Faith in the Jesus Christ of the Bible is a dangerous thing. I say dangerous, because it is an active thing that changes us, moves us, challenges us, motivates us, compels us, and that seeks to remove from us all reliance and dependencies on the material things that comfort us most. This is so that we might throw ourselves at the Living Savior Jesus Christ and say, “take all of me.” That’s what sincere faith should do, and if it doesn’t, the question should really be, “Is my faith sincere?” Do you hear that? Faith in Jesus Christ is a dangerous thing.
Dangerous faith is a contagious and attractive thing. Paul says to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:4b-5 (ESV), “I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, ” Paul gives one of his reasonings to see his “beloved child” (see v2) so that he might “be filled with joy.” What is the reasoning for this joy? Timothy had a sincere faith.
Don’t waste your sincere faith. That is Paul’s warning. He continues stating to Timothy, “ For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (vv6-7).
Scripture also tells us that faith without works is dead. This is when faith’s flame that goes un-fanned looks like. Faith in God is dangerous. Why? Because He not only might, but He WILL call you to do something - and let me tell you - it will be outside of your comfort zone. It does require movement: it requires faith. It requires, “God you’re asking too much of me,” and God is saying, “That’s why I ask it, so you’ll rely on me!”
If you partake in that dangerous faith, if you say, “Well played, God, I’m all in,” that faith is contagious. I know it’s scary. This might mean pulling up roots from where you’re at and moving. This may mean disrupting relationships. This might mean switching vocations. This might be leaving everything to follow God.
Leave fear where it’s at, because God has not given that to us. I’m a worrier and I think I’ve learned to deal with my worry and fear through passiveness. It’s a sin that I need to repent of. Instead of talk with people about my big plans, I fear rejection. I fear disagreement. I fear people responding negatively to my big plans and ideas and so instead of sharing them, I internalize them into a state of constant conviction. This too, leads to fear because I’m not repenting. I’m saying, “God you might be calling me in this direction, but the cost is too high. That faith is too dangerous. That faith is too risky.” God’s not given us this.
Rather, He’s given us power, love, and self-control. His Spirit is power! It’s big! It’s dangerous! It’s God in us! Let us remember too, it’s God-centered, God-glorifying, God-sourced power that glorifies God! It’s not power for power’s sake, it’s not power like superman, it’s power to build God’s kingdom. It’s a power that’s used in love. When your faith activates you to service, it will be a service of love for God and love for people. Finally, dangerous faith will be honed in, molded, shaped, and made most effective by spiritual leadership and discernment so that it might be truly powerful and forceful, executed with love, and executed under sound judgment, under self-control.
There is a harvest to be had for God’s Kingdom in Vermont. So you might say you have faith? Is it a sincere, dangerous faith?
Kevin Davis is pastor of a small rural church in another Gospel-parched part of the continent, the Pacific Northwest. He is humbly blessed by his wife Christy, his son Calvin, and their two dogs Rocket and Tess, and his gracious congregation.