teammates, and prepared us mentally for the task at hand. All of this he accomplished with the utmost humility and patience, while not missing an opportunity to share his love of the Lord.
At the end of our time together, Rudy looked at all of us and gave us one last directive. He said, “Some may tell you to be safe, but I’ll say … stay dangerous.”
I thought about his words and the profound difference from traditional thought those words represent. Most of us would probably agree that safety is an admirable and necessary goal. We buckle up our kids tight in car seats, take preventative medication and lock our doors at night. But, if we’re not careful, we can fall into a mindset of avoiding any behavior that threatens to place us in harm’s way.
It was a few days with these warriors that reminded me of the life God has called us to live. Combine that experience with the book I just finished, called “The Insanity of God,” and I could sense God was trying to teach me something. Consider this quote from the book by Nik Ripken:
“Those of us who have grown comfortable with the teachings of Christ have allowed his teachings to lose their edge. So much of what Jesus taught makes no sense from the human perspective. He tells his followers that he is sending them out as sheep among wolves. And, still, he expected them to prevail. In the history of the world, no sheep has ever won a fight with a wolf. The very idea is insane.”
We have a natural tendency to protect and play it safe. However, the men I read about in the Bible – like David, Samson and Peter – lived radically. Their actions demonstrated an abandonment for the comforts of this world, because they recognized the greater value of a life lived in the pursuit of God.
So how do we overcome the desire of our flesh to self-preserve, when following Christ might require us to make choices that could threaten our safety?
Jesus reminds his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion that “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). God uses trials to bring us to the end of our rope and show us that the only hope worth having is in Him. He promises to give us peace, but it may mean going through some difficulties.
If I allow my expectations of this life to take precedence over my dedication to following God’s will, I limit the extent to which God can use me. We become dangerous when we realize we have nothing to lose. The victory is won and Romans 8:39 promises that “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
My encouragement to you is to live in such a way that places God’s priorities first. You fear in the direction of your hope, and therefore, you have a greater tendency to guard that which is most dear to you. But if we recognize that we can’t possibly lose what has been promised by God, then we will have the freedom to live without fear of what may await tomorrow.
I leave you with the famous lines of the missionary Jim Elliot: “He is no fool to give what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.”
— Scott Linebrink, former MLB pitcher
Scott Linebrink is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Scott’s Increase profile here: http://theincrease.com/author/scott-linebrink/
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