Is it worth more to risk or receive?
Laying in bed one night, I finished reading a book that has transformed my thinking about what my life should look like in God’s eyes. The book, “Radical” by David Platt has changed my way of thinking into more God focused and less “me” focused. After laying down the book for the night, I meditated on what I had read and pondered on one question. When God looks down upon my life, does He see a risk-taker or a wide-receiver? And no, I’m not talking about a football play, I’m talking about a life plan written by the Master Planner. Is my life one of risks or am I constantly waiting on the receiving end?
As I thought about this question, some stories from the Bible began to come to mind. The story in Daniel Chapter 3 speaks loud and clear. Three men, one fiery furnace and one miraculous sighting. Often we hear this story or were taught this story when we were young but the message behind it is so powerful that it is often overlooked. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were three men who not only knew who God was, but feared Him. These men truly knew what it meant to “follow” God with their whole being. Let me just say that we have reconstructed the term “follow” to mean “cautious careful cowards”. (Just a side note). To follow Christ means to sacrifice, so if following involves not giving up anything, are we really “followers”? But back to the story, the miraculous thing about this story in Daniel is that the three men could have easily turned away when the fire got too hot, but they were so enveloped in God that they chose to follow Him even into the fiery furnace at its hottest. They not only knew God, but knew His faithfulness. They were so fixed on God’s will for their lives that they were willing to step into a blazing furnace for the glory of God.
How often are we faced with a fiery furnace but refuse to step into it for fear of the unknown? How often does the fiery furnace create so much fear in us that we step back into comfort and away from the Comforter? Sometimes I wonder if we as Christians call ourselves Christians just because we see what is to be received.
These were the questions that ran through my head a few nights ago as I put down a text that told a story of Christ followers in India who walked nightly through the dark, down an alley, into an underground room, just to read their Bible? If you want to talk about risks, are we REALLY risking our lives for the Gospel?
When will the Gospel become more about the cross and less about the gift received from the cross? Don’t get me wrong, salvation is the greatest gift given and I am forever grateful for that glorious day, but does receiving that gift have any affect on those around us? Are we risking the life we live for a Gospel that lives in us? There are people around the world risking their lives just to get a glimpse of a page written in the Word of God but yet we go days without even picking it up.
I know that I’ve gone through times in my life where I felt that God left me out of His big and beautiful plan. It seemed as though everyone around me was figuring it out and I had yet to discover where to begin. However, the problem was not that God had abandoned me but that I had abandoned Him. I realized that my prayer time was spent begging Him to bless me how I thought He should. It was then that God whispered, “What are your risking for me?” Wow, talk about a wake up call. Is my life a risk or a waiting room for blessings?
A life lived awaiting a change is a life not lived. The change starts with you and me. The change starts now. Our perspective needs to change from one of the flesh to one of the Spirit. Our God knows our story to “The End” so why not let Him write it? Risks and all! God sometimes brings us to the fiery furnace to burn away the selfish desires we have built up in our hearts.
It is my desire to walk through the fiery furnace with Jesus by my side, just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
Yes, the fire might be blazing and yes you might get burned, but beauty rises out of ashes.
Lord, help burn away the selfish desires in our heart and help us be risk-takers and not wide receivers for You.
Let us burn for You.