Gandhi, who had closely observed Christianity as practiced around him in Great Britain and in Europe, remarked that if only Christians would live according to their belief in the teachings of Jesus, “we all would become Christians.” We know what he meant, and he was right. But the dismaying truth is that the Christians were living according to their “belief” in the teachings of Jesus. They didn’t believe them! They did not really trust him . . . The idea that you can trust Christ and not intend to obey him is an illusion generated by the prevalence of an unbelieving “Christian culture.” In fact, you can no more trust Jesus and not intend to obey him than you could trust your doctor or your auto mechanic and not intend to follow their advice. If you don’t intend to follow their advice, you simply don’t trust them.—Dallas Willard
This kind of trust implies a willingness to bet ourselves and our stuff on Jesus’ Way–especially since Jesus’ teachings deal with ourselves and our stuff. Along with my earlier posts (and Jesus’ statements on discipleship), it’s an ‘everything’ kind of trust. Assuming for a second that we somehow get this willingness to risk everything we have and are on Jesus, what would we really be risking? If we persistently and consciously let go of every ‘right’, and just accept whatever he gives and takes away through mercy, what do we think we’ll lack exactly? Aren’t we already dependent upon his mercy for every breath? Literally, aren’t I still breathing because he chooses it to be so? Aren’t you? What does anyone have that isn’t ultimately a gift from God? I know that, for me, the thought that my ongoing life–including my eternal life–hangs completely on the undeserved kindness of Another made me very afraid for a long time. “I’m such a loser. How can I secure (control) his ongoing approval?! There’s no way I can make him show me mercy!” I still have a hard time accepting that everything I have now, or will ever have, comes through mercy. I’d rather trust my rights; I just don’t think I want what I’m entitled to. Trusting mercy, embracing mercy, showing mercy is just stepping out of denial that I’ve ever had anything else–in this world or the next. It’s stepping into the only reality that there is. It’s not really a risk, it just feels like it. God is committed to me–forever–in undeserved love. Showing such love to others, even to my apparent loss, is the truest evidence that I trust this all important fact of my existence.