Monday, July 13, 2009

A Risky Obedience

“Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of….” (Luke 19:26 MSG)

In order to obey God, you need to take risks.

Risk is the substance of faith because it requires you to take Step 1 before you see Step 2. Risk compels you to action, even when there seems to be no guarantee of what will be on the other side of your choice.

But it’s those risks, large and small, that God uses to stretch you from living by sight into living by faith. By taking the risk of following God, you move from a life of independence and self-direction into a life of godly dependence and Holy Spirit direction.

The irony, as we struggle with the risks associated with faith, is that we take a greater risk by remaining independent of God than we do when we take a step of faith that seems to be risky.

If we believe what we say we believe, then, regardless of what we see on the other side of our risk, the reality is God is there. What seems to be a no-guarantee situation actually comes with the greatest guarantee of all – a God-guarantee – that he is on the other side of our choices, working all things out for the good (Romans 8:28), with plans to help us and not to hurt us (Jeremiah 29:11).

· With a God-guarantee, you can enter into a risky obedience as you do things that are impossible unless God gives you his strength to do them.

· With a God-guarantee, you can enter into a risky obedience as you love other believers so deeply and so richly that you prove to the world a disciple of Christ is a reflection of God’s great love.

· With a God-guarantee, you can stretch to love your neighbors as you love yourself.

· With a God-guarantee, you can enter into a risky obedience as you change your priorities to match the priorities of Jesus.

· With a God-guarantee, you can stretch to love your neighbors, knowing they live throughout all nations where you’re to go and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded believers to do.

What does this mean?

· Safe outside the boat –I have a drawing of Jesus walking on the water during a storm; the disciples are cowered in a fishing boat. I look at it and ask, “Where is the safest place to be?” The obvious answer seems to be “the boat.” But the truth is, the safest place in that storm is standing next to Jesus. We only think the boat is safer.

· Safest steps – Work toward seeing faith steps as the safest steps you can take. What seems like a risk is actually a step supported by the one, true, all-powerful, all-knowing, awesome God, who is wiser than the best of man’s wisdom and stronger than the best of man’s strength.

· Live faithfully – As Rick Warren says in The Purpose Driven Life, if what you are doing doesn’t require faith, then you are living faithlessly. Ask God to reveal where you are living without faith, and trust him to gently guide you toward the place of risky obedience.

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