Topic Verse: Matthew 14:25-29 NIV
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.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
The disciples were out fishing one night when a huge storm struck. About 3 AM (in the fourth watch), they were terrified by a figure approaching them on the water. Immediately, Jesus spoke, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Peter answered, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” So Jesus said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water—to Jesus.
If the Lord does not call you to do it, do not!
There is a story about a man standing at the gates of heaven. Peter says, “Name one great deed you have done.” The man replies, “Well, a gang of bikers was threatening a woman so I smacked them, kicked over their bikes and ripped out their nose rings.” Peter asks, “When did this happen?” The man answers, “About thirty seconds ago!” Just a funny story, eh?
But to walk on water, you must learn to discern between God’s voice and your own impulses.
To experience miracles, you must get out of your comfort zone.
Exchange places with Peter. The storm is raging and he is afraid. The boat is secure and comfortable. Wouldn’t you want to stay there? But you can’t. God designed you to do more than simply avoid failure. He is calling you to step out in faith and accomplish things. You might say, “What’s my boat?” It could be anything you put your faith in when life gets stormy—like a job, your family, or a relationship.
Your boat is anything that stops you from getting out of your comfort zone. Leaving it is the scariest, but most rewarding step you will ever take.
When Peter was certain it was Jesus who was calling him, he left the security of the boat and entrusted himself to the power of God—so far, so good. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30)
You must focus on the Lord, not the storm.
We all know what it is like to see the waves. You begin a new venture—a new project, getting into a new school, meeting new people, or maybe even a new relationship, ministry, or an area of spiritual growth—full of hope. Then you encounter storms and setbacks. Expect it. It is part of the journey of faith! Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
You must feel the fear and do it regardless.
Growth requires taking on new challenges. Each time you do, you will experience fear, because growth and fear goes together. But each time you risk leaving the boat it means you are more likely to do it again. And each time you step out on the water without drowning, you realize that fear no longer has the power over you. On the other hand, each time you resist God’s voice and choose to stay in the boat, His voice become a little quieter until eventually you don’t hear it at all. Wouldn’t it be worth any risk to avoid that?
Furthermore, staying in the boat doesn’t guarantee your safety; it only guarantees you will eventually die from something else. The answer to fear is to get out of the boat a little more each day, until fear loses its hold on you.
TO FAIL OR NOT TO FAIL
Peter discovered what we all discover in our walk with God: just because you sink doesn’t mean you are sunk.
Failing does not make you a failure, quitting does.
Failure is just a part of learning.
“I’ll defeat you yet. You’re as big as you’re going to get, but I’m still growing!”
—Sir Edmund Hilary, on his attempts to scale Mount Everest
“I’ve never failed at anything in my life. I was simply given another opportunity to get it right.”
The real failures were the ones who stayed in the boat.
They failed quietly and privately. Their failure went unnoticed and un-criticized. Although Peter crashed and burned publicly, he experienced the euphoria of walking on the water. He alone knew how it felt to be empowered by God to do what he could never have done by himself.
Once you have walked on water, you are never the same. Peter would take this moment to his grave! He also experienced the joy of being lifted by Jesus in a moment of despair. Peter knew, in a way others could not, that if he sank, Jesus would be there to save him. He shared a moment, a connection, a trust the others did not. How could they, when they never left the boat?
Failure does not come from sinking. It comes from letting your fears stop you. So what’s stopping you now?