Sunday, January 23, 2011

Who God Is: The Radical Security

For the purpose of this entry, the operational definition of security is as follows

Security: /n/ the state of being free from danger and injury.

In the process of getting to know God and His wonderfully everlasting attributes, I tried reading the accounts of Jesus in the book of Mark. I thought, surely Jesus would also possess these amazing attributes (except for some differences due to Him being God incarnate). True enough, there were lots! What struck me the most that particular morning was the attribute of God being the security.

I find this subject very difficult to tackle. It took me quite a while to come up with everything that you are about to read. You see, I had a difficult time balancing the application part of this particular lesson. I did not want to sound very practical and lose the Biblical truth and be radical and sound umm... foolish.

I continued flipping through the pages of my Bible until I got to Mark 10. I was extremely surprised. And I mean e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y surprised for two things!:

1. Jesus was (and probably still is) too radical! When a rich young man asked Jesus "What must I do to inherit eternal life?", Jesus answered this...

"Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

You'd probably say, "Well, wait a minute! It's already a different era!" And you continue talking with your hands pointing your body, "Jesus doesn't possess a physical body that I can closely follow now. During the apostles time, it was different! They followed and witnessed Jesus firsthand as He fed the four thousand, fed the five thousand, healed the sick, raised the dead, etc.."

This is simply impractical. How can I feed my family? What do I ought to do then? Should I just give up working and follow Jesus? Where is He anyway? How can I see Him? Where do I go? To Israel? To Africa? Should I just let go of all the savings I've built up over the years? How about my son's future - he is about to turn four soon and tuition fees are rising like Tower of Babel!?? What should I do?!!?

Well, brothers and sisters, truth be told, it is definitely impractical! Not all Biblical teachings are music to the ears. But let me tell you, this statement isn't limited to the ancient Biblical times. It is still applicable today. It is still true today that the rich finds it more difficult to enter the Kingdom of heaven.

What does it imply anyway when you have plenty of money?

a. You value money. Your decisions are based on the deeply nested value of "financial independence" or "profit." Money has been placed top in your priority list. It is even higher than God. Although 1 Timothy 6:10, "money is the root of all evil," has been often misquoted, the verse teaches that it is not money that is evil but the "love of money--greed--is the sin, and an impulse that lies behind much wickedness throughout history" (

b. You need more than what is necessary. You are saving for the in-case-this-or-that-will-happen situations (i.e. in case my house burns up, in case my daughter won't find a job and my SSS won't be enough to sustain me). The world has taught us this framework: based on the SWOT (or TOWS) analysis, once we have built cash as our resource strength, we will be able to exploit future opportunities and attack or avoid upcoming threats. And so we save up money in our bank account to be "free from danger and injury." In short, we need money... to be secured.

c. You trust money. I now understand why it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. God entails our 100% trust and love and faith and devotion. And if the rich has plenty of strengths or resources, then they would have no reason to look for God and trust Him. Or perhaps, others may claim to know the Bible and obey it (like the rich young man), and yet has a bank account as back-up plan (in case God won't be able to provide). This definitely shows a lack of trust in God.

Remember in John 6 that there is one form of security that will last for an eternal lifetime; when Jesus said, "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." So you might be asking, how then do we work for food that endures to eternal life? The crowd (following Him) asked the same thing. The answer they got was this, to quote Jesus: "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

To believe in Jesus. To believe that He is "the bread of life" (v. 35), whoever comes to him will never be hungry and thirsty. To believe that His grace is sufficient, His strength is made perfect in our weakness. To believe that He can sustain and rescue us. To believe that He is the ONLY way, the truth and the life. Many of us know these truths already, however it is only until we are left with nothing, that we fully believe in Him. It is only until every precious thing has been taken from us, that we fully value God as our security.

Now, I don't know what God wants you to do with your money. I suggest you reflect for a moment and ask yourself these questions:
  • What is your basis for your recent big decisions? Is it to obey God or to earn money? Is it to use the gifts that God has given you or to earn money?
  • Why are you keeping all those money? Is it due to the in-case situations?
  • Are you being a good steward? If not, how then can you become a good steward and use them for God's glory?
  • Who are you sharing your money with?
  • Are you following Jesus? Or is your pursuit for money hindering you from being His good and faithful servant?
..and then show God that you don't love, need and trust your money, as much as you do Him, by sharing it with the poor!

2. It's odd that I've never heard of an advice, a sermon, or anything close to Jesus' advice to the rich young man.

The most I've heard were about budgeting and financial management. Probably people were scared of being seen as radical, or as foolish. Welcome it, "For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." (1 Cor 1:15)

For those who were able to read this far, *clap clap*, you've survived hearing an inconvenient truth: a truth that is very much difficult to bear and live out. I guess, you've seen in this writing, that I've chosen to share with you the radical application. One that is against the whole world. One that will meet persecution.

Our radical God who is able to create the world and provide all our needs, love unconditionally, destroy nations, save people, move mountains and calm the raging storm deserves a radical faith, don't you think?

Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
~ Isaiah 46:3,4


  1. Very Radical.

    But true. If we do not expect our faith to be radical, we might not be believing in the gospel.

    We are people who trust in idols.. nowadays they come in the form of beliefs such as money can give me security. When God intervenes in our lives, He reveals to us the inadequacies of these idols and points us to Himself.