In trial law, there is something called “Risk-Benefit Analysis.” This analysis weighs the risk of a decision to determine if the risk is worth taking. Lawyers will weigh risk vs. benefit, for example, of having their client testify at a trial. The analysis is an attempt to find the path of least resistance and lessen legal jeopardy for a defendant. That form of analysis is not limited to courts of law.
Always living behind the requirements of a risk-benefit analysis has destroyed the faith of some. There are times when we are called to risk it all and there appears to be no benefit in taking a particular step of faith. These choices are not always popular or well-received by those trapped in a mindset of compliance to the dictates of the surrounding culture or the possibility of being ostracized by fellow believers. At the heart of this issue is the fear of rejection. Being rejected by people becomes a greater motivating factor than fear of rejecting the instructions of God.
Things that stand between us and immediate and unfiltered obedience to God are not innocuous or just another exercise of our free will. They cause us to play the odds. Whenever we play the odds in matters of faith, we set our lives on a losing path.
Historic heroes of faith never play the odds. Their circumstances were always stacked against them. Yes, they may have struggled initially when God asked them to take an unpopular step of faith, especially when their friends and faith associates were resolved to never say or do anything to offend. When compliance to an accepted social norm or the fear of offense becomes the stance of the Church in culture it opens a door for all kinds of evil to emerge.
When we risk obedience to God, He will always prove Himself faithful. That is the benefit of taking an uncomfortable step of faith. It moves us forward into new territory where we will receive benefits never imagined when we lived in fear and failed to take a risky step of obedience.