Even the weakest among us can participate in sports, but only the strongest can survive as spectators. According to a heart specialist, when you become a spectator rather than a participant, the wrong things go up and the wrong things come down. Body weight, blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, and triglycerides go up. Vital capacity, oxygen consumption, flexibility, stamina, and strength go down.

Being an onlooker in the arena of Christian living is also risky. The wrong things go up, and the wrong things come down. Criticism, discouragement, disillusionment, and boredom go up. Sensitivity to sin and the needs of others, and receptivity to the Word of God go down. Sure, there’s a certain amount of thrill and excitement in hearing someone’s testimony about how God has worked. But it’s nothing like knowing that joy yourself. There’s no substitute for piling up your own experiences of faith, and using your own God-given abilities in behalf of others.

If we’re to be maturing and growing stronger as followers of Jesus Christ, we need to venture out in faith—and that’s risky. But remember, it’s a far greater risk to be only a spectator.