DISCIPLES CHOOSE DEATH!
“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 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. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
If we want to do something great for God and make our lives count, we will first need to lose our life so that we can keep it. These words are echoed in the teaching of Christ and it simply means that we must die to self so that Christ may be manifested through us. This is an extremely important notion, as natural thinking does not work in the realm of the spirit. God is looking for people of faith that are willing to believe Him. The scripture says “I am ready to perform my word” (Jeremiah 1:12).
This scripture connotes that God is ready to perform His Word, if someone is willing to believe Him. I believe God is attracted to extraordinary faith.
The Bible records the following story: “The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter, First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” (Mark 7:26-29).
In this portion of scripture the Syrian Phoenician lady makes Jesus do something that was outside His direct orders or assignment. It is clear in His answer to her.
Nevertheless, Jesus is moved by her unwavering faith and she gets what she come for – healing for her daughter.
In most cases it is easier to sit in the comfort of your boat than to risk the waves and the wind. Most people will only dream of what could have been. In most cases doubt, fear and unbelief were the dominating factors in keeping a person occupied. It is true that in many situations the risk can be high, but I have never seen God not answering a prayer or lifestyle of faith. Peter was the only one who had enough faith to actually get out of the boat. As long as Peter stayed in the boat, the more he would have subjected himself to the perception and reasoning of his fellow brothers. Twelve men were in the boat, only one gets out on the Word of the Lord – COME!
The call COME is universal to anyone who is willing to listen. God is still calling His sons and daughters back into communion with Him.
Peter’s focus on the Lord and obedience to the command “COME” made him climb out of the boat. I personally think Peter was a great leader; he was bold enough to act, unwise enough to think it over, strong enough in believing God. Peter kept on walking on water as long as his perception stayed intact. But when he lost his focus on Jesus, or in other words, when he started to focus on the waves, his faith gave way to fear, resulting in him sinking. Jesus poses him a question as they enter the boat “why did you doubt?”
If we draw a parallel to our lives today, there are many winds and waves we fight on a daily basis. However, these should never deter us from the plan of God for our lives. I am convinced that if we take God at His Word, we will actually see Him perform it.
Many of you reading this may fall into the category of what could have been, BUT the dream is still possible if you believe God today. Peter’s step of faith wasn’t easy and when you get ready to do something bold for God, know it won’t be easy. But when you break through the realms of the impossible, you will see truth in action.
Other Biblical Examples of Unusual Faith
Noah, for example, lived on the earth at a time when there was absolutely no rain. None!
Since the day God created the earth, it had not rained, nor had there been any floods. Yet the time came when God came to Noah, telling him that it was going to rain and that He was going to destroy the wicked with a flood. Noah, at that moment, did the unusual. In obedience to God, he and his sons began building the ark, even as the wicked mocked and ridiculed them. A normal response would have been to ignore God’s command, since rain had not been seen since creation. But Noah did the unusual and, as a result, brought salvation to his household.
David is another example. When facing Goliath, he did the unexpected. The giant had defied the army of Israel. Thousands of men stood in fear of Goliath. None knew what to do; that is the usual response. But David came, obeying the Lord, never doubting for one moment that God would give him the victory. He defeated Goliath because he was willing to do the unusual.
What about Mary, the mother of our Lord? She was told by the angel Gabriel that she would become the mother of the Son of God. The usual response would have been not to believe. The usual would have been to worry about what Joseph would think. What would the neighbours think? What would they do to her? By law, they would have had to stone her. But she did the unusual; she believed God.
What about the apostles who did the unusual in disobeying the rulers of Israel? After the Day of Pentecost, as they began preaching the Gospel, they were commanded by the authorities not to preach in the name of Jesus. Preaching in His name would have meant prison, would have meant persecution and maybe even death. But the apostles did the unusual and obeyed God instead.
God is calling us to do the unusual and it will take courage! Stepping out and doing the unusual for God will take some courage. A courageous person does what God wants him to do — regardless of the consequences. As a nation, we need more courage. As individuals we need more courage. In our families, we need more courage. And as a Church, we need more courage! Christ came with a message of courage and faith. He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
When God called us to repentance He asked us, through His Word, to first sit down and count the cost, just like the builder of a tower, to see if we had “sufficient to finish it” (Luke 14:28). Notice — He didn’t ask whether we had enough to start the job, but to finish it. All along the path, we were told, that we would have to face trials and problems. Both repenting of our sins and believing in the Gospel require courage. Any change in life, especially conversion, requires courage. That’s why we need the power of God’s Holy Spirit to live a Christian life.
To believe in the Kingdom of God in a world that rejects God requires faith. But faith without courage is not faith. Just like Abraham, we must be fully convinced that God is able to do what He has promised, and we must act accordingly. Then our faith will be reckoned to us as righteousness (Romans 4:21-22). The prophets of old were men of courage. When God told Joshua to begin the battle to enter the Promised Land, He commanded, “Be strong and of a good courage” (Joshua 1:6).
The apostles were also men of courage, particularly after they received God’s Holy Spirit. It wasn’t easy for them to preach the Gospel amidst continuous threats and persecutions. They had to choose between obeying God and obeying man — between entering the large gate and the narrow one. They were told by the authorities, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us” (Acts 5:2b.) The answer Peter and the other apostles gave was one of faith and courage: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
As Christians we cannot go with the flow, we must be different. We must be heavenly-driven with a Kingdom mandate. Now is the time to be courageous and say yes to the plan of God over our lives. It is never too late to start, no matter our age or background. With God, today is a good day for something new. I encourage you strongly to take stock of your life. Ask yourself “am I still in the faith?” If you are, then courage must come! If not, then change is inevitable if you mean business!
If we live with eternity in mind we will waste no time, have less excuses and be more courageous to become the people that God has created us to be. Now is the time to shrug off all limitations and pursue the destiny of God for our lives.
This is why it’s so important to be part of a Life Group because like in the case of the apostles it is in the midst of like-minded and like-hearted believers that we find strength and courage to boldly proclaim this Gospel message through the empowerment of Holy Spirit!
Father, I recognise that I need more faith to accomplish courage in my life. Please help me to grow in Your Word, please stir in my heart a passion for your Word and prayer. Assist me to be courageous in this age that we I am living in, so that I can be a witness to everyone around me. Father, thank You that I have the opportunity to be surrounded by other believers who encourage me to be bold and courageous for the Gospel. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen
This EXTRACT was taken from my book, “Unlocking Destiny”
Become a disciple today and let’s advance His Kingdom together!
Reach out to us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org