Authored by John Beehner, founder of Wise Counsel, a process for Christian Entrepreneurs and author of the new best seller “The Freedom Revolution...Rocking our World.”

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Freedom in Adventure by Doug Gilmer

An adventure is any experience involving an uncertain outcome and risk. If we take either uncertainty or risk out of the equation we lose adventure. If all we have is risk but we know the outcome then the end result can be avoided, manipulated or enhanced depending upon on how we feel about it. If we don't have risk, which by definition is the probability of losing something of value, the experience is of little worth because no matter how it turns out you haven't exercised your faith and you have allowed no opportunity to learn or grow.

Is it any wonder that our life as Christians is often referred to as a great adventure? Even though we may ultimately know where we are going to spend eternity it is the road that takes us there that is full of the unexpected and unknown and it is a life in which we are called to risk everything. Jesus knew this adventure. He said of Himself in Luke 19:10, For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost" (HCSB). “Seeking” and “saving” are words that imply adventure. In his final charge to His disciples in Acts 1:8, He said, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."  The ends of the earth; literally the “remotest” parts of the earth. If that doesn’t describe an adventure filled faith, than what does?

Unfortunately, many people, many Christians, miss out on this ultimate adventure out of fear of misadventure.  The dictionary says misadventure is an unfortunate incident or mishap, or it can mean an event that “turns out badly”. Regardless of how misadventure is defined one thing is for sure, we don’t usually find it, it finds us. No one goes looking for it.

Making ourselves more secure against misadventure, however, doesn’t eliminate insecurity; in fact it means we actually have less freedom. When we shelter ourselves in an attempt to avoid misadventure we don’t have freedom, we have a prison. We are essentially telling God, “I don’t trust you, I trust me.” When our need to be secure becomes obsessive then security becomes our idol.

If there is one guy in the New Testament that personifies adventure and misadventure better than anyone it is the Apostle Paul. We can learn much from the way he perceived the circumstances in his life. From the time we meet Paul on the Damascus road his life is one big adventure. Paul is blinded, receives his sight, begins to preach, has to escape Damascus Mission Impossible style and then launches out to fulfill the Great Commission mandate. But just because he was handpicked by God doesn’t mean that his adventure was easy. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 Paul says describes his many “misadventures”.  He begins by saying (and I paraphrase),

 I'm talking like a madman-I'm a better one: with far more labors, many more imprisonments, far worse beatings, near death many times. Five times I received 39 lashes from Jews. Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans. Once I was stoned by my enemies. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the open sea. On frequent journeys, I faced dangers from rivers,
dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the open country, dangers on the sea, and dangers among false brothers; labor and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and lacking clothing.

Most people would likely quit than undergo all this misadventure.  In reality, most people would never undertake the adventure if they knew they would face all that Paul did. The cost is just too great; playing it safe would be far more comfortable. Paul did not see all that happened to him as misadventure, however. Instead, he saw it all as part of the bigger adventure God planned for him. He later recounts his ministry and says, “that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20-21).  He definitely saw life with Christ as an adventure to be lived. He was certainly more focused on his perspective than on his circumstances.

Paul understood, and so should we, that no matter what happens or how things turn out, when we live our lives in total obedience and abandon to Him, we always win, that there is really no such thing as misadventure. It is then, and only then, will we be truly free to live out the adventure God has in store for each of us. 

Doug Gilmer is a frequent outdoor writer and serves on the Board of Directors for the Professional Outdoor Media Association. Additionally, he serves as a Professor of Adventure Leadership and Outdoor Ministry at Liberty University. He is a frequent speaker, outdoor ministry consultant, and outdoor adventure leader. For more about Doug you can visit www.BackcountryChaplain, follow him on Twitter @DouglasGilmer, or at


  1. Thanks Doug,
    Great insights and perspectives for all of us.
    He is our security. One of my favorites is..."Consider it all joy when you face trails and troubles"from James.
    I would love to meet you one day.

    Blessings, John Beehner

  2. You have described beautifully the amazing adventure of following Christ. May He greatly bless you as you continue to follow Him.