Many Christians like to live in a comfort zone; a place of ease, of familiarity and control. It provides a sense of security where there’s no uncertainty of accomplishments or risk of loss or even possibilities of failure. They can count on the same results and never have to suffer through anxiety or worry. It all sounds pretty good, right? Unfortunately, the comfort zone can be quite deceptive. Because, although it presents a picture of peace and tranquility, it also is a place of stagnation and immobility when it comes to the Kingdom of God. There are times we are to step out of our comfort zone in obedience to God’s will for our lives.
It is at these times we can experience anxiety, stress, and fear, because we are not sure of the outcome. We are quick to analyze the situation at hand. Questions arise, “Can I do this?”; “Where are the resources going to come from?”; “Do I have what I need to get the job done?”; “Will I have the support and backing of others?”; “Can I afford to take this risk?” With each question, a deadbolt lock is affixed on our “comfort zone” door, further entrapping and holding us captive from the place God has predestined us to live freely in.
It’s been said that “we fear unwanted results as much as we dread missing out on our dreams!” The fear of failure is all too real in our lives. Who wants to look like a fool or appear to be incompetent? No one! And no one wants to suffer financial difficulty or confront physical danger. But, from God’s perspective, there’s no need to be afraid or be concerned about the outcome of a situation in which He has given instructions.He has control over all things and all things work for the good to accomplish His plan.
In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will ~Ephesians 1:11 (Amplified Bible-AMP)
The role we play in this plan is our obedience to His will. And to many, obedience looks like risk and can be undesirable. Ecclesiastes 10:8 says, “When you work in a quarry, stones might fall and crush you! When you chop wood, there is danger with each stroke of your ax!” (NLT). When we fly in a plane, the plane could crash. When we ride in a car, there’s a chance of an accident. Everywhere we go, we will encounter situations that present chances of a good or bad outcome. These are the risks of life! But, risk is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when it comes to the plan of God in our lives.
The verb form of “risk” means “to take a chance on.” Some related words are challenge, confront, brave, and dare. These are all words that sound like faith to me. So, in actuality, when we take a risk on God to obey His command, it is taking a leap of faith. We are daring to take on courage and confidence to do what is necessary to be obedient to God. Many of us know that “without faith it is impossible to please God” according to Hebrews 11:6. We could also translate it this way, “without risk in God it is impossible to be obedient to God.” So, we must“ dare to be obedient!”
Ananias dared to be obedient to God in that he risked his reputation and life to minister to the newly converted Saul. Through his compliance to the voice of God’s instructions, he played a major role in Saul’s conversion, who later was renamed Paul and wrote more than half of the New Testament. The residual effect is that Ananias’ obedient act set the stage for countless conversions of people’s lives all over the world, including you and me. What an impact as a result of his daring obedience!
And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.~Acts9:10-16(KJV)
Noah built an ark on dry ground to prepare for a flood putting his reputation on the line (Gen. 6). Abraham left his comfort zone when he followed God’s instructions to leave his home town (Gen. 12). Putting his life on the line, Moses led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt. All throughout the Bible, you see men and women of God who took risks too be the Lord. There are several things that we can learn from these encounters with God in helping us to dare to be obedient.
The first thing we can learn from these encounters the saints in the Bible had with God was they heard the voice of God in their ear; therefore, they were able to hearken to His voice. By tuning in to God’s voice you will hear infallible instructions for your life that will lead you to your place of victory. God is always speaking, but are we always listening with intent to do? Our intimacy with the Father, enables us to be close enough to hear what He has to say in the matter. Isaiah30:21says: And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.
Secondly, they reverently trusted God. They were not concerned about the opinions of man and what man could do to them. But, they feared God more than man, realizing He was the one that was able to keep them from falling. And, by focusing on God, they were able to obey Him despite uncertainty, doubt and fear. Proverbs 29:25 (NLT) says, Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.
The third thing we can glean, is that they all ‘accepted the challenge’. They surrendered their lives putting the mental, physical, and spiritual “work” into what was required to accomplish the end results. And, sometimes that involved leaving what was familiar: family, friends, home. They surrendered to the discipline of waiting on the salvation and promises of God while doing their part in obeying God’s command. They realized that the process could take days, months, and sometimes years before they saw their desires accomplished. Nevertheless, they added ‘good works’ to their faith and proved God faithful in victories after victories!