The Risk of Faith
September 1, 2006 - The older I get, the less I want to take risks. I clutch the railing as I walk down a flight of stairs. I look both ways—twice—before driving through an intersection.
by Anne Graham Lotz
But a cautious attitude in the spiritual realm can paralyze my faith—or at the least, cause me to procrastinate until obedience becomes a burden and walking by faith slows to a crawl. God has reminded me that He has not given me a “spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power ...” (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV).
Living a life of faith requires taking risks, at least from our perspective, because we can’t physically see what lies ahead, or hear what He’s saying, or know what He’s thinking, or feel what He’s doing. We just have to trust Him as we choose to ...
... Give Up Our Children
Read Exodus 1-2:10
- Describe the dangers that threatened the Levite woman’s son when she placed him in the basket, in Exodus 2:1-3. How did God undertake for her? See Exodus 2:5-9.
- If the Levite woman had not been willing to give up her child, what do you think would have happened to him? See Exodus 1:15-16, 22.
- What dangers also threatened Hannah’s son when she left him at the temple? Compare 1 Samuel 1:24-28 with 2:12, 18, 22. How did God undertake for Hannah? See 1 Samuel 2:21, 3:19-21.
- What danger threatened Hagar’s son in Genesis 21:12-16? How did God undertake for Hagar? See Genesis 21:17-20.
- What danger threatened Abraham’s son in Genesis 22:1-2? How did God undertake for Abraham? See Genesis 22:3-14.
- What dangers threaten your child? What encouragement do you receive from the above examples?
- What encouragement is there for parents in the following verses: Isaiah 40:11, 44:1-3, 54:13; Psalm 100:5?
Read Genesis 6:1-7
- From Genesis 6:1-5, list as many characteristics as you can of the world in Noah’s day, comparing each with our world today. See also Matthew 24:37-39.
- Out of the entire world’s population in Noah’s day, how many people were right with God or even gave Him any serious thought? Give phrases from Genesis 6:1-9.
- How could the world situation have caused Noah to be complacent?
- How many people do you know who have wholehearted love for the Lord and for their neighbor and who are following God in obedient discipleship? How many do you know who are not?
- Describe our current culture. How has it affected your discipleship?
- What do you think was the key to Noah’s remaining faithful to God when everyone else was not? Give a phrase from Genesis 6:8-9.
- What do you think the outcome would have been if Noah had been complacent?
- Put the following commands into your own words, then apply each one to your own life: 1 John 1:5-7, 2:6, 2:15-17; 2 Corinthians 5:16-18.
- How does obedience to these commands help you to avoid complacency?
Read Daniel 3:1-30
- Who was invited to the dedication of the king’s image in Daniel 3:1-3?
- What was the “safe” thing to do, according to Daniel 3:4-16?
- Describe the choice of the three Hebrew men. How hard must it have been for them to make that choice, in light of the choices their peers were making?
- What were the immediate consequences of their choice in Daniel 3:8-13?
- How was the pressure to compromise increased in Daniel 3:14-15 and how did the Hebrews respond? In your own words, write out the king’s challenge in verse 15 and their response in verses 16-18.
- Who is pressuring you to compromise? How have they increased the pressure? What has been your response?
- Did God save the three Hebrews from being thrown into the fire? Describe how they must have felt in Daniel 3:19-24.
- What does God promise when you go through disaster, disease, disappointment and difficulty? Give phrases from the following verses: Psalm 23:4; Isaiah 43:1-2; Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:9; Jeremiah 1:8; Psalm 139:7-12, 17-18; Zephaniah 3:17.
- If the three Hebrews had compromised, what would they have gained? What would they have lost? See Daniel 3:25-30.
- How does Matthew 16:24-26 address this?
Read Matthew 14:22-33
- Why were the disciples in the boat on the lake during a storm? See Matthew 14:22.
- From the following verses, show how it’s possible to be in a “storm,” while at the same time in God’s will:
2 Corinthians 11:23-27; 2 Timothy 3:10-12; 1 Peter 4:16, 19; Revelation 1:9.
- What storm are you in? Do you think it is evidence you are not in God’s will? Or that He is not pleased with you? Or that He doesn’t care about you?
- Describe Peter’s probable comfort level in a boat—storm or not. See Luke 5:1-3, Matthew 4:18, John 21:1-3.
- What opportunity did Peter have in the storm that he wouldn’t have had any other way? See Matthew 14:28-29. Relate this to 1 Peter 1:6-9.
- Tell at least two things Peter had to do in order to take the opportunity.
- Using your imagination, describe how Peter might have felt and what he might have seen initially as he stepped out of the boat.
- Do you think taking this opportunity was easy for Peter?
- What did Peter risk by stepping out of the boat?
- Why do you think the other disciples did not take the same opportunity? What did they miss that Peter obviously received?
- What is your “boat” or your comfort zone?
- Apply John 10:2-4, 11 to your own life.
- If you play it safe, make a list of the things you will gain and the things you will lose.
Will you take the risk of faith, so that at the end of your life, you can say, “I received a hundredfold return on anything I ever gave up. Taking the risk was more than worth it!”