Recently I received a “tickler” for a new book that is being release by authors Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch. The title is The Faith of Leap: Embracing a Theology of Risk, Adventure & Courage.
Now I would not consider myself a risk-taker. In fact I am much more cautious, and even tentative when it comes to stepping out in faith. But this intrigued me, especially since I’m currently leading a group of friends through the study of Abraham, in The Magnificant Obsession, by Anne Graham Lotz.
The following is an excerpt for The Faith of Leap… I trust that it will encourage you, especially if the Lord is calling you to step out in faith.
“When Abram was called out of Ur with these words of commission— The Lord had said to Abram,
“Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” (Gen. 12:1–2)
He responded in an act of obedience that quite literally altered the course of history. This was surely one of the most momentous and decisive moments in the history of world redemption. But it was not an act taken dispassionately, for it must have involved significant risk and enormous amounts of courage to pull off. In fact, Abram was being called by a deity, who at that point in his experience must have been to him a Great Mystery. And he was called to step out on an uncertain journey into a great unknown.
This took a leap of faith to be sure, but it is also a near perfect example of what we call the faith of leap. All the elements explored in this book—risk, adventure, courage, and the implications for church, discipleship, mission, and the self—are in some seminal way contained, as well as demonstrated, in Abraham’s courageous response to God.
Think of it this way: Abram’s somewhat “unbalanced” action put him (as well as his rather large household) at serious risk. At the very least, it dislocated him from his land, severed him from the familiar comfort of kith and kin, and resulted in a dangerous, lifelong journey that involved what can only be called open-ended adventure and discovery. It was a truly existential act. It was a leap of faith to be sure, but it also led to a life of faithfulness that has set the parameters of how we as God’s people ought to understand what it is to live a life pleasing to God.
The result is that we all now take our cue from Abraham. Paul even says it is the Abrahamic type of faith that is required to access the promises of God in the first place. It is precisely this type of risk-embracing, adventure-engaging, courageous faith in God that justifies. Without it we cannot even be saved, let alone live the Christian life (see, for example, Rom. 4; Gal. 3). It is not superfluous to the Christian life; we are saved by faith, but we are also called to continue living by the same faith (Rom. 1:16–17; Eph. 2:8–10).
When Abraham acted in response to God’s command, and stayed the course in the open-ended adventure that followed, he gave us faith’s archetypal human expression. It is called “faithfulness” in the Scriptures themselves, and it forms the basis of what the Bible understands as true heroism—it is for good reason that Abram was later renamed Abraham, the father of the faithful. Abraham’s type of faith (the faith of leap) sets the standard for subsequent acts of biblical heroism.