Do you ever let fear or worry stop you from taking bold steps of faith?
Things have been settled in my life for a while, and somewhere along the way I have become a bit boring and safe and…faithless.
Of course in some ways I continue to be faithful – In the sense of being constant, striving for holiness, and seeking to please God. But I rarely make big steps that require faith in God. Instead I scale everything down to my personal achievement level. I don’t take risks. I am happy with no great extremes of emotion and nothing unexpected, and I avoid anything that might upset the status quo.
I’d rather he didn’t rock my boat by doing anything too exciting. . .
In 2 Corinthians 5:7 Paul summarises the attitude which every follower of Jesus should cultivate, saying: “For we live by faith, not by sight.”
But I’ve allowed myself to dispense with living by faith and instead I live almost entirely by sight every day. Things happen as I plan them, and so I don’t expect God to act in significant ways. In fact I’d rather he didn’t rock my boat by doing anything too exciting.
And yet I am his servant to do good works – by faith! I’m meant to be constant in prayerful reliance upon him. I’m meant to be led by his Spirit.
Please don’t misunderstand me, it’s a great blessing when life is good and we have peace and security. In a world like ours, many don’t have this luxury! But I’ve allowed my settled life to make me spiritually complacent. I find myself making decisions based on how something will impact my comfort levels instead of according to God’s glory and will, and I assess things according to my personal resources, instead of God’s unlimited supply. I am a spiritual control freak and a back seat driver!
But we’ve been studying Hebrews in my small group recently and it supplies some helpful correctives:
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
“Things not seen”? I don’t like the sound of that. I like concrete evidence, precise plans, and a detailed road map of where God is leading me at all times!
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
As a follower of God, I must live by faith in order to please him! Real, active faith must spring from my trust in God, even when I don’t know where he is leading me or why. I insult my good and wise God when I reject his authority and act as though he is not worthy of my complete trust.
So what is the solution?
Acknowledging the problem is important, and repenting of my wrong attitudes. Yet reminding myself of God’s character is hugely helpful too. How much easier it is to trust someone with the unknown when you know that they are infinitely wise, sacrificially loving, and eternally faithful!
Romans 8:32 reasons: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
A growing excitement for the good and faithful plans of God
I was also greatly encouraged as I read the rest of Hebrews 11 and saw the amazing things that people of faith achieved by following God into the unknown. It made me long for God to do exciting and significant things in and through me too! I want to know more of God’s power and sufficiency in my life. I want to live for his glory, instead of for my own comfort. I need to let him rock the boat if that is what it will take to call me to authentic faith and service.
Yet God also assures us repeatedly that as well as being faithful to those who trust in him, he is also GOOD! One such verse is Psalm 84:11:
“The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
It is promises like these that give me the courage to step out in faith when God calls me away from the comfort zones that so easily disguise my unbelief and idolatry. With God’s help (ultimately faith comes from him!) I will continue to trust in his wisdom and goodness as he leads me.