Are you scared? Would you admit it if you were? Are you sure you would even realize it if you were scared? This may not be a topic you enjoy discussing, but I think it is one that we all need to face head on from time to time. We need to assess our current circumstances and determine whether or not we are living out our calling with our fullest intensity.
Let me start by sharing a quote that has recently impacted me. This quote is the impetus of the thoughts I want to share with you.
The frontiers of the kingdom of God were never advanced by men and women of caution.
– J. Oswald Sanders
What are your first thoughts when you read this quote? If you are like me, one of your first thoughts was whether or not you are a man or woman of caution. When I first saw these words from Sanders, I WANTED to be one who advances the kingdom of God. I did NOT want to be a man of caution.
Self Examination is Key
Unfortunately, as I look around at my circumstances today, I am frustrated to see too much caution. I see too many areas where I am comfortable and not pushing the limits around me. I do not like this picture and I want to change it!
What do you see when you look around? Do you see areas in your life where you are solidly set in your comfort zone? Do you see opportunities around you that may put fear or hesitation in your heart? Are you “safe” from most threats and do you feel good about that?
Look to the Bible
What do we find when we look at the Bible? As we consider example after example of men and women from Scripture, do we see the same caution or do we see fearlessness? What do you see in Moses? What about Gideon, Zechariah, Paul, Timothy, or Peter?
In each of the above examples, there was hesitation and doubt…even fear. In each case, the individual showed evidence of caution as they faced the calling God was placing on them. It is good to know that we are not alone in our weakness!
Here is another example, this one from the life of Jeremiah:
But I protested, “Oh no, Lord, God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth.”
The truth is this…we are all going to experience fear or doubt when faced with what God is calling us to do. No one is immune to these feelings. Though some respond in ways that appear strong or fearless, they are still experiencing a form of fear. Most likely, they have learned how to cope with it in a way that allows them to appear fearless.
It is my belief that Christians should learn to recognize this fear. We are not to ignore it, but neither are we to succumb to it. While caution is advisable in certain situations, as a guide for living out your calling it is limiting.
Truths About Caution
Instead, we must put caution to the side and live out our calling. We must do this with our families. We must do it with our businesses. We must live out God’s calling on our lives in EVERY area of our lives. We are to advance the kingdom, regardless of the fears we face.
First of all, we should do this because we are not the first to be called. As I mentioned above, there are MANY examples in the Bible of people just like you and me who carried out the calling of God on their lives. They all did this despite the fear they experienced. They threw caution to the wind and trusted in God. We should be willing to do the same.
We can do this because God has promised to be with us always AND to finish His work through us (Philippians 1:6)! The examples above knew that God was with them and therefore they were able to overcome their fears and move forward. We can know this very same truth. Just as God was faithful to them, He will be faithful to us. He always makes good on His promises.
Finally, we should do this because He has promised us a reward that is beyond our imagination! Paul mentioned a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Peter described an inheritance that is “imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4). As I said before, God is faithful to make good on His promises.
I encourage you to take some time to look around and assess your current circumstances. Pray that God will open your eyes to any areas where you are exercising caution and limiting your calling. Ask yourself some of the following tough questions and wrestle with the answers. God is ready to advance His kingdom in amazing ways – through you!
What would I do if I were brave?
Why am I holding back and not taking more risk in my faith?
What root fears are causing me to use caution instead of trusting God?
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