On Faith and Taking Risks
In Hebrews 11:1, it is written, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith is a tricky subject. It is so integral to our journey with Jesus and yet can often seem so difficult to grasp or to hold onto. Having faith can be difficult for a plethora of reasons. Maybe past experiences would tell us that things never change. Nothing ever goes right. Everything falls through. Maybe the walls we build up to protect our own hearts against let downs and disappointments prohibit faith from entering in, lest we believe for something good and get our hearts broken. Maybe we lack trust in God's goodness and love in our lives. Faith is not cut and dry. This verse has often been explained to me as what takes place when human beings believe for something and speak something out into their natural environment and circumstances trusting that things will happen through the power of the Spirit. We often talk about "speaking things into existence." I believe it is absolutely important for us to stand on the promises of God and make faith declarations. The tongue is a powerful thing.
However, recently, God has been highlighting another important element of this scriptural truth to me. The other important component of this verse speaks of putting words into action and taking risks. A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to a teaching (I cannot give credit because I can't remember who it was). The preacher spoke on the substance of faith. According to his interpretation, the substance of faith includes the steps that we take in the natural to stand on the promises of God. The substance of faith speaks of those things we do in our lives, as a result of the faith that we profess to have. It is the risks we take as a result of our growing confidence and trust in God. It is stepping out on a limb.
To explain it in a different manner, James 2:17 tells us that "Faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead." I am blessed to have people in my life that encourage me daily in the truths of God. One such person and I were discussing faith sometime last week. He began talking to me about how faith, without actions and risks, just doesn't amount to much. For instance, what good would it be to believe God for a new position and a financial increase, if we never apply for a job? How much faith are we demonstrating if we only put ourselves out there for opportunities that are in our comfort zones...things we feel we can handle in our own strength? Are we really trusting in God's goodness if we never take a risk?
Trusting God is a risk. We risk that His agenda is different than ours. We risk that He might ask us to do something that we are uncomfortable with. We risk that He might take us somewhere we have never been before. There is risk involved in letting our walls down and letting people in so that we can demonstrate his love to a broken world. There is risk in taking steps forward when we can't see the finish line. But we can know with absolute certainty that in this journey, we are never alone. Our companion is trustworthy. An adventure is waiting. Take the step.