No risk, no faith?
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple wall. He said “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Mathew 4, 4 - 7
"Risk everything, even your life" (!) – It is really a diabolical call! "Nothing will harm you. Because God's angels will catch you down with a jumping sheet."(But: if the angels are not there, then you will have lost!). But Jesus can not be provoked, not even with pious words. The Son of God knows that no one is allowed to challenge God.
The apostle Paul knew this challenger. He writes to the church in Corinth (in 2 Corinthians chapter 11:14): “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light”. The evil likes to appear as a light figure. He seduces people to follow their own desires and dreams rather than God's will. He seduces people to risk head and neck.
God does not want this! It is the individual man, who allows himself to be guided by own desires. In the Letter of James (chapter 1:13 f) we can read : “When tempted, no one should say, `God is tempting me.´ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away and enticed by their own evil desire ”.
Their own selfish desires have already plunged quite a few people into misfortunes. For example somebody had the desire to come out into the limelight, to be something very special. Or there was the belief that God would also absorb financial risks with his soft cushion.
Even Christians have failed against these temptations. I know people whose faith have been shipwrecked due to this. These daredevils were led to undertake stupid things beyond description.
When asked about the highest commandment, Jesus answers (Mathew 22, 37): ”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” We should love God also with our minds. Do we overlook this part too often? We also honor God with our thinking, with our reason.
It is quite different when God encourages me to take steps of faith. I can trust in Jesus words. The Sermon on the Mount (which I would like to look at with you in the coming weeks) is a way of faith. What Jesus Christ says should transform my life. What Jesus says should give my life a new entity. Courageously, I am allowed to go with him step by step.
I may listen to Jesus Christ, pray and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If I'm not sure about specific day by day choices, I should ask experienced Christians and seek their advice as well.
A few questions can help me: Do I feel good about what I plan to do? Do I have a good conscience? Does it build-up another person in what I plan to do? Do I have peace about it deep in me, if I chose this or that step? If I destroy something or someone with my intentions, I cannot expect peace!
If you, dear reader, are faced with the question of whether you should dare a "risky jump": please do not do it! “Take the stairs” first of all or better stay on the ground! Clarify with God first of all and with friends if this is a step of faith that you are allowed to dare. And ask yourself if you really can have peace of mind, if you are about to destroy something, such as relationships and trust.
The Holy Spirit keeps to my limits. He knows what I am able to do and what I cannot do! He adheres to my physical and mental limits. Totally different from the diabolical spirit. He holds to no limits. He is constantly crossing borders, destroying trust and overwhelms with his challenges.
I wish you a blessed week under the guidance of the Holy Spirit!