Some Christian singles don’t like to do “this” based on their personalities… they are cautious and intentional about their futures and all the decisions that shape them. They barely have room for spontaneity and this other, additional factor, if at all. At times their faith may freeze as they avoid the inevitable, ignore a possible prompting of God’s Spirit, or refuse to relinquish unrealistic dreams and expectations.
Other of Christ’s singles are very much into “this;” by personality and a devil-may-care attitude, they love to jump at the chance to move and shake things up. Sometimes they make poor decisions based on being able to create another opportunity to be chaotic and irresponsible. They’ll let others take up the slack and pick up the pieces of their natural consequences as they continue plowing through life causing more consequences and problems.
What is “this”? I’m talking about taking risks.
I don’t mean do you love to bungee jump, go on blind dates, or risk a secure financial investment for a riskier, potentially higher-yielding one.
I’m talking about taking risks in everyday life.
Who loves taking risks? I don’t all the time. And I must admit it used to be easier for me earlier in life.
When I decided to finish my undergraduate education by moving out of state many years ago, it was an exciting adventure. I was enthralled with the climate and the palm trees and the beaches of my new habitat for months. Now it’s difficult to consider moving out of state, though I’m certain I will eventually have to.
Christian single, listen up: Taking risks is a necessary part of our Christian walk.
The demonstration of this necessary Christlike quality does not depend on age, personality, or marital status.
“How can risk-taking be ‘Christlike’?” some of you may ask.
First, let’s look at definitions of risk and risk-taking. According to Merriam-Webster, here is the Simple Definition of risk:
: to put (something) in a situation in which it could be lost, damaged, etc.
: to do something that could result in (something bad or unpleasant)
: to do (something that may have harmful or bad results)
And here is the Definition of risk-taking:
: the act or fact of doing something that involves danger or risk in order to achieve a goal <Starting a business always involves some risk-taking.>
Taking risks always involve the potential of damage, loss, or danger.
Taking risks are usually frightening at some level because if it wasn’t risky, if it didn’t feel like danger, it wouldn’t be scary.
Load up what 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, and that just makes everything scarier: “for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]” (AMP).
But wait, taking risks is not that scary all the time. In a day and age when people are lurking in hidden pockets of our communities looking to create opportunities for pain or manmade disasters (think: shooting sprees and car bombs), most of us are not even paying attention to our surroundings when we go shopping at the mall, dropping our kids or grandkids off at school, or waiting to board an airplane.
We go out to eat without expecting to get sick or poisoned. We go to bed at night expecting to wake up the next day.
So… our willingness to take risks must be dependent on something else.
How about making our willingness to take risks be dependent on the love, character, and example of Jesus?
He took risks.
When Jesus went through Samaria to get to Galilee instead of going around Samaria, like most Jews of His day did because they despised the half-breed Samaritans so much, He risked being labeled a non-conformist, troublemaker, “Samaritan-lover,”or worse (John 4:3-42).
Jesus went a mega party hosted in His honor by Matthew Levi, who was hated and considered a traitor because he worked for the JIRS (Jewish IRS). These tax collectors bought franchises from the Roman government and got to keep anything they collected over and above the required taxes, so they got rich off the backs of their countrymen. Jesus risked being misunderstood and vilified. He risked His reputation with the religious leaders He was supposed to be trying to impress by hanging out with tax collectors, sinners, and other undesirable people (Luke 5:27-31).
Jesus risked becoming ceremonially and medically unclean and alienated from the rest of the populace whenever He would heal people by touching them. Lepers, people with blood diseases, and dead people were at the top of the “No-No-Touchy” list. Yet whenever He healed people, He didn’t become unclean; they became whole and healed (Matthew 8:1-3; Luke 8:43-48; Luke 8:52-56).
These risks are considerable from a human perspective. Yet Jesus confidently Went. There.
How and why could He take those risks?
–Jesus knew Whose He was. He belonged to His Heavenly Father and remained under His authority. He knew nothing could happen to Him outside of God’s perfect sovereign will and timing (John 14:10, 19:8-11).
–He did not care about His reputation or other taboos or traditions that did not have a Biblical basis (Mark 7:2-13).
–He did not even care about the consequences of disobeying social customs or rejecting peer pressure and fear tactics (Luke 13:31-32, Hebrews 12:2).
–He didn’t just run off arbitrarily making His own decisions and doing whatever seemed convenient or righteous at the time. He said He did and said everything at the direction and guidance of His heavenly Father (John 5:19, 6:38, 8:28-29, 12:49).
Risk-taking is apparently not just a personality or irresponsibility issue.
Risk-taking was free of the fear of immediate consequences.
Risk-taking was not based on wishful thinking or self-centeredness or capricious altruism.
Risk-taking created a benefit for others. A benefit for us. A benefit for “them” (whoever “they” might be for you).
So… every risk that Jesus took was actually a calculated risk. But He did take them.
How about you? Based on how Jesus took risks, and since He is our lifestyle and attitude model, we could learn a few lessons about how to take wise but full-on risks.
–If you’re the type who loves to take risks for the thrill of it and let the consequences fall on others wherever, whatever, it’s time to start risk-taking Jesus’ way. Don’t get/stay addicted to the adrenaline rush of taking-risks. Take risks with the wisdom, direction, and power of the Holy Spirit. Remember you belong to the Lord. You need to stay under His authority. And you are solely responsible for your own behavior and decisions, but you need to stop being careless and dumping your responsibilities on others.
Example: Don’t be a romance addict and try to date a bunch of people, use them, and move on to the next victim. Become obedient, intentional, and Christ-honoring about dating and marrying.
–Become allergic to people-pleasing and image management. Become more concerned about what the Lord sees in your heart than what others see on the outside.
If you’re the type of person who rarely or never takes risks, ask God’s help in understanding why. Then start seeking to please Him by obeying Him in those risky areas.
Example: You say you want to get married, but you’re unwilling to leave the four walls of your church to risk visiting other church, church singles groups, or Christian singles groups in the community. Cut loose and consider doing just that! Check the Internet for Christian singles activities in other areas, even perhaps in other parts of the country. You might not get your “ring by spring,”but at least you’ll have some cool new friends to fellowship and serve with! Besides, you never know if you might end up marrying their best friend.
— Forget about your reputation and social customs/taboos/traditions and be willing to cross cultural, educational, economic, racial, and age boundaries. Jesus wants to use you to extend His love, grace, and gospel to others.
Example: Go out of your way to outreach and love someone nearby who looks very different from yourself and your monochromatic friends. Even better: If you have never been on a missions trip outside your area where you have to travel at least one hour to get there, it’s the learning experience of a lifetime. We don’t need to pray about going on a missions trip when He already told us to go and tell (Matthew 28:18-20). Go. Don’t go as a tourist seeking glory. Go as a humble servant following Jesus’ example.
–If you are not used to praying about nearly every desire, doubt, and decision, start today. Ask Him to train you to move toward and pray about what you see Him doing. Then start obeying Him in “the little areas” and see what He does next!
Example: If you meet someone who seems to captivate your attention, and you would like to date them, don’t just jump the gun and plot how you are going to get them down the aisle. Pray about dating them. Read and meditate on scripture. Seek wise counsel from godly people who care about you. And start getting to know them, not as a conquest, but as a person.
In other words, let your risk-taking become a walk by faith, not by sight. Or lust. Or disobedience. Or rebellion. Or selfishness. Or pride.
Let Him train you how to take the risks He wants you to take, based on His character and love for you. You might have fewer consequences and better outcomes for your risks!
I just prayed for you, that your faith will not fail. I’ll see you next time.
Merriam-Webster definition of the word risk. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/risk accessed 11/5/16
Merriam-Webster definition of the term risk-taking. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/risk-taking accessed 11/5/16