Living in Faith not Fear
‘Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said.’ Matthew 14:22-29 (NIV)
Living in a world that is not of God often makes us forget that we are empowered by his strength and love. It can try and steal our attention from the Holy Spirit that is inside of us guiding us, even though that’s something that can never happen. Living in this world and staying in touch in our relationship with God is very hard and that is why it is so imperative that we make sure we are actively pursuing God every day.
If God called you to walk on the water, do you think that you would? Do you think that you would be 100 percent ready to trust God fully, even on treacherous waters?
Today, I want to use this story for us to first self-evaluate, and secondly relate back to. When I read stories like this one in the Bible, I wonder to myself “what would I do?”. Would I react the same as Peter, would I step onto the water in panic, would I trust, or would I refuse the opportunity altogether?
As Christians, we are called to live lives that put all our trust in the Lord– to live in faith not fear– and I cannot begin to tell you how much I want that personally. And I think if you’re being honest with yourself, you probably want that, too.
The only way that we can grow our faith and trust in the Lord is by involving Him in everything that we face and encounter. Just think about it: it only makes sense that the people who are closest to you, you trust the most. You’ve experienced things with them and have created a bond that is strong and dependable. When you choose to actively pursue God in everything, you are choosing to grow closer with Him and put Him first. I can tell you personally that everytime you involve God in your life and you go to Him in prayer, He will never fail to surprise you. His love and presence becomes something that you never want to live without. It satisfies every need and desire.
I’m not saying that the closer you become with the Lord, that all your fears disappear entirely or that it exempts you from failure or rejection. There will still be times when He asks you to walk on water you will jump out of that boat, and still fail, but those experiences help to develop you in faith and confidence in Christ.
Let’s look at Peter’s reaction when Jesus calls him out.
Matthew 17:29-32 (NIV) says ‘Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”’
Peter trusted God when things were all okay and the waters were calm, but when the waters started to rise and the winds came against him, he chose to fear instead of trust Jesus. Peter was functioning through his flesh and not the Spirit of God. So often, we choose to fear even the smallest things instead of reminding ourselves that we have a God that holds the world in His very hands.
So I challenge you today to think about if Jesus were to ask you to walk on the waters towards Him today, no matter the conditions, would you walk or would miss out on a beautiful process to dwell in your fear? I wish that I could say that I would pick faith over fear every day. I can’t say that I would because I know myself. But I also know that each day I am making a constant effort to walk on the waters in joy and with my eyes on Jesus.
Recently, I found a song called “Better Word” by Elevation Worship, and it is all about how the blood of Jesus and his crucifiction covers all our sin and shame. The bridge says “On that cross, hallelujah, I left my shame where the nails were. Jesus Christ, O Lamb of God, be lifted higher forever”. I used to think that the lyrics said “I lift my shame where the nails were,” and let me tell you, that hits me every time. Jesus has nails put through his hands and feet, and carried His cross to Calvary so I do not have to live in fear! So I can be a conqueror through Him!
Each day, I am choosing to lift my shame to where the nails were in my Savior's hands. The Savior that urges me to walk on water in confidence and who love others as He has so gracefully loved me!