Early on in my walk with God I confused faith with risk. I thought they were nearly synonymous.

Thus the greater the risk, the greater the amount of faith I thought I was exercising. That led me to go way out onto some dangerous limbs in the presumption that God would rescue me—as long as I’d crawled out there in faith and my goal was to bring him glory.

But that was goofy thinking. It led to some terrible decisions. And it caused me to blame God for things that had nothing to do with his lack of protection—and everything to do with my own stupidity and presumption.

The greater the risk, the greater the amount of faith I thought I was exercising. I wish I’d known that faith is primarily about obedience, not risk.

Faith is simply trusting God enough to do what he says, no matter what the consequences. It starts with his clear and unequivocal leading (either through the Bible, the Spirit, or godly counsel). It doesn’t start with an off-the-wall idea I think God might want me to do. That could be God, or it could be last night’s pizza.

Faith is manifested when I know God wants me to do something, and I do it. It might be risky. It might be mundane. And if God hasn’t spoken explicitly, it’s not a step of faith to launch out. If he hasn’t spoken explicitly, it’s time to move slowly, use my brain, measure twice and cut once. Because going out on a limb God hasn’t told me to go out onto is not faith—it’s credulity.

Faith doesn’t start with an off-the-wall idea I think God might want me to do.