From the Pastor
Pastor Mike Burns
903.567.2072 (Ext. 3002)
Six Characteristics of Kingdom Risk Taking
Six Characteristics of Kingdom Risk Taking
On Sunday, July 25th, I finished preaching the series, Taking a Kingdom Risk. In this series we learned that Kingdom Risk Taking is a necessary component of true discipleship and is a Kingdom protocol (code of conduct) for following Jesus Christ. Jesus calls us to risk, to obey and step out in faith for His glory and to the fullest potential for the kingdom of God realized. Every great risk in Jesus’ Name begins with confidence in the goodness and trustworthiness of God. That He who calls us to “step out in faith” means to trust the One who supplies us with whatever we need to fulfill plans and purposes in and through us.
Kingdom Risk Taking has 6 Characteristics that helps us recognize and understand what is required in in this endeavor. The first five characteristics I have preached about and they are described on the podcast at our website (wordofvictory.org). Here is a synopsis of the last and sixth characteristic:
- Kingdom Risk Taking Is Rooted in Identity.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Is Calculated.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Is Rooted in Faith, Not Fear.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Invites Uncertainty.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Requires Persistence.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Ensures Growth.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green…
Godly risk taking is different than the risk tied to immediate gratification, which is plentiful in our culture.
- Immediate gratification is often self-serving and short sighted.
- Kingdom Risk Taking is God-driven with long range
The latter can take you some place different, some place better!
Obeying God and stepping out of our comfort zone to trust Him and to walk by faith not only has positive repercussions for us and others around us today, but also for generations to come in the future (see Gen. 26:24).
Because it requires discipline, tempering the uncertainty (characteristic #4) and persistence (characteristic #5)…however, Godly Risk Taking is less common among many Christians.
"You shall seek Me and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13).
"I would like to buy three dollars’ worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk, or a snooze in the sunshine. I want ecstasy, not transformation. I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy three pounds of God, please" (Wilbur Reese).
Recently, I shared with our congregation that one of the most difficult challenges associated with pastoring is not sermon preparation or taxing counseling appointments, but witnessing the tragic results of spiritual dehydration—dying spiritually with living water just a step away.
Sadly, we become so busy, so self-absorbed to drink of the living water that Christ often spoke of. The excuses are broad, the solution is narrow: "But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water that I shall give him will become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life" (John 4:14).
Very few are truly hungry and thirsty for God. Although most of us quote, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled," many have never truly experienced it. Paul said that He wants to know Christ in the power of His resurrection and in the fellowship of His suffering (Phil. 3:10). King David cried out, "One thing I have asked from the Lord, that will I seek after—for me to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to see the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple" (Ps. 27:4).
Hungering and thirsting for God is an all-consuming passion that drives every aspect of life. Ironically, we can have the letter of the law, but not the heart of Christ. We can break down the Bible, but hearts remains as hard as stone. We rule our homes with a rod of iron, but know nothing about compassion, gentleness, and humility. We often come to church to judge others rather than to truly seek God.
There are also those who have replaced conviction with compromise. As I said before, if you find yourself saying, "I'm just not convicted," it may be time for self-evaluation. If one is offended by a call to holiness, it may be a good indication that repentance needs to be sought.
Holiness is a mark of conviction and a surrendered life. Holiness is not an option like a choice in a buffet line. Holiness is the mark of someone who is genuinely filled with the Spirit of God. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).
The lukewarm church disdains the heat of conviction; thus it remains lukewarm. Lukewarm knows nothing of holiness, surrender, and the Spirit-filled life. It may have a form of godliness, but it denies God by its lifestyle (see 2 Tim. 3:5). Charles Spurgeon rightly noted, "There will be three effects of nearness to Jesus—humility, happiness, and holiness."
Why don't many truly seek God?
First, it may be that one is not genuinely saved. They may have "religion" but not a true "relationship" with the living God.
Second, many do not want to seek Him. The excuse is often: "I just don't feel like seeking Him." But we must first discipline ourselves before desire comes. We must first empty ourselves in order to be filled. We must first obey before receiving the blessing. We must first break before there is restoration. We must first pray before there is transformation. We must praise Him before there is peace. And we must first seek Him if we are to truly find Him.
The fire of God, the manifest presence of God, does not fall on an empty altar: "I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship" (Rom. 12:1). Genuine faith is reflected in sincere humility, selfless love, true repentance, and a surrendered life. Does your life reflect these characteristics? Are you truly seeking God? It’s not too late.
On to Victory,
Pastor Mike Burns
Published on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 @ 8:38 AM CDT