Are You Making this Rookie Mistake in Your Walk with God?

“Come on buddy. Just jump.” I said. But I could see the tears begin to well up in his eyes.

A few minutes earlier he had been my fearless son. Now he was quivering and crying.

“I don’t want to. I’m scared.”

We stood on a suspension bridge seventy-five feet above Lake Taneycomo; harnessed, latched, and carabinered. Only an act of the Almighty would have made the zip line unsafe. But as much as I tried to explain, it had no effect. The paralyzing height rendered my words powerless.

K1ng (cc)

“You don’t have to go, but trust me, it will be fun.”
“I don’t want to go.”

How had he gone from ready to take on the world to shaking in his harness?

He hesitated.

He looked down. He realized the potential gravitational energy before him.

How to Stray from God's Will

I love the book of Deuteronomy because of its memoiresque quality. Yes, in a way, it’s a rehash of the the first four books, but you also get some editorial insights you don’t get the first go around.

One such instance is right in the first chapter when Moses recounts the Israelite trek from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea, the southern border of the Promised Land. Upon arrival, Moses gave the following command:

See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deut. 1:21)

But instead of taking up possession of the land, they did something else.

Then all of you came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.” (Deut. 1:22)

Seems like a good idea, right? Moses thought it was (v. 23). They never intended to disobey God, but that’s what ended up happening:

But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. (Num. 13:31-32a)

How did this happen?

The Israelites looked down. They hesitated. They saw the possibility (if it were even a possibility) that they might be defeated when they saw the large men and fortified cities before them.

How to Succeed No Matter What Happens

When walking with God, it’s so easy to fall into this pit. A couple of years ago a sermon challenged me to invite someone to church. Right there in the service, I pictured this man’s face. There was no doubt in my mind who God wanted me to invite. He needed Jesus. And I had Jesus.

So right after church that Sunday I picked up the phone and called him, right?

No, I hesitated. I looked down. Rookie mistake.

It was January, and I was plotting a course to invite him for Easter. Easter! Three months after the fact. But at lunch that week, I felt the Spirit prompting me again. 

This time I jumped.

I picked up the phone. I dialed his number despite my trembling.

Just like the zip line, there was no risk on my part. The worst case scenario? He’d get offended and shout at me or something.

But here’s the bottom line. If God’s called you to do something, and you do it, then you’ve succeeded regardless of the outcome.

I wonder what would have happened if at the command of Moses to take of the land, they would have just done it. There would have been no wandering, and Moses would have been privileged to see it.

But they made the classic mistake of hesitating, of deliberating, and allowed fear to creep in. So when God tells you to do something, don’t make the mistake that I did. Don’t look down; just do it trusting that God will take care of the rest.

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