Sometimes you have to throw caution to the winds and just step out in faith. That was a topic of conversation the other day between a successful young church planter in Toronto and myself.
One of the enemy’s cleverest tricks is to keep our focus on what we can achieve by our own efforts.
I was taught a lot about faith as a young leader. The example of several men I personally knew who had taken extraordinary steps of faith in their walk with God took hold of me and challenged me to the core.
We can do a lot by our own efforts, but the kingdom will only really move ahead when we start doing what can only be accomplished by divine intervention.
I don’t know why it is that we will gladly spend days going to seminars and reading how-to books, but only when we are driven to desperation do we cry out to God to do what no seminar or book can ever teach us.
My friend and I were also discussing a massive scholarly book on how to understand the Bible. It was full of good solid teaching. It lacked one thing. In its thousand pages, it contained only two pages discussing the role of the Holy Spirit.
We can and ought to study the Bible carefully, but without the help of the Spirit, we will never get it right.
In the very same way, we can undertake all sorts of ministries, outreaches and discipleship programs, but if they are based on nothing more than what we can do in our own strength without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, they will have very limited results.
It can be scary to step out in faith. I was terrified the night I first got up to preach in an open-air service before a large crowd, and only did it because my pastor told me to. I was terrified when I felt the Lord was calling me to start a church. I was terrified when I felt the church needed to be launched into a supernatural dependency on the Holy Spirit, and we started to ask God for things he alone could do.
It’s good to be terrified if it’s an expression of dependency on God. Your desperation will get you further than your best rational strategizing.
Please understand me. I am not calling for ignorance or stupidity, or to do things which are difficult just for the sake of it. I am not calling for us to throw care and good planning out the window. What I am saying is that first comes the step of faith, and then, once we have the results only God can give, we put our strategies to work so we don’t lose what we’ve been given.
Feel a failure in faith? John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard movement, prayed personally for a thousand people to be healed over the space of about a year, before one person actually was. People left the church in droves. But when he had the breakthrough, God opened doors for him to equip thousands of people all over the world. His book on healing is thoughtful and thoroughly Biblical, and still worth reading forty years after it was written.
Why don’t you take a step of faith by asking God to stretch you by putting yourself in a position where you are dependent on him to act? And then just see what he does!
It may be terrifying, but the results are always worth it.