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 are already late to work, and traffic comes to a dead stop.
The stock market drops another 500 points.
You suspect your son is experimenting with drugs.
In situations like these, it’s normal to feel anxious. Anxiety, or worry, is an emotional response to a thought or circumstance that we perceive as negative.
The Greek word translated as “worried” in Matthew 6:25 means “distracted.” It refers to uncertainty about the future. For many people, worry is a way of life. If that describes you, I encourage you to read again the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. His command is clear:
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? (Matt. 6:25-26)
You may say, “But I can’t help feeling anxious; I have always been a worrier!” I’ve heard that from many people through the years. My response is, “Oh yes, you can.”
Contrary to what some people think, worry is not some trait that is inseparable from our nature. Rather, anxiety occurs because of the way we respond to a problem or troubling situation. You can select what to think about (2 Cor. 10:5), and you can decide how to respond to a circumstance. Your ability to choose is part of God’s gift of free will to every human being.
No circumstance automatically causes long-term anxiety. It isn’t the Father’s purpose for you to be controlled by worry. The Lord may allow an unpleasant situation in your life to develop stronger faith, stimulate spiritual growth, or change a bad habit or negative attitude, but He does not set you up to feel anxious. God is always at work to bring you to a place where you will increasingly trust and obey Him and receive more of His blessings.
Concern differs from anxiety
We must be careful not to confuse concern with anxiety. It is normal for a Christian to care. This attitude motivates us to intercede and to take godly actions toward meeting the needs of others or ourselves. We are to be concerned, for example, about our families, our health, and our performance at work. That is, we want to do tasks well so that God receives glory from our lives.
Some concern, furthermore, is rooted in responsibility. As Christians, we are to fulfill God’s commandments in our daily lives. In other words, we should live in an honest and moral manner—paying our bills, telling the truth, giving a full day’s effort for a full day’s wage, and so forth.
We also express this attitude in relation to the people under our protection. If, for example, a child is injured, her parent has a genuine right and responsibility to be concerned about whether the ankle is sprained or broken. Concern will lead to taking action and seeking medical advice.
And, what if you were to lose your job? You’d naturally and justifiably be somewhat preoccupied with how to find a new one so you could provide for your family. A concern rooted in care or obedience is not the same as anxiety. But, to fall apart emotionally, become paralyzed with fear, or allow thoughts of bankruptcy, homelessness, and a bleak future to overtake your mind - absolutely not! That’s anxiety.
Concern is positive: it is forward-looking and constructive.
Anxiety is the opposite: it is counterproductive, stuck in the past, and negative. Another way of saying this is concern motivates us to take action; anxiety paralyzes us.
Concern may be marked with tears, expressions of sorrow or sympathy, thoughtful reflection, or quiet time for meditation. In the end, concern leads us to make decisions. Appropriate thinking in such cases might sound like this: I choose to trust in God. I want to seek His purpose and plan in this. I’ll take the action He leads me to take.
Anxiety, on the other hand, tends to be marked by hand-wringing, uncontrollable crying, deeply furrowed brows, slumped shoulders, sleepless nights, nervous twitches, and endless pacing. Worry is a treadmill that tends to keep a person in a state of fear and negativity.
The choice is yours
We are all human, so occasionally, we will be blind-sided by unsettling incidents or discoveries. At such times, it is normal to react emotionally, but God’s children should not remain in that condition for long. Instead of falling into a downward spiral of anxiety over difficult circumstances, a healthier response is to pray something like this: “Heavenly Father, I bring my problem to You. The situation is beyond my control and influence, and I feel helpless, but You have the power to change circumstances. I know that You love me perfectly, and whatever You have planned for me is for my good. Show me how to respond, and I will obey You. I look forward to seeing the way you choose to express your love, wisdom, and power.”
Friend, this is the way of peace. The road out of anxiety…let it go!
On to Victory,
Published on Thursday, October 30, 2014 @ 2:13 PM CDT