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Jumping Off the Edge

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A rapidly spreading, nighttime house fire forced a young boy to climb out his bedroom window and onto the roof. His father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling, “Jump! I’ll catch you.” He knew his son had to jump to save his life. Yet all the boy could see were flames, smoke and darkness. Terrified, he was unwilling to leave the roof. His father yelled with greater urgency, “Jump! I’ll catch you.” But the boy protested, “Daddy, I can’t see you.” The father replied, “But I can see you, and that’s all that matters.”

The idea of a “leap of faith” tends to make all of us feel quite uncomfortable. Even as people who believe in a loving and good God, we’re afraid to jump off the edge.

A core value of The Christian and Missionary Alliance states: Achieving God’s purposes involves taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change. It’s rooted in Hebrews 11:6a, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

One of the largest barriers to fulfilling Christ’s mission is the hesitancy of God’s people to take faith-filled risks. Our desire for security and our fear of failure, including concern about what others will think, too often tie us to the known and the comfortable.

Unwillingness to take faith-filled risks can stunt our growth and learning as Christ’s followers. Calm seas will never make us into skilled sailors. Nor can we discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

John Henry Jowett, a great English preacher, pointed out the temptation of self-preservation and its result in faithless lives:

It is possible to evade a multitude of sorrows through the cultivation of an insignificant life. Indeed, if a man’s ambition is to avoid the troubles of life, the recipe is simple: shed your ambitions in every direction, cut the wings of every soaring purpose, and seek a life with the fewest contacts and relations. If you want to get through the world with the smallest trouble, you must reduce yourself to the smallest compass. Tiny souls can dodge through life; bigger souls are blocked on every side. As soon as a man begins to enlarge his life, his resistances are multiplied. Let a man remove his petty selfish purposes and enthrone Christ, and his sufferings will be increased on every side. (Paul Borthwick, Leading the Way, Navpress, 1989, p. 86)

Without an element of risk in our service for Christ, there’s no need for faith. Why? Because faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. Rather, authentic faith begins where human power ends. Living faith that helps us risk beyond what can be accomplished by our own means cannot be idle. It must be expressed; it must take risks. What might it look like for us to take missional, faith-filled risks? Here are five specific challenges. I urge you to be intentional in stepping off the edge to do at least one:

  • Invest in helping a younger person move to greater maturity in Christ.
  • Build a relationship with an unbelieving household of another ethnicity, trusting God to open a door for you to explain how to be reconciled to Him through Christ.
  • Contribute 20 percent of your income to advance the cause of Christ.
  • Volunteer to invest your time, talent and treasure in the planting of a new, Christ-centered community of faith.
  • Give at least a year of your life to serving Christ in another country.

When it comes to taking faith-filled risks to achieve God’s purposes, here is the prayer of my heart for our Alliance family: “Father, enable us to be people who so trust You that we’re willing to jump off the edge to further Your Kingdom. Help us to love You and others to the point where some view us as irrational. We want to care more than some think is wise, dream more than some think is practical, and expect more from You than some think is even possible.

“Call us to account, Lord, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore. Keep us from being well pleased with ourselves when we’re focusing on the known and comfortable, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little. And when it comes to achieving Your purposes, may we venture on wider seas where only You can save us, thereby making Your power and glory known. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

ALLIANCE CORE VALUE

Achieving God’s purposes involves taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change. (Hebrews 11:6a)

ALLIANCE CORE VALUE

Achieving God�s purposes involves taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change. (Hebrews 11:6a)

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