Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Before taking massive steps of faith...

There have been many times when I have allowed my fears of what might (or might not) happen to overpower my faith.  And I must say that I don't look back on those times with total freedom.  I feel the most freedom and security and even happiness when I have operated from the premise of faith.  That's the truth.

I define faith as doing what God asks despite not knowing the consequences of your obedience.  

These steps of obedience can seem like massive moves of "risk" and 100% life altering.  But we can't limit it to that.  Faith tends to be much more practical for us, and most often embraced in the mundane aspects of our everyday lives.

That said, sometimes people are called to take massive, life altering steps of faith.  For instance, I was called to move my family a thousand miles away to plant a church in a city where I barely knew 2 of my wife's old college roommates.  I was called to do it without asking anyone to join our team and without asking anyone to give money.

I am certainly not an expert in living by faith, but I would say that I've learned a few things by taking some steps of faith like this in my life.  Here are 3 things I've learned and would recommend:

  1. Seek the RIGHT counsel.  If we want to actually get wise counsel, we ought to seek it from those who have and are living with the kind of faith we feel called to live by.  If someone feels like they are called to start an orphanage in a developing country, we would see it as being wise to first talk to people who are actually doing it.  It is no different with steps of faith.  Be cautious of seeking counsel from people who are not living by faith - you cannot expect them to think from the premise you are.  There is a place for balance and differing perspectives, but we must be careful that the love and concern others have for us does not blind their ability to see the bigger picture of the steps we are being called to make.
  2. Be disciplined and self aware.  Walking by faith requires making a lot of intentional decisions.  We naturally take the path of least resistance in life, but God doesn't always work that way.  Just look at what He called the apostle Paul to do.  I learned that I have to be extremely careful to not confuse my motivations of fear for wisdom.  Fear can easily overpower faith under the umbrella of "wisdom."  To differentiate these from one another takes discipline on our parts, a keen sense of self awareness...and counsel from people who have successfully sifted out their fears (as well as the fears of others close to them) so that they can take steps of faith.
  3. Be properly affirmed.  Getting affirmation from peers or people outside of your immediate context is one thing, but affirmation from those that God has currently placed you under is another.  God speaks to us and guides us through those He places over us (1 Peter 5:1-2; Hebrews 13:7, 17), so affirmation in this sphere can be safely seen as confirmation of calling.