Dale Appleby

...resources for Christian ministry

Weekly Reflections



What is the most daring thing you have done? I jumped out of a plane once at 12,000 feet without a parachute - and with a big bloke strapped to my back.
For those of us who are married, marriage was probably the most daring thing we have done. We committed everything we had to another person with no guarantees except their word. Yes, we got a piece of paper, but no redress if things went wrong. No back up plan.
Everything depended on trusting the other person to keep their word. And us being faithful to our word.
Exactly like following Christ.

Although much more is at stake in this case. The person who follows Christ is much braver than the person who gets married. Because this is not a relationship of equals. But it is a total relationship. Everything is at stake. Everything we have is at risk. And all we have to go on is Christ's word.
But he calls the tune. He knows the plan. He directs the way. And there is no back up plan. No guarantees apart from his word.
Not surprisingly many followers of Christ are not comfortable with this arrangement. They belong to a long line of "self-deciders" that goes back to Adam. They want to decide for themselves what they will do and not do. Because they trust their own judgment more than anyone else's.
Being "self-deciders" they are naturally insecure (otherwise they would trust Christ). So they put in place lots of plans and structures to make sure they can keep their relationship with Christ safe, under control, and hopefully acceptable to him.
Which makes it difficult to have a trusting relationship. The alternative is very scary and few grasp it. It is to abandon not only the security plans but to kill off the "self-decider" themself.
 And instead to take Christ at his word and trust him to live his life in us through his Spirit. In a relationship over which we have no control. Where our only challenge is to remain faithful and trusting.
How will we know what to do? We would need to trust Christ to tell us. Not only to take him at his word but actually to listen to him.