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Risk: Oversold and Underplayed

Risk: Oversold and Underplayed
Psalm 27:1–14; 1 Corinthians 15:12–34
The fears of the psalmist are not our fears today, and the fact that they aren’t should bother us. The psalmist remarks, “Do not give me over to the desire of my enemies, because false witnesses have arisen against me, and each breathing out violence. Surely I believe that I will see the goodness of Yahweh in the land of the living” (Psa 27:12–13). How many of us have legitimate enemies because of our faith? And how many of us experience violence because of the way we believe?
There are many problems with Christianity today, but one of the most pervasive is the lack of willingness to take major risks for Jesus. Likewise, there is unbelief in God’s incredible ability to overcome all that we face.
We may say that we affirm God’s power to beat all odds, but we don’t face the odds as if that were true. If we did, there would be far more world-changing Christians than there are. Instead, most Christians, at least in the Western world, are quite comfortable with a faith that generally allows for them to live a life of comfort rather than a life of being stretched for God’s causes. And when I use “them,” I mean that as “we.” We struggle with this, as a people and as individuals.
I think our fear of taking risks for Jesus is directly connected to our lack of knowledge about what to do when they come along. The psalmist tells us, “Wait for Yahweh. Be strong and let your heart show strength, and wait for Yahweh” (Psa 27:14). Notice that the psalmist tells us to wait for Yahweh twice. Only something of grand importance would a poet state twice. Strength is found in Yahweh, and that strength should be shown in how we live.
Paul also affirms the strength that God offers, but he focuses on the strength demonstrated in Christ’s resurrection: “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20). Resurrection makes persecution and risking everything for God all the more profound and appropriate (1 Cor 15:12–34). If Christ was willing to die, we must be willing to do anything in response.
How can you take more risks for God? What are you waiting on, and how are you praying about that?
John D. Barry

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