Friday, June 12

Ye of Little Faith

Matthew 14:22-34(NIV)

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,”they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,”he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret.
How many times have we heard this story- or at least an account of this story? I know I've heard it since the time I was in the children's ministry of school; I think I may have even reenacted this scene in a preschool skit or something. I think a problem with these stories is that we can get too comfortable with them. We can skim over this passage and be like 'oh yeah, I remember this. Ye of little faith..yea yea yea' and move on. 
The thing is, God can change this story for you. He can make something connect that didn't the last time you read it; he can bring a new perspective to this lesson; he can totally change your whole thought process in the matter of a moment. This week I've become so aware at how much fear is a stronghold in our lives. Fear is destructive, devastating and crippling. Fear is from Satan and no other. 
There is no fear in love, and God is love, therefore fear = not of God.
I had an urge to read Matthew 14 today and when I did, verse 29-31 jumped off the page. See Peters faith and love- he walked on water! He didn't hesistate when Jesus told him to "come". He didn't say, 'well let me take off my sandals' or 'well the water seems cold today'. He stepped over the side of the boat and WALKED on water. Then in a matter of a moment he lost focus, he looked at his surroundings and he lost it and was consumed by the very thing that Satan himself tries to devour you with every day: F-E-A-R.
Fear. A four letter word that is damning and terrorizing. A feeling that makes grown men cower and children cry. The enemy wants to keep you in that state of fear; and want to know why...because when you're suffocated by fear you won't do anything. You'll become paralyzed by it and suddenly will panic, run, hide, cry, scream, lash out in anger- emotional and physical reactions that take us away from the hand of God reaching out to calm us. Fear. Four letters with incredible results.
Listen to the Bethel song "Brave". It's empowering and exhiliterating
"You make me brave...you call me out beyond the shore into the waves". God calls us not to fear but to have faith- faith in Him. It's so easy to get caught up in fear: fear of the unknown, fear of loss, fear of embarrassment, fear of heights, fear of darkness, fear of death, fear of being alone, fear of failure, fear of flying, fear of public speaking, fear of rejection. But God's hand is extended towards us, He says there is no reason to fear. "Do not fear" is written in the Bible 103 times, it is the most common command the Lord gives us because as humans we are consumed by fear. Reach out to the extended hand of God and commit to face your fear. Bring your fear into the light because Satan can not survive in the light and must only operate in the dark. Expose your fear to Light and the Lord will grab your hand and pull you out of the darkness you've been paralyzed in for so long. 
"Do NOT fear"