The Problem with Playing It Safe


The Gospel does not call us to play it safe, rather it calls for a radical departure from the “safe” things of this world and an unwavering adherence to the ways of Jesus.

At Catalyst 2012, Craig Groeschel said, “To step toward your destiny, you must step away from your security.”

In The Barbarian Way, Erwin McManus says, “To follow Christ is to abandon the luxury of safety and security.” 

In Radical, David Platt touts the same principal: “Radical obedience to Christ is not ... comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things.”

Francis Chan says that comfort and safety make no sense in the life of a believer. In his book, Forgotten God, Chan writes, “Why would we need to experience the Comforter [the Holy Spirit] if our lives are already comfortable?”

Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Here’s the problem with playing it safe: safety is not a virtue in the Kingdom of God. Instead, the Gospel calls us to the exact opposite: a radical departure from the “safe” things of this world and an unwavering adherence to the ways of Jesus.

That’s a struggle in many churches. And it’s a struggle for many individuals. It’s tough to exchange worldly comforts for the dangerous life of following Jesus. We would much rather take up 24-karat-gold-crosses than a cross that leads to death. 

Apparently, this isn’t a new struggle. For the church at Corinth (way back in the first century), there was some desire to “play it safe.” According to 2 Corinthians 8, they committed to God’s plan for financial generosity, but they never followed through. They never gave what they had pledged because they were worried about the “what if's” of life. For the Corinthians, comfort became more important than compassion, safety became more important than surrender, and the security of money was more cherished than the security of God.

Sound familiar?

Quick reminder: God didn’t need the money of the Corinthian church. And God doesn’t need your money. But, He desperately wants your heart and your trust. 

Consequently, safety is not a virtue in the kingdom of God. 

  • That’s why Zacchaeus decided to stop hoarding and give away half of his possessions to the poor. 
  • That’s why Abraham willingly walked up the mountain and prepared to offer Isaac as an offering.
  • That’s why a frail widow dropped her last two coins in the temple treasury. 
  • That’s why the Macedonian church (also in 2 Corinthians 8), begged for the opportunity to give out of their poverty. 
  • That’s why Jesus willingly carried a crossbeam to the place of His death.

So ... are you going to play it safe?

This post was written by John Richardson.

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