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Why You Need to Take a Risk on God

When you think of someone who’s a “risk-taker,” do you put yourself on that list? Too many of us don’t because that word conjures up images of jumping out of airplanes. But author Alli Patterson redefines risk as the essential practice at the heart of real faith. She encourages us to expand our view of risk, and embrace the idea that the security, trust and certainty in God that we all desire is actually sitting on the other side of risks, large and small. Alli’s biblical wisdom and challenging encouragement to move, reminded me that the faith of a follower of Christ is dead without the willingness to move at his Word. It’s a grace to welcome Alli to the farm’s table today… 

Guest Post by Alli Patterson

One day at my boss’s request, I walked into her office and sat down. I had given my two weeks’ notice a few days before that. I was leaving my career to pursue what I thought was a God-given opportunity.

My boss slid a paper across the desk and said, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” I glanced down and saw a curved graph on the paper in front of me. Based on my current level, pay, and performance rating, it showed my projected salary and bonus structure over the coming five years. She wanted me to see in black and white what I was walking away from. I listened to her tell me about all the money that was about to come my way and promised to consider things one last time. I walked out feeling the weight of this risk and thinking, Of course I don’t know what I’m doing.

Risk isn’t a personality trait; it’s a skill you can learn, strengthen, and grow.

I had never thought of myself as a risk-taker. Unfortunately, that self-assessment is pretty common—especially among women—but it’s wrong.

Risk isn’t a personality trait; it’s a skill you can learn, strengthen, and grow. And you must. Risk is an essential part of living out the three rhythms of coming to Jesus, hearing his Word, and putting it into practice.

If you are trying to come, hear, and practice, then it’s going to lead you straight into a risk. Warm up to it.

Taking risks is critical for a strong foundation. 

You’ve probably had more experience than you think. You need a robust view of risk if you’re going to live a robust life of faith.

The word ‘risk’ conjures up images of skiing black diamond slopes but goes way beyond physical feats. It can be the willingness to start a conversation with a stranger, to try to break a long-standing habit, to give away money, or to share something vulnerable with your spouse. It might even be taking your time and energy to design a breast-pump accessory from your experience nursing five kids that you weren’t sure you could get manufactured. (My brilliant friend actually did that.) Come to think of it, having five children is yet another kind of risk!

You take risks all the time—the trick is to get really good at identifying the risks that God is putting in front of you. The risks you take on God himself are the ones that will turn your foundation to rock. Your spiritual life will live or die based on your ability to see and take risks on God.

Most of us are working with an underdeveloped view of risk, and it’s keeping us on shifting ground.

Whatever your risks are, I promise you this: God is going to prove himself faithful.

Wherever your foundation is weak is a place you haven’t gotten good at either seeing or taking risks on God. Risk is the path on which you move toward rock. It’s the way you get to the well-built life you want. Like so many things in God’s kingdom, the way to a strong foundation is the opposite of what you might imagine at first glance.

When I was in my boss’s office that day, her question “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” was like a whisper in my ear telling me the lie that if I had any doubt, then it couldn’t be right, that it couldn’t be God.

Rock isn’t formed under your life by holding tightly to things that feel safe. Rock forms for a strong, secure foundation when we walk willingly, at his invitation, into a risk to follow Jesus. I’m not talking about cliff-jumping or a Vegas roulette–type risk, but rather the ones that emerge as you live out these three rhythms of faith: come, hear, and practice. These three rhythms work together in a repetitive cycle that produces opportunity after opportunity to take risks on God.

Jesus loves any size risk you take because it’s the faith he wants to see.

Your faith in action looks like your willingness to risk something on God. Your faith expands a lot every time you say yes. Your foundation gets a little firmer every time you say yes. With each risk, you gather the evidence God is there, he is gracious, and he’s true to his Word. As you begin to come, hear, and practice, God loves even the tiniest risk.

As with anyone else in your life, you need time and experiences with Jesus to get to know and trust him. Maybe your risk is to trust that the pattern you’re seeing in your life is truly God instead of blowing it off as coincidence. Maybe you need to take a risk to simply rearrange your schedule and give God the first hour of the day to pray and read the Bible. Trust me—I know that time is precious. My risks are often about being willing to be interrupted with my time and say yes to caring for people when it seems like my tasks won’t get done.

Whatever your risks are, I promise you this: God is going to prove himself faithful. Give him the chance to show you. He is good enough to show patience with your doubt and do something huge in your life with the smallest speck of real faith, as Jesus said in Matthew 17:20: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

Some risks are tiny. Some are huge.

Jesus loves any size risk you take because it’s the faith he wants to see. He is inviting you to come and see that anytime you stand on him, you end up standing in the end.

Say yes. Whatever it is, do it.

Alli Patterson is an author and Bible teacher currently serving as a teaching pastor at Crossroads Church. A graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Alli is passionate about helping others connect with God through his living and written Word so they can walk in the strength and power of God’s wisdom. She lives with her husband, Bill, four kids and a bratty calico cat in Cincinnati, OH. Alli is a fan of Mexican food, Ohio State football, geeky Bible maps and timelines, pedicures, long runs and good books.

Trouble in this life may be inevitable but collapse is not. Live each day strong, hopeful and connected to Jesus. How to Stay Standing is the modern Christian’s manual for developing an unyielding faith and a life that stands firm no matter what comes at you next.

Based on words from Jesus himself in the parable of the wise and foolish builders, Alli Patterson extracts and explores the 3 essential practices for your faith every day that will dig down and put your feet on a foundation of rock so that your next season is all about How to Stay Standing.

[ Our humble thanks to Revell for their partnership in today’s devotional. ]

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