Are you taking a risk or making a sacrifice?

If the hustle and bustle of the holiday season did not succeed in stealing your joy or frying your brain, January will try as well. As women expected to always be on top of our game, January can be a time of crushing pressure. If we did not find the perfect way to start the perfect New Year and are not checking off all of our life’s goals finally this year, it is all too easy to walk in a continual cloud of defeat. Instead of living in this new life God describes, we choose the same old stumbling blocks over and over again.

Yet God continuously commands us to choose brave. He does not tell us to choose what path we want for the year; He commands us to be brave enough to choose His path with every step of our lives. Because God knows the incredible future He holds for us, He does not apologize for commanding us to follow Him.

God is certain that if we surrender to Him, we will be blessed. But are we certain? 

When you choose brave, are you taking a risk or making a sacrifice?

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1

God is asking us to recognize His mercy – to know how He led those before us by reading His Word, and to live in a church community to see Him still at work. And then, only after we see His merciful nature, He asks us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, not as wagers.

A risk, by’s definition, is exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazardous or dangerous chance.

A sacrifice is the surrender of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

Jesus’ last words before He took on the immeasurable weight of the world’s sins were not, “Wish me luck,” they were, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) God is truth, not a gamble. Jesus did not take a risk on the cross, he made a sacrifice.

Jesus did not hang on the cross in fear of danger, wishing things would work out in our favor. He surrendered to God’s plan knowing the truth of God’s grace and certain of His favor.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

The world wants us to believe God is a gamble, not a guard. It wants us to believe the pay day of laying down our wants and feelings and desires will be doused with destruction, not dripping in deliverance. It wants us to believe we must overcome on our own, forsaking the One who has already overcome.

The world wants us to reject our Creator’s plans and live in a state of unrest, chaos, and desperation. When we do not know who we are and whose we are, we are easy to manipulate, easy to control, and easy to take advantage of. Social media and movies and fashion can tempt us away from the greatness of God within us, leaving us grasping at molds we were not meant to fill.

Social media can tell us we are not worthy of love, nor unable to rest in security until we lose thirty pounds. Movies can lure us away from our wonderful husbands in search of imaginary ones. Fashion can trap us into thinking our finances, backgrounds, families, or our homes disqualify us from a life filled with joy. Yet God tells us we are His masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)

For by the grace given me, I say to every one of you; Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3

God does not ration out bits of luck according to our level of risk. God covers our surrender in grace. Risk is not faith, sacrifice is.

When we recognize we did not bring the world into existence, the waves into the waters, or the ways of truth, grace, and mercy into the world, we see God did and still does. The confidence in knowing He is King and we are His kingdom will lower our pride to bow and our bodies to surrender.

When the world asks you to choose brave this year, to stand firm in your faith, will you take a risk or make a sacrifice?

When your body needs you to give up a crutch, will you fling it away or forfeit it to God?

When your mind echoes you are not enough, will you wish for more or will you find everything in Him?

When your soul cries out for help, will you play your cards or lay under the shade of His wings?

Because we are beloved, we can choose brave.

Because God knows the incredible future He holds for us, He does not apologize for guiding us. So let us stop apologizing for following Him. My prayer for us this year is to replace the world’s WHAT IF for God’s WHAT IS. And my hope is we sacrifice what tastes good, looks good, and feels good, for sake of what IS good. This is how we worship Him.

All for His glory,

Amanda loves everything Texas and everything Jesus. She reads and writes and gardens as a wife of a firefighter and a mother of two precious girls. She knows life is empty without God and is forever grateful for people who lead her to the Lord.

Amanda is one of those extroverted introverts who learned to place God’s armor over the heart on her sleeve. Her desire is for women all over the world to know God adores them so they can return to, and remain in, their intended identity- His treasured possession.

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Amanda Cunningham

Amanda Cunningham

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