It sounds counter intuitive, but stepping out in faith means ignoring earthly wisdom. Being wise is certainly a good and godly trait (hello PROVERBS), but when God asks for faith, it probably won’t make conventional sense.
Was it wise for Moses to make demands of pharaoh? Joshua to march around Jericho? Gideon to fight with 200 men? David to confront Goliath? Esther to approach the king? The disciples to leave everything and follow? Peter to step out on the water?
No, it wasn’t. It was faith. Faith lead each man and woman to make these extraordinary decisions.
Taken at surface value, you’d say Moses was a murderer returning to the crime scene, Joshua was a superstitious obsessive compulsive lover of marching in circles, Gideon couldn’t do math, David had a death wish, Esther had a death wish, the disciples were stupid, and Peter needed another lesson in physics.
And yet, these biblical characters are widely regarded as heroes of the faith. They trusted wholly on their God and King, no matter how crazy His commands seemed. Sometimes there was a brief protest (Moses and Gideon), while other times there was immediate obedience (Joshua, David, Esther, the disciples, Peter, etc.).
When God asks us to step out in faith, are we willing? Or do we try to apply earthly wisdom and say, “No, God’s not really asking me to do that, it wouldn’t make sense.”
Make no mistake about it, God asks us to do plenty of things that do make sense; love one another, look after orphans and widows, feed and shelter the homeless, etc.
However, He will also ask us to do plenty of things that don’t make sense; taking a lesser paying job to better serve your church or your family, moving to another country to share the gospel, risk losing a close relationship to tell others about Jesus, etc.
When the command comes, what will you do? Step out in faith, or try to wise your way out of it? Let’s look to God’s wisdom from the PROVERBS:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.” – Proverbs 3:5-7
Indeed, it is evil for me to trust in my own wisdom (being wise in my own eyes), as I am no longer fearing or trusting in Him, which is shrub-like behavior (more on that here).
I need to get better at trusting in His wisdom, and not leaning on my own understanding and expectations of outcomes. I am only able to think in earthly context (2 fish and 5 loaves won’t feed 5000+), but His ways are higher than mine, and He does math I’ll never be able to do (more leftovers than what He started with).
While the path may seem winding and crooked to me, its only because I keep turning my head away from the One who is trying to lead me on the straight and narrow path.
Lord, help me acknowledge your sovereign and good wisdom, and lean wholly on you! Help me to step out in faith to whatever you call me to!