Time for installment three of our What Drives Us series looking at why we do, think and feel the way we do. The core idea is this: we either make our decisions based on God’s promises in the Gospel, or on something else.
Does Protection drive you?
Let’s look at how this may play out in life.
Situation … response:
- When all is well in my life … I feel secure (and probably depend upon God [and pray] less).
- When trials enter my life … I pray more, for safety, for life to steady (to control my surroundings).
- When I am criticized, I … Get defensive or run away to a safe place, avoiding the pain.
- My relationship with God … Helps me find shelter from the battles of daily life.
- Motivation: Insecurity and fear.
- When I sin … I don’t want anyone else to know and guard my reputation tightly. (I may be prone to shift blame to others who threaten my peace of mind.)
- I trust … in people who can keep me safe from any stress or harm. Who will protect me?
- My greatest strengths/ weaknesses are … my strength is that I see dangers others neglect; my weakness is that I live a boring life.
- My identity is found in … being safe and comfortable, in having a good reputation.
What is the antidote?
The Gospel shows a God who is willing to forsake His own comfort, and endure pain and shame on our behalf (Hebrews 12:1-3). Why? Because it is worth it; God the Father and the reward at the other end is of far greater value. For that reason when we come to God through Jesus we can be assured that everything we forsake is of lesser value than Him.
When we learn to love God for who is He, more than what He can do for us, we are beginning to grasp that our comforts will fail us and He will satisfy. As we grow in endurance through suffering and dependence, we will become better (not bitter) and learn how to truly love ourselves. Self will no longer be the abiding center of our lives; God will be, and others will be higher on our radar. This is the beginning of what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself,” as Jesus taught. We love what we think about. And we think about what we love.
While our desire for protection is good, it simply cannot be ultimate. Otherwise our trusting in Christ would be the end and not the beginning of an amazing adventure, full of risk and reward, with dangers on every side (2 Cor. 4-6, esp. 4:7-12) and joy in risking everything for our Savior. In the day to day pressures of life, turning over our worries (our cares and anxiousness) helps us flee the idol of comfort and find security behind the walls of His power and love (Philippians 4:6-7).
Paul states it decisively:
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
Are you willing to forgo your protection to find refuge in Him?