John and Bethany Arndt

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The biggest risk of FAITH

*this is written in sequence to the blog below: Are You Looking for Ways to Please God?

When contemplating stepping out in faith, a lot of threats come to mind. But I know for me the biggest one has been the big D word: DISAPPOINTMENT. “What about that time I was expecting this from God and it appeared He did not come through?”

Yes, disappointment, which can result in what’s worse, distrust, is always one of of the greatest risks of stepping out in faith. It’s natural to hesitate in FAITH for this reason. It’s a self preservation mechanism that kicks in, ” if I don’t expect much than I won’t experience hurt and disappointment.”

First of all, there is always going to be this risk, among others. Otherwise it wouldnt be faith. The weight of the risk is the “x factor” that glorifies God. When we choose faith in the midst of the risks we are saying He is worthy enough for me to pay these costs if I am wrong. It’s like Shadrech, Meshach, and Abendego in the book of Daniel. They were required to bow to the idol and were threatened with death by fiery furnace if they did not. There response is the epitome of faith, they said, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17, 18 NIV). Of course this courageous act of faith not only preserved them from being burnt in the flames, it had an exponential impact on God being glorified. The king who mandated that they worship the idol declared that their God was mighty and acceptable to worship, he also promoted the three guys to prestigious positions in the government. The intent and bi-product of faith is God receiving significant glory and us receiving a reward.

Disappointment most often comes from expecting from God what is not in His plan or expecting a different timeframe for Him to accomplish something. There is a key to confidently aligning your faith to the will of God though. This means we can expect from Him what He would love to give and will give, versus arbitrarily asking God for desires that have not come from Him, which He is not obligated to provide. This key can protect you from the ” D” word, which often doesn’t get discussed when we talk about faith.

In John 15 Jesus teaches his followers (including us) how to ensure that we get what we pray for..

Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will
live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being
vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in
Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and
I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital
union with Me] you can do nothing. If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the
fire, and they are burned. If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words
remain in you and continue to live in your hearts,what whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine. I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me]. If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love. I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and
gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing. (John 15:4-11 AMP)

Did you see it? The key is remaining in a vital and intimate relationship with Jesus. When we are deeply connected, His desires become ours, and that’s why He can say, ” Ask me what ever you want, and I will give it to you.” When our life abides in the vine, our desires are morphed into desiring what He wants. It’s just like in a healthy, intimate marriage, often both spouses end up wanting the same things for their lives together. The husband doesn’t have to convince and get the wife to protect, nurture, and provide for their children; they both want this for their children. Obviously desires can differ in the context of marriage but the Godly picture of marriage through looking at Jesus and His relationship to the Father, is that the wife and husband’s number 1 joy is fulfilling the desires of the other. As it is with the Father and His bride (us) His desire is to satisfy our desires and when we are close to Him and obeying Him, these become one in the same. That’s why he says, ‘pray for whatever you like, and I will do it.”

But How do you know if you are adequately abiding in Him? He touches on this too, ” If you continue to OBEY my instructions, you will abide in My love..” Jesus’ primary instructions are easily summed up for us elsewhere..” Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as your self..” If we are doing this, we are obeying. If we are obeying, we are abiding.. Because the command we are to obey, is actually relational. The command is to LOVE HIM.

Stepping out in faith does not have to be a guessing game but with practice it can become something you feel quite confident about. Because we OBEY, we ABIDE, and therefore we can ask confidently. When we are abiding and obeying, what we want Him to do is what He wants to do… So we initiate a request, we ask, we WAIT, we expect, often there is a season where it looks like the opposite of what we are expecting is happening. But this process all the while a stepping platform to a life that is continually increasing in experiencing His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven; a life that partners with the Holy Spirit to channel His presence and intervention for those around us.

As we progress in our abiding, the objectives of our faith become less and less what we want for him to do for us, and more and more what we long for Him to do in us, in others, in nations, and on the earth. But He loves to start with our personal desires.

There are more factors that can help influence aligning our faith with His will; this includes seeking specific confirmation through His word to affirm that He will do what we ask. For instance,  asking Him for a word or scripture that confirms our pursuit. In fact this is the best and easiest way to bolster faith, especially when circumstance is opposite of what we are expecting. We can also reference the character of God through Jesus, as revealed through the scriptures, in order to blow on our faith for certain things. i.e. ” It is not His will that any man should perish but rather be reconciled to Him.” This helps us confidently ask and expect the salvation of specific people.

NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. (Hebrews 11:1 AMP)

“Anyone can get happy after the miracle has come. Show me someone who celebrates before the answer, and I’ll show you someone who is about to experience the answer. This is the nature of faith—it looks ahead and lives accordingly.” -Hosting the Presence, by Bill Johnson.

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