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Are you a risk-taker? That depends, you might say.
For some people, the risk is almost always worth the reward. They take a leap forward. They see staying at the same spot as even riskier than the unknown that lies ahead.
For some people, the predictability of remaining the same is its own reward. A leap might become a fall. A fall becomes a failure. It’s too much of a hassle.
For even others, risk is a no-brainer when what is at stake is worthwhile. Is my family in danger? Is my faith in Christ threatened? Nothing would prevent me from fighting for what I care about.
Whatever your preference, everyone has their limit on passivity. That’s because God wired us to care about what matters. We are made in His image, so we are willing to die for what is valuable. What is valuable to you?
Faith Appears to Involve Risk
Imagine a tightrope anchored between two tall buildings. You are on one side with a crowd of people. One man shouts, “Do you believe I can cross this rope to the other side?” The crowd cheers, “Yes!” The man shouts again, “Do you believe I can push a barrel while crossing?” The crowd cheers, “Yes!” The man shouts again, “How about if a person is inside the barrel and I am blindfolded?” The crowd answers, “Yes!” Finally, the man says, “Who will get into the barrel?” The crowd only responds with silence.
What is important enough to you to get into the barrel? Maybe you will get into the barrel because you can see the value in what is on the other side. But God doesn’t usually provide a clear picture of what that will be. He wants trust. Maybe then you will get into the barrel because God is asking you to.
Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.Isaiah 26:4 NLT
Faith is Different than Risk
If God is asking you to get into the barrel, the request is actually much easier to fulfill. God rewards those who trust in Him. What if God wants you to let someone else (an imperfect human) push you across? The choice is still easy enough. God is the safety net below the rope. If you fall, He will catch you. He wants you to succeed. He wants you to grow in your trust.
Crossing to the other side means experiencing life. It means life. Nothing else should be more important than God and what He wants for your life.
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.Matthew 16:25 NLT
On the other hand, there is no need for a safety net if you have no plans to cross the rope.
What is Faith?
It’s trusting that God is working in you in ways that inspire action. It’s a sensible risk with God as your safety net. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.Philippians 2:12-13 NLT
God clearly wants to give you the desire and ability to please Him. All that you need to do is cooperate with His desire. Can you meet God with your enthusiastic agreement? Help me to desire what you want. Grant me the power to do what pleases you. When I am confused, guide me on the right path forward.
Does that path you are on seem confusing? Are you unsure if you are moving in the right direction? Check your heart. If your path involves sin, it’s the wrong path. Otherwise, if you desire to be on the path, stay on that path and trust God will guide you. To continue reflecting on this idea, read Psalm 23.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.