Being Overcautious


Have you ever been accused of being overcautious?

Some of you have, I'm sure, but others of you, likely, are more of the "daredevil" type. You throw caution to the wind and continue on just for the thrill of trying something "dangerous".

I'd like to say that in this world, there is a distinct place for both.

In the physical realm, most of us would do better if we were a bit more cautious. After all, the world is not what it used to be. You can't leave your car doors unlocked anymore. You have to be careful letting your kids walk to the corner store. You need to worry about what friends they are playing with. You have to lock the doors of your homes. You constantly need to check out every situation.

By the same token, many of us need to be more "daredevilish". For example, some become so focussed on the dangers of life that they never allow themselves to live. After all, when you look at everything as potentially dangerous, you will never do anything at all. Friends, we do need to be cautious, but at the same time, we also need to trust God to protect us so that we can enjoy the beautiful things in life.

It isn't any different in the Spiritual realm. Some Christians are of the "overcautious" type. God tries to speak, and they rationalize that God doesn't talk to us "in that way" anymore. Or they listen, but they say, "I can't be sure that was God!" Then they ask several other people to pray about it, and they proceed to pray about it, continuously seeking clarification and further direction. Meanwhile, the opportunity simply slips away. Or, perhaps even worse, they consider what God has said, and then they look to the circumstances and put their trust in circumstance instead of in the Almighty God.

Others are a bit more "daredevilish". They don't wait to see if it is God leading them or not, they simply react on whatever their feelings are telling them at the moment.

Again I say, we do need to be cautious. We do need to make sure we are listening to God's voice, and not the voice of the devil trying to lead us astray. But by the same token, we also need to be daredevils. When it is God speaking, we need to go ahead with it, no matter what circumstances tell us, always trusting Him to bring us through.

If you look back through history, you learn about people who did have the right balance of cautiousness and daredevilishness. Paul would be one good example. But you also see many examples of people who didn't. Like the children of Israel. They watched God miraculously deliver them from Egypt, they witnessed miracle upon miracle of food and water, freedom from disease, etc, only to get right up to the border of Canaan and refuse to enter without first scouting ahead to see what faced them:

"See, the LORD your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the LORD, the God of your fathers, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.' 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.' The idea seemed good to me; so I selected twelve of you, one man from each tribe. They left and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshcol and explored it." (Deut. 1:21-24)

Initial reports were very positive: "Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported, 'It is a good land that the LORD our God is giving us.'" (Deut. 1:25)

But despite this, they refused to enter. Why? Because of the report of giants in the land: "But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. You grumbled in your tents and said, 'The LORD hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. Where can we go? Our brothers have made us lose heart. They say, "The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there."'" (Deut. 1:26-28)

Where did the people go wrong?

In asking to spy out the land! After all the miracles they had witnessed first-hand while since Egypt, they still didn't have enough faith that He would keep His promises! They decided to rely on something tangible, something they could physically experience! And as is so often the case when God tells us to take a step out in faith, the circumstantial evidence didn't come in too positive. Instead of trusting God, they chose to trust circumstance.

The result? They wandered in the wilderness until all of the current generation had died. Only then were they allowed to enter in.

But let's not be so hard on Israel. Few Christians would have done differently. God is constantly telling us to do things that circumstantially seem wrong, and instead of relying on Him, we look to the situation. As a result, many of us miss out on the blessings God has in store for us.

Yes, it is important to check out the message you receive. But after you've done that, don't stop to look around for possible outcomes. Don't send in spies to test the waters. If you do, you'll get so caught up in the circumstances that you'll also forget Who is sending you! Instead, take that step out into faith! And in doing so, you will save yourself from having to wander aimlessly through the wilderness of life when your life could have been richly blessed.

Lyn Chaffart , Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org ,with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .

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