By Bear Grylls
Life is so inherently full of risk that if we never train to deal with it we become woefully ill-prepared to deal with life. There is risk in relationships, business, hobbies, and in all our aspirations and hopes. There is risk in living a life of faith. We might face ridicule, persecution, and worse. But risk always has a converse positive side: it is called reward. And the game of life is to balance the two and seek the rewards.
But first will always come the risk.
Risk is like a muscle. The more we use it, the stronger our ability becomes to deal with the fear, judge the dangers, and trust our instinct. The more risks we take, the bigger risks we can manage. We know what we can and can’t do.
If we never want to have an impact on anything or anyone, then we should stay at home, be “safe,” and accept the fact that there will be no ripples emanating from our lives. But if we want to live the fullest version of life possible, we need to become a ninja at dealing with risk.
THE GREAT GUIDE
Surviving in the mountains is all about managing risk and trusting the right people. As a young mountaineer, learning my trade, I encountered some great guides and a few less good ones. I learned so much about the mountains and survival through these experiences.
If we head off with an inexperienced guide, we will fast find ourselves in unnecessary danger and will make little progress. It is risk for the sake of risk rather than for any purpose. And ultimately we are more likely than not to end up in a ditch somewhere and probably injured.
Conversely, when we find a great guide, when we are ready to work hard and commit to trust that person’s decisions (even when they feel frightening), then we will travel far. Yes, there will be risk and danger, but we will be in safe hands and heading in a positive direction. And eventually we will reach that mountaintop, together, uninjured, and the place will take our breath away.
That’s the key with life and with faith. Choose your guide wisely. Christ is the ultimate Guide, and with him all the risks are worthwhile and surmountable.
Wisdom and trust conquer dangers and risk.
This verse below has followed me on many adventures. It was written on a small scrap of paper, tucked away in the top of my pack, when I eventually stood on the summit of Everest at age 23.
Be my safe leader,
be my true mountain guide. . . .
I’ve put my life in your hands.
You won’t drop me,
you’ll never let me down. (Psalm 31:3–5 MSG)
THE GREATEST RISK
It is tempting to want to avoid risk, especially when life feels a little fragile. When all we can see are obstacles around us, it can be tempting to want to reduce risk at every turn and sit tight, immobile. But there will always be danger, often even more so when we do nothing. The greatest danger in life is to risk nothing.
If we are too cautious, we will never achieve anything. “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap” (Ecclesiastes 11:4). We must try our best not to be daunted by obstacles. They are often opportunities in disguise. We must not be put off by wind and clouds.
Adventurers understand this. They know “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” And it’s true when it comes to how we use the resources that God has given us as well:
Be generous: Invest in acts of charity.
Charity yields high returns.
Don’t hoard your goods; spread them around.
Be a blessing to others. This could be your last night. (Ecclesiastes 11:1–2 MSG)
If we’re unsure about taking risks with and for God, just study the Bible. The more we give, the more we get. The more we give, the greater our wisdom grows. We have to keep giving because even if it doesn’t seem to come back to us, it does. It will. It is impossible to sow in the kingdom of God and not to reap a greater harvest.
This is one of the fundamental laws of the universe: you can’t out-give God, and everything we have was always his.
Also read the Bible Gateway Blog post:
The above article is excerpted from Soul Fuel: A Daily Devotional by Bear Grylls. Copyright © 2019 by BVG Global Limited. Published by Zondervan. Used by permission of Zondervan. zondervan.com. Pages 351-352. All rights reserved.
Soul Fuel is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
BIO: Bear Grylls (@BearGrylls) is the author of several books that have sold more than 11 million copies worldwide, including the bestselling Mud, Sweat, and Tears, Soul Fuel, and To My Sons: Lessons for the Wild Adventure Called Life. He starred in National Geographic’s television series Man vs. Wild for seven seasons and currently works on his NBC series, Running Wild with Bear Grylls, where he takes celebrities such as Julianne Hough, Marshawn Lynch, Shaquille O’Neal, and Don Cheadle out into the wilderness. Bear is an adventurer known for many exploits, including crossing the North Atlantic Arctic Ocean in a rubber boat, climbing Mount Everest, and running through a forest fire. He is also a dedicated family man to his wife and three sons.
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