Last month, in the article “Obtaining Hope”, I shared with you what it meant to obtain hope, and when we place our expectations in God for He is the One who will sustain us. Yet, too often, we find ourselves wrestling with God. Instead of trusting God to work out all the details within our lives, we try to manipulate and control situations thinking we are more capable than God to tend to our own needs. In the end, our own abilities lead us down a path that eventually robs us of life. How often do we lose sleep over circumstances that are beyond our control? How many of you deal with headaches due to the stress within your lives? What about your joy? How often do we allow the joy that God intended to be stripped from within us? What about your peace? Why do we forgo God’s peace and allow our hearts and minds to be consumed with fear, anxiety and worry? Doesn’t this sound exactly where Satan would want us? John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
A heart and mind that is discontented, overwhelmed, filled with fear, doubt and anxiety is a heart and mind that is being destroyed. Each of these things robs from us the abundant life that Christ Jesus so freely gave to us.
This month, we are going to reinforce the importance of obtaining hope in God but we must also have faith in Him. Faith is trusting God and holding true to His promises. Faith believes in God no matter how overwhelming the situation may present itself to be. Faith places hope in the One who is able, even when we are not able to see the outcome. Bottom line, faith equals risk. Risk is knowing Whom you have believed and will be the One to work out the details for your good and to His glory.
Peter took a risk. Matthew 14:25-30 “During the fourth watch of the night 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. 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!”
Peter had faith. Peter’s confidence rested not in his own abilities, but in Jesus who was Lord over all things.
Gleaning from the Scriptures, let’s see what the Lord would like for us know. First, notice Peter’s faith was rooted on what he was focused on. Peter wasn’t looking at his circumstances. His eyes were steadfast upon Jesus. This too needs to be our focus. Our eyes need to be steadfast upon Jesus no matter what we might be experiencing. Why? When our eyes on Who is in charge, our confidence and hope rises in His ability to help us through.
Secondly, Peter responded to Jesus’ instruction. Jesus commanded Peter and the disciples to take courage and not to be afraid. Peter was choosing to embrace the spoken word of God. It’s the same with you and me. When God speaks to you and me over our circumstance, we will have a choice to make. We can either believe God at His Word or not.
However, when we see Peter choose to respond to Jesus’ spoken word, we see something very miraculous occur. The faith journey of Peter expounds when he made the decision to respond to Jesus. How did Peter respond? Some believe it was Peter’s first steps of walking on water. I like to differ. I believe before Peter could ever make the choice to take those steps, he had to settle within his being who Jesus was and His abilities to see him through. I believe the first steps that Peter took were the manifestation of what had occurred deep within his core. Peter made the choice to believe Jesus and in doing so he had an encounter with Jesus like no other. Something transpired in those moments, when weakness turns into confidence, and when fear turns into trust. Peter’s faith took root in the depths of his heart. His faith about God moved from a mind of knowledge to a deep revelation within his heart.
Dear one, it is the same with us. Our faith journey with God is that He longs for us to receive His direction, but He also desires for us to act upon and respond to Him and His Word allowing it to take root within our hearts. It’s in those defining moments that you realize within your heart just how big your God is.
In closing, we are going to look a James 2.22. This scripture not only addresses Abraham’s faith, but also the action of Abraham when God directed him to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” What did Abraham choose to do? He chose do to do the same as Peter. Abraham chose to not only believe God, but also to trust God to work out all the details even though he did not understand. Abraham’s faith was made complete because he not only received the Word from God, but also responded to it by walking in obedience. Our faith too will be made complete when our actions are accompanied by our belief in God and His promises’ over our circumstances.
So what situation is God asking you to relinquish over all control and surrender to Him? What areas within your life are robbing you of your joy and peace? Could it be that you are in your fourth watch of the night and are about to obtain a miraculous encounter? May I suggest, perhaps where you thought your faith rested in God is about to take a turn. Could it be that He is waiting patiently for you to receive His truths and believe in Him? Could this be the moment when a deep encounter will occur within your heart – forever changing your perception of just who God is? Dear one, just when you think you believe big, believe higher, because our understanding of who He is, is only the beginning of Great He is. Yes, He is that Great, Awesome and Magnificent!