Not Safe, but Good

by Meredith Mills

@DazzledByTheSon

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Oh, the adventures we’ve had!

Of all the activities we do as a family, reading together is one of my favorite. We’ve sailed to faraway lands, met giants and even escaped from a cyclops. We’ve been imprisoned with missionaries, dined with royalty and ridden a flying horse. Oh, the adventures we’ve had!

The best books, my favorite books, are those which sprinkle life lessons and spiritual truths throughout the stories. We’re currently reading one such book – The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis.

I love the chapter we read today, where the Pevensie children and their beaver friends discuss an upcoming meeting with Aslan, the Lion King of the magical land of Narnia. The children have never met Aslan, so the Beavers are preparing them for their introduction. Here’s how the conversation goes:

“Is he a man?” asked Lucy.

“Aslan a man?” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not…Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan…“Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver… “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

I want to cheer when I read those words. In Aslan lies a breathtaking picture of the Lion of Judah, our King Jesus.

He is not safe, as some count safety. He takes sin seriously – Scripture records the devastating effects of His anger toward those who persist in evil. He is not to be approached without reverence. Even demons tremble before Him and will one day bow in forced surrender.

But, oh, how good He is.

cross-2488005_1280Over and over, Scripture tells of His anger restrained by His compassion, even stating that mercy triumphs over judgment. This mercy led Him to the cross, where justice was satisfied through the death of the Innocent One in place of the guilty.

He is not safe, but He is good.

Yet this comforting truth leaves me with the following question, one I’ve honestly been pondering for the past several years:

Where does the “fear of God” fit into the life of a believer?

On the one hand, we are told that “as we live in God, our love grows more perfect…Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love” (I John 4:17-18 NLT).

On the other hand, we are urged to, “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV).

So are Christians to live in fear of an unsafe God?

Should His goodness lead us to carefree living?

The most poignant illustration I’ve heard on this subject was shared by our pastor in church recently. He told of a young boy taunted by his friends when he refused to join in their naughty behavior. Finally, an older boy said, “You’re just afraid that your dad will hurt you if you do it.”

His reply ought to echo in each of our hearts. “No, I’m not afraid he will hurt me. I’m afraid of hurting him.”

Love. Fear of grieving His heart. Jealousy over our relationship with Him. Such devotion should be the current that directs a life of faith.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how believers ought to fear God this side of Calvary. Please comment below – let’s get to know Him better together!

not safe but good

Related Posts:

Rest for the Restless

A New Me

Today’s post is based on the following Scripture verses: Psalm 78, James 2:19, Philippians 2:10, Psalm 30:5, Psalm 78:38, Psalm 103:8-13, James 2:13, 1 Peter 3:18.

9 thoughts on “Not Safe, but Good

  1. Love this literary introduction into strong biblical Truth.
    Thanks for the reminder and the challenge to come to God with the reverential fear.

    Like

  2. To me, fearing God for the Christian is believing what he says, taking His warnings seriously, believing He really does know the best way for us to live, and abandoning our own ideas and our culture’s ideas when they conflict with His clear word. Easy to say, but hard to do.

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. I love the story you shared, of the little boy afraid to hurt his father’s heart. That, to me, is by far the best illustration of what the fear of God ought to look like. That story clarified it more for me than anything else I’ve read.

    It’s timely, too, because I’ve also wondered how fear of God ought to look in a believer’s life. For a long time I thought, “Am I the only one who wonders about this?”

    Also, your post raised two questions in my mind.

    • If God is not safe, what do we do with verses that say He is safe (Proverbs 18:10, Psalm 18:2, Isaiah 41:10, etc.)?

    • You said, “I want to cheer when I read those words. In Aslan lies a breathtaking picture of the Lion of Judah, our King Jesus.” Why is Aslan such a good picture of Christ, in your view? (In my view, just by taking Narnia at face value, Aslan is a very poor role model of Jesus and of what the fear of God ought to look like. But that’s where I’m coming from. I’m curious to know where you’re coming from.)

    Cheers,
    John

    Like

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