I was listening to the book, “Normal Christian Life” by Watchman Nee. In one of the chapters he wrote of what it means to abandon all to follow Jesus. I reflected on this. I wondered, “Is this what we’re called to?” and “What might it look like?”
Jesus is a disrupter
We often think of Jesus as a pious, loving and able teacher who was loved and appreciated by most. But the truth is Jesus was a disrupter. Even in the way he reached out to others, he disrupted the rules and boundaries of his world. He brought a new order of things.
Think of it this way. Think of the time when all your kids were in one room of the house and there was complete chaos. They were playing, jumping, shouting, throwing around the pillows and trapping each other in the blankets. Add a dog, and you have a taste of the Renke household a few years back.
Then Mom or Dad shows up. The kids don’t see Mom and Dad as the source of relief. They don’t say, “finally someone is here to bring a new order to the mess.” No, Mom and Dad are the disrupters of their planned and desired disorder.
From the uninvolved, watching from the sidelines and those over 18, the new order seems like an improvement. For the chaos-creators that new order is an unwelcomed intruder.
Jesus, the Creator came for that kind of a reset. He disrupted the disorder the people of the world created and brought the ways of God’s kingdom. We see that he isn’t safe to the way things work around here. He is wild and he is risky.
In the Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis pictured Jesus as a lion. He name was Aslan. In the story, Lucy asks, “Is He safe?” of Aslan.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver.”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Mr. Tumnus also says, “He’s wild, you know. Not a tame lion.”
He isn’t safe. He isn’t tamed by the ways of men. He cannot be safe, or tame because he is a disrupter. If he is who he said he is, He’s changed everything. And he invites us into that same life. If we are living life his way, it will be perceived as a disruption of the way life works in the world. It will be seen as a wild, adventurous, and risky life because it puts our natural ways of living at risk. It challenges everything we thought we knew about the world.
Read this poem, to envision this call.
As the tamed horse still hears the call of her wild brothers and as the farmed goose flaps hopeful wings as his sisters fly overhead, so too, perhaps, the wild ones amongst us are our only hope in calling us back to our true nature. Wild ones who have not been turned to stone by the far-reaching grasp of the empire and its programme of consumer sedation, the killing of imagination. Where, my friends, have the wild ones gone? - Joel McKerrow
Watchman Nee, quoting Luke 17 and John 12, wrote of the risk of following Jesus.
Luke 17:33 “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” John 12:25 “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
Following Jesus is Risky
Following Jesus is a risky endeavor because we’re called to let go of the life we know, or imagined. Our life in this world makes sense to us. It seems worth pursuing. But when we measure it against the Creator’s purposes, we find that it’s worth the risk to let go of what we have.
Moving into this wild and risky faith-endeavor, requires two things of us, when we look at the verses above.
Detachment doesn’t necessarily mean withdrawal, or alienation. Detachment is what a good counselor does when they are helping a client. They care, but they refuse to own the problems of the one being counseled. Detachment from this world simply means, we care less about the life we’ve designed and enjoyed, than we do the life Christ offers us.
Attachment is turning toward the thing that is more important. For disciples of Jesus, it’s attaching ourselves to him and his pattern of living the saved, or the eternal life. It’s attaching ourselves to the promise that what he risked at the cross secured for us freedom from the powers that hold the human heart captive.
The Risk is Losing
So where’s the risk? There is the risk of losing. We risk losing family, friends, lifestyles, comfort, health and wealth. The risk is that losing may not end up gaining anything in return. The risk is that the unreasonable demands of the gospel come with empty promises. This is a wild life, lived beyond the safety of our self-constructed world. This is the risky life that faith in Christ invites us to.
Self-made comfort and safety, or the risk of a life that changes everything? That is our choice. I choose risky, wild and untamed life.
“Lord, let me soar with you as I was created to. Lord, let me run with complete abandon. Lord, break me free from the taming powers of this world.”
I’m convinced that at the end of it all, the risk of trusting Christ will be the most exhilarating, challenging and sure thing!
 The Northumbria Community. Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle Locations 51468-51478). HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.
thank you for reading!
This was an awesome read! Thanks Jim!
Thank you for your insightful thoughts.