Following Christ happens in action, not in belief. It is a life of action; a life of discovery. It is lived completely at rest in something so constant and immovable, and yet it is always moving forward and pushing deeper. However this life is not without risk…on the contrary, it actually demands it.
Following Christ demands action. There is no such thing as following Him without actively doing the things He did. Make no mistake, walking in the identity of Jesus is who you were purposed to be. But walking in His identity in this world will cost you. You will follow Him beyond the realm of comfort and convenience, past the limits of your natural instincts, and even past the limits of what is naturally possible. You will follow Him into sacrifice, tribulation, and persecution.
You see, here’s the thing: Following Jesus is a lifestyle of faith and love. And as I’ve said before, love is always in action–always–as is faith. This action comes with a broad expanse of unknown, and in that unknown is the very real probability of loss and pain.
Suffice to say, faith is risk. Love is risk…Following Jesus is risk. If others offered you a different form of Christianity–one free from unknowns, risks, and sacrifices–then they did you a disservice. Not because they offered you what following Christ isn’t, but because they robbed you of the weight and glory of what it is.
This faith, this love, it is what we were created for. We were purposed, from the beginning, to receive and reveal the greatness of the Father’s glory and love–to know Him and make Him known to others. This purpose is only fulfilled through unity with Jesus Christ. But it is not unity to simply believe the truth of who Jesus is. No, it is unity to take on His mission, His purpose and heart, and then to live it out.
To walk out this heart, to know God and reveal Him to others, requires risk. It is a Kingdom paradox, but the fact remains: there is a knowing of God that only comes in making Him known to others. It comes in risking ourselves by stepping into an unknown to show His love.
I’ve said before that revelation is on the other side of obedience, but I feel there is also a very real Biblical precedent that revelation is on the other side of risk. There is a lifestyle of knowing God that comes through acting on His word. But there is also a needed application of acting on His heart.
Hear me on this: It is good and right to risk ourselves on account of His heart. Because there is an intimacy with the Father that we will never know until we follow Jesus into the unknown…until we meet the edge of what is safe, comfortable and understood, and step past it.
There is something I want you to understand in all of this. The risk and unknown is for your benefit…so that in your unknowing you learn to know His heart, and in your risk you reveal His glory.
Maybe the most profound thing God wants to accomplish in us and through us doesn’t require an altar, a service, a feeling, or even a prophecy. Maybe it just requires a decision…a decision to follow Christ and take a chance on God’s character–to step soberly into the unknown with nothing more than the simple, audacious belief that “this is my Father’s heart.”
“If our single, all-embracing passion is to make much of Christ in life and death, and if the life that magnifies Him most is the life of costly love, then life is risk, and risk is right. To run from it is to waste your life.”
—John Piper (From Risk is Right)