I’ve been thinking of the unflinching faith it takes to take a risk. The price one pays when we say yes to the mission. From things that risk your life such as: venturing out of the boat onto wild waves. Or the crazy idea to face a new enemy that’s 9 feet tall. Being a widow that follows her mother-in-law who is also a widow to her hometown. The courage it takes to muster the legs to enter the king's chamber, uninvited. Or risking your life to share the gospel in forbidden lands.
Having unflinching faith at all costs means praying for a need that we have seen go unmet in our lives. Stretching our hope for another, where we felt the sting of disappointment. An all-cost faith is a faith that believes the results belong to God. The outcome is His. The risk is ours. He challenges us to get out of the boat, make a bold move and an uncomfortable step of faith. He is commanding us to lay hands on the sick, leave the shore, cross a wild ocean, speak to strangers, confront a demon, slay a giant, walk laps in the furnace, quit a job, start a job. Move to a new state, stay in the state you are. The thing is, obeying at all cost means to have unflinching faith in King Jesus and trusting His way, will, and results at the end of the day. Even if it appears our faith failed, or we failed.
Today we are praying over our courage. We are doing as David did in 1 Samuel Chapter 30 and encourage ourselves in the Lord. Today we are the focus of Psalm 91. Our fears will be sat down. And we will lift our inadequate strength to the one who gives us strength in our weakness. Asking our Savior to build us up, and trust his word, even if it is just one word, the commission “GO!” and no other instructions. Because obeying at all costs starts with one obedient step. There is a price we pay at the beginning of learning to obey in the smaller risks. The risk one takes that makes you swallow your pride and risk rejection, ridicule, social suicide, or behind your back snickers. Being a risk-taker for the cause of Christ and the training for His plan on our lives takes some serious guts. It’s not for the faint of heart. There is no room for ego or even the love of your own life. It’s hard obedience at times.
The amount of faith it takes to say yes to God’s crazy plans is unmeasurable and at the same time can be found in a speck the size of a mustard seed. Abraham going to a land he didn’t know was an insane idea. Jacob facing Esau after stealing his birthright. Joseph looking his betrayers in the eye. Tamar confronting Judah. David sizing up a giant without armor or a sword is completely nuts! Abigail going behind her husband’s back to serve her king. Esther’s uninvited move to save her people. These are just a handful of wild moments of unflinching faith and obeying at all cost.
Crucifying our ego comes before we risk our life. How many times did David have to practice with cans on a fence post, and miss a target before he became an expert marksman? How many times did Esther reach for a door handle before she had the guts to turn the knob. The training ground of unflinching faith isn't always seen, but the fruit of a surrendered heart is.
One very vivid picture I get is the disciples trying to cast out demons; It's a giant flop. The father that was filled with hope that the disciples of Jesus were going to help his boy was devastated. The followers failed. The demon won that round. First of all, can we just think of the moment where a crowd may have been gathered? The reputation of Jesus and his followers had spread. The rumors of healings, signs, and wonders were the buzz. Jesus primes the courage and faith of the gangs with this speech “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!”
Matthew 10:8 NLT
But then, several miracles and 7 chapters later we read this “Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.” …Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”
Matthew 17:15-16, 19-20
They stunk it up when someone desperately needed them to succeed. Their faith muscle was not even the size of a mustard seed. Now I can’t blame them. They are totally new at this mission gig and faith extension. But can you imagine the faith and courage it took to face the next demon? They must have shoved all the fear of failure to their toes for "their try" again moment. I would imagine they knew they could do it this time, but it might have been a “Lord I believe help my unbelief” extension of faith.
Being brave enough to suck at something new means your ego will take a big hit. Oh, how I long to have the courage that Jonathan and his armor-bearer had, who peered over a cliff and said,” who knows, maybe God will give us victory” (worst war plan ever btw) but crazy ideas from Jesus’ hold within them crazy wild successes.
What are you looking at right now wishing you were brave enough to try or try again? To pull back the arrow one more time. To sling a stone at a giant's head. Confront a lion that you’ve been rooming with. Is it another diet? Is it quitting smoking or drinking? Is it giving up a friendship you know is toxic? Is it breaking up with a boyfriend you know is not meant to be? Is it starting a business? Saying yes to a job offer? Perhaps it’s a ministry or volunteering. Maybe you want to change careers, hair color, or paint a wall an unusual color.
Is there a measure of risk in your "yes" to Jesus that will cost you? Yes. It may cost friends. Jobs. Relationships. It will most definitely cost egos, your flesh, and a surrender of your plans. But the rich reward and peace that comes with an unflinching "yes" are beyond anything you could ever experience! There is nothing like watching that small "yes" turn into a sea-splitting moment. Or having the keys to a new home or business handed to you. Your risky unflinching faith is an investment with a heavenly return.
What are you dreaming about that gives you butterflies, makes you sweat, or causes your knees to shake a bit? Are you brave enough to fail? Are you brave enough to look foolish while you find your way? Are you brave enough to try again If you stink at it?
On the other side of your fear is strange courage that says yes to training for the call. The giants you slay tomorrow start with knocking cans off the fence with your sling today.
We are not called to live safe comfortable lives. We are called to live boldly. Take risks. Leave the shore. Following our savior into dens of lions and stepping on scorpions and serpents as we go. Say "no" too comfortable and say "yes" to the wild and crazy plans of Jesus and watch what heaven does through a yielded unflinching vessel, who may or may not have failed