Risk: “exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous chance.”
"Unless there is an element of risk in our exploits for God, there is no need for faith." Paul Borthwick.
To be honest, I never have to worry about personal injury or dangers within my Christianity. I am thankful for a country where I can serve and worship my God in the way I feel is Biblical without the need for fear of life. But this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t risk. If I live without risk, where is the need for faith? I must risk, or I cannot claim to be trusting. It’s easy to trust when there’s nothing to fear. It's easy to have faith when there's no danger. It’s when I climb out of the boat that I must have faith in spite of risk.
So what is a spiritual risk? First, spiritual risk is always something beyond me. If I can do it on my own, in my power, with my resources and/or talents, then it’s not going to require the help of God. It won’t require me to trust in something or Someone bigger than me. For it to be a true spiritual risk I must have to get outside of my comfort zone, away from the things which calm me, and be willing to step into the storm.
Spiritual risk is also something God tells me to do. Faith for the sake of faith is useless. If I’m just trying to prove that I have faith, it is highly unlikely that I will be able to prove it to myself or anyone else. The purpose of faith is to see God work in and through me. The purpose of fatih is to bring glory to my Heavenly Father. Some have said faith is like going down stairs only seeing the next step. I disagree. That doesn’t require faith. Faith is like going down stairs when you can’t see the next step. You step despite the fact that for all you know, there's nothing to step onto. True faith is not about the step; it’s about the One telling you to take that step. If I am going to take spiritual risks, I must make sure I am following the God who calls me to have faith.
Finally, spiritual risk must come at the potential cost of loss. I step out of the boat knowing that if God doesn’t allow me to walk on water, I will drown. I face the giant knowing that if the LORD of Hosts doesn’t give me His strength and power, I will die.
In my estimation, then, spiritual risk is a God given task or command that I obey blindly, knowing the consequences could be devastating. Knowing that if I put my trust in God instead of something or someone else, I could quite literally lose it all, whatever “all” is to you.
Perhaps some personal examples to follow…