Step Off the Boat
Joshua 1:9, "Remember that I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.”
I'm not afraid to admit the fear I have of getting lost, and the unknown has always been a thing that holds me back from fully embracing new adventures without everything planned or in place.
As a child my dad loved taking us to the mountains and then asked us if we could get home from there. Even when I was lost or turned around, I trusted him to always get us home safely. My husband drives everywhere in our state so I can also feel the security, that even if I'm lost or turned around, he can get us home safely. That doesn't mean I don't feel any apprehension of the unknown.
The other thing my hubby likes to do, out of the blue is say, “Let’s just get in the car and go do something or go somewhere.” (Well wait, where, what if I don't like it, what do we need with us?) I'm lucky to have a husband who is patient with my apprehensions to simply venture out without a plan. I will say, as I get older it is getting easier, but I still don't like taking steps into the unknown.
There are a couple of stories in the Bible I want to talk about when it comes to trusting God to lead us safely, even when He says, “Let’s go on an adventure.”
Let's begin in Genesis with Abram before he became Abraham. Abraham 's home was in Ur and the people living there were falling more and more into sinfulness and losing sight of God. Abram and his wife Sarai we're still faithful to God and God knew if they stayed in Ur, they would face too many temptations. So, one day God tells Abram to pack up his family, the entirety of sheep, goats, servants, and nephew Lot along with Sarai and move. God did not say move to the next county or move to a specific state. He just said pack up and go.
Could you just pack up and go into the unknown of uncertainties? I'm not sure I could. I'm sure Abram was a bit concerned too and had to fully rely on his trust in God that all would work out. Abram had to step off the boat in order for God to work in his life. If you read the story in Genesis 12 you will see God's promise to bless Abram and that he would be prosperous, and because Abram did as God asked, those promises came true.
The second story is a well-known one. After feeding the 5,000 Jesus sent His disciples out onto the lake while He tarried behind to pray. A great storm overtook the sea, and the boat begins to toss the disciples about. Out of nowhere Jesus appears walking on the water. When the disciples realize it’s Jesus, Peter asked to join Jesus on the water amongst the raging waves. Jesus tells him to step off the boat. At first Peter does but soon the waves crashing around him filled him with fear and he took his eyes off Jesus. As Peter began to sink, he calls out to Jesus for help and Jesus reaches out to save him. Once safely on the boat, Jesus chastises Peter of his lack of faith and then with one phrase, ‘Peace be still’, the raging waters cease, and all is calm again on the lake.
Peter wasn't a man afraid of adventures so when the opportunity came to join Jesus on the water, he was ready and willing. In that moment Jesus was saying, “Go ahead, step off the boat and trust me. Let's have this adventure.” The problems began when Peter took his eyes off Jesus and let his fears take over. The stormy waves, leaving the safety of the boat? Could he really do this and not fail?
Here's what I learned when it came to taking chances when Jesus calls us:
Peace Is Not Found in The Absence of The Storm, but in The Presence of Jesus
When Jesus bid Peter to come to Him He didn’t calm the storm. Rather, He invited Peter out into the storm, into the rough seas. We think peace is found when the waves of life are calm. But Jesus never promised us smooth sailing. Instead, He promised to always be with us. Peace is found in the presence of Jesus, even in the middle of a storm. Peter’s walk on the water teaches us that in the middle of storms we can have peace IF we keep our eyes on Jesus. The storms of life give us good reason to be afraid, but Jesus is bigger than even the scariest of storms.
Faith Requires Stepping Out of The Boat
We like comfort. We like safety, and that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes Jesus is going to ask you to take a risk and trust Him. Sometimes, you have to step out of the boat.
Just like the apostle Peter, sometimes we will step out of the boat and then be overcome by fear. We will sink, but Jesus is right there to catch us. We might stumble, but we won’t drown.
My guess, the next time Peter “stepped out of the boat” he did so more confidently. His faith and trust in Jesus was greater. The same will be true for you. The more steps of faith you take the easier it gets. Once you see God’s faithfulness it’s easy to trust Him more and more. So, step out of the boat!
Without Jesus You Will Sink
Peter’s walk on the water was short lived. It was short lived because he took his eyes off Jesus. Peter learned an important lesson that day that we shouldn’t ignore. When we take our eyes off Jesus the storms of life will quickly overcome us.
As Christians we will sink if we stop looking to Jesus. We can get sucked into temptations or get overwhelmed by life. We forget who’s in control.
Life is full of storms. Big storms. Storms that will destroy. Unless you keep your eyes on Jesus. With Jesus you cannot only endure, you can walk on water above the storm. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
When You Follow Jesus, He Will Do Incredible Things Through You
I’m convinced God wants to tell an incredible story through your life. He wants to do things in you and through you that you can’t even imagine. God has walked on water moments for you. God wants to tell a good story in your life. Unfortunately, we often settle for boring and safe stories. I bet Peter was talking about the time he walked on water for the rest of his life. It’s a great story! God wants the same for you. He wants to tell a good story in your life. Will you let him?
As we grow in Jesus our faith will grow but we will still face moments of fear and doubt. It's in those times we have to cling more tightly to Jesus and faith and know He will work things out.
Do I still have fears, absolutely! However, the more I step off the boat, the surer the ground becomes because I'm trusting Jesus has this. Do I still dislike driving with no plan? Yes, I do. But I'm able to relax more because I've learned it's usually going to be fun.
There will be a time Jesus calls us all to go into the unknown and we may be completely in the dark as to what's ahead. Other times He will lead with an entirely open plan for us to see. Our job is to trust Him, keep our eyes fixed on Him, and take the first step. The adventure will be worth it and the blessings great. Fears and all, let's all step off the boat and let God lead.
God has asked us to spend time with Him in prayer and Bible study. We know this is the best way to get to know God and to learn what He is teaching us or showing us. But sometimes people see this as such an overwhelming tasks. But I am here to share with you a small tip to help you when you look at the Bible. It's not about spending hours and hours reading and finding no time to sit down to do that. It's actually really simple, read a little every day!
Getting God’s Word into your life doesn’t have to take long. Start small—five or 10 minutes is better than none. Sometimes less is more, especially when reading less means you’ll actually remember more. Let's continue doing just that. Let's continue our study with 1 John 5:11-21
Study 8, 1 John 5:11-21- https://www.docdroid.net/B4demKS/study-8-docx
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