Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

27. Cultivating Christ Like Character, Faith – Part 7

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Matthew 14:22-33

22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. 24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning[a] Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” 27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” 28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” 29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong[c] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. 31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,”Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” 32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

Not only did Peter call out and step out but third:

  1. He cried out. `

Because Peter went from walking on the water to being wiped out by the water, from dependence to drowning. Peter starts to sink because he chose to focus on the storm instead of the Savior. But before we get too hard on poor Peter let’s remember that at least he got out of the boat. Why do we point our fingers at Peter, because by nature we focus on the failure and not the faith. We have quickly become a critical culture instead of a compassionate one. Trading empathy for apathy.  Peter takes it on the chin here because we are failure focused people instead of faith focused people. Quick to share our judgment and slow to share Jesus. There are a lot of preachers who are quick to point their finger at Peter while they hide behind the safety of their pulpits. Look it’s easy to point out Peters failures and lack of faith but have we confronting our own fears? Why do we focus on the failure of others? Because while everyone is focused on their failure they won’t see my fears. It’s easy to be critical of other Christians but are we critiquing our own attitudes and actions? It’s easy to call the plays from the comfort of the sidelines but what will we do when we are in the chaos of the storm? The truth is we have all been Peters who falter and fall and rather than criticize each other we need to come alongside and encourage each other. We don’t need more fans in the stands but followers coming alongside those struggling in the storm. Verse 30 reveals the reason that he sank, because he took his eyes off of Jesus and started to focus on the junk. Instead of listening to Jesus Words he looked to the wind and the waves. Fear pushed out his faith. The only way that Peter was able to walk on the water was because of His faith in the faithfulness of Jesus. Once he took his focus off of the One who was faithful his faith faltered, and he started to sink. The same is true of us, either we will focus on the Savior and follow by faith or we will focus on the storm and fall. If you are focused on the chaos instead of Christ, you going to capsize.  The wall builders did a similar thing in Nehemiah 4:10. They had started the rebuilding project full of faith and then they allowed their eyes to focus on the rubble. They became rubble-gazers instead of God-gazers. Instead of listening to the Lord they listened to the lies of the enemy which lead them to become fear focused instead of Father focused. The opposition that they faced came from both the outside and also from within and was designed to create doubt and discouragement. Discouragement can be deadly because it causes us to spend our energy on worrying instead of worship. We also face the battle on both fronts, fears from within and from without. The I’m not good enough fears on the inside and the garbage on the outside. Not only did worry take their focus away from building the wall but also from the One they worshiped. The devil wants to distract and discourage, he wants us to focus on the problems instead of the praise. To get so wrapped up in the problems that we miss Christ’s presence and peace. Like them we can focus on the junk or on Jesus. What are you focused on today? Are you focused on your circumstances or Christ? Look there will always be waves and rocks. The real issue is are you going to put your faith in the faithful One who made the mountains and the water? Don’t focus on the chaos focus on the Creator. If you want to put your problems into perspective start focusing on the Savior, your storms won’t shrink they will just seem small in light of how big He is. It’s what David discovered when he faced Goliath. While everyone else was focused on how big Goliath the giant was, David was focused on how big his God is. Are you focusing on the giants or on God? On your problems or His power?



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