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A Step of Faith

There is  a story that’s well known… When Peter steps out of the boat and tries to walk to Jesus. Peter takes a singular step of faith that has been recorded for all time.

Through his story there is much to learn about the power of faith, the temptation of fear, and the ripple effect that happens when we step out.

Read Matthew 19:22-33

Philip Yancey says, “Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” I think this quote accurately describes the scene we have here. It must’ve been an absolutely shocking thing to have experienced…

In this passage, we see Peter, a simple fisherman, stepping out of a boat in the middle of a stormy sea. This is not a normal or rational action. It defies the laws of nature and human instinct for self-preservation. But Peter isn’t acting on his own understanding or strength. He is acting on faith. He’s responding to His Rabbi’s invitation. His faith and trust empowers him to do what is humanly impossible – to walk on water.

This we see, is the power of faith. It is the ability to trust God so completely that we are willing to step out of our comfort zones, to take risks, to defy the norms and expectations of the world around us. It is the courage to believe that with God, all things are possible, even when everything in our human understanding screams that it’s impossible.

It’s the teenage Mary being told she’ll give birth to the Messiah and proclaiming, “Nothing is impossible with God!” (Luke 1:37)

It’s the Apostle Paul, writing to the Philippians from prison and trusting, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)

Faith is not just about believing in God, but also believing in what God can do through us. It’s about believing that God can use us to accomplish His purposes, no matter how inadequate or unqualified we may feel. Peter was not a trained water-walker. He was a fisherman. But his faith in Jesus empowered him to step out of the boat and onto the water.

Faith is a lifelong journey and so having faith is also about perseverance. Even when Peter began to sink, he did not give up or turn back. He cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” And Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him. This shows us that even when our faith falters, Jesus is there to catch us. He doesn’t abandon us in our moments of doubt and fear. He is there to help us, to strengthen us, to lift us up again.

Faith changes us. It changes how we see ourselves, how we see the world, and how we see God. It empowers us to step out in courage, to stay focused and to persevere in the face of challenges.

In the story of Peter walking on water, we see a vivid example of this. Peter, initially full of faith, steps out onto the water at Jesus’ command. But as soon as he takes his eyes off Jesus and sees the wind and the waves, fear takes hold of him and he begins to sink. He was completely overwhelmed by his situation and filled with fear.

Fear tempts us to doubt God’s power and promises. It whispers in our ear, “You’re going to sink. You can’t do this. It’s too hard. It’s too risky.” Fear tempts us to stay in the boat, to play it safe, to stick with what’s comfortable and familiar.

But God didn’t call us to a life of comfort and safety. He called us to a life of faith and trust, a life that requires us to step out of the boat and onto the water, even when the wind is blowing and the waves are high.

When we trust God, we experience His peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding, even in the midst of life’s storms.

And when others watch us live a life of faith, through the ups and downs, they get to see HIM too. They get to see Jesus working in us and through us. They get to hear us give all the glory and credit to HIM. These are the ripple effects. This is how faith spreads. This is how we shine the light of Christ in the darkness of an unbelieving and skeptical world of confusion and chaos.

It all begins with a single step.

It begins when we answer the call and invitation of Christ to “Come and see.” 

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