The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.
Trust in the with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.
Show me your ways, o Lord,
Teach me your paths.
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“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted to him.” Mark 11:23 (NASB)
I read these words of Jesus and believe them in my heart, but my mind says, “Well, I guess, sure, we could move that mountain … or we could use Google Maps and just drive around it. That is probably a safer way. Let’s look for a more sensible route.”
Then I pull up a map on my phone and miss the rumbling power of God, who is able and willing to pick up a mountain and toss it into the sea simply because He loves me and I ask.
When I am caught in a cycle of spiritual defeat, it’s nurtured and fed by the bad things I expect to happen. Maybe you sometimes find yourself caught there, too. If there are layoffs at our place of employment, for example, it’s hard and discouraging. But instead of believing that God has plans, hope and a future for us, (Jeremiah 29:11) and that a better opportunity is coming, we settle into the malady of fear and negativity and we experience less than heaven on earth.
When I’m stuck in a cycle like this, I cling to the Truth of Jesus. Jesus is love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, NIV)
Love never fails.
Jesus never fails.
And if the Spirit of Christ — the hope of glory, the greatest mystery — dwells in us, guess who else will not fail? We will not fail. Even though we make mistakes, fall short, and experience pain and setbacks in our humanity, we share in the eternal victory of Jesus, who has conquered sin, death and the enemy on our behalf.
In Matthew 14:22-33, Peter was invited by Jesus to walk on water. Peter had seen Jesus perform miracles. He actually hung out with Jesus, broke bread with Him — they were good buddies. Maybe you’ve heard it said that Peter sank because he took his eyes off of Jesus. I have always believed this to be true. But Scripture doesn’t actually say that; it says when Peter “saw the wind” he began to sink (Matthew 14:30, NIV).
When Peter felt the wind and the waves, his lifetime of experience with the sea demolished his belief in Jesus in a single moment. Fear of death by drowning was greater than the love for Jesus that he professed with his mouth. Peter wanted to believe. He had walked away from his career, and Jesus was continually doing the impossible right in front of him.
Still, he sank.
So what chance do we have? We profess our belief in “water walking,” yet like Peter, we have no experience with it. We are fully aware of the dangers of getting out of a boat in the middle of the stormy sea. But even I who hate choppy water and am prone to seasickness can choose to boldly climb out of the boat and step onto the raging sea. I will not look down. I am headed straight into the arms of Jesus, who raises people from the dead and turns water into wine.
And I will follow that up with this: I believe and expect He will do great things.
Jesus invites us out onto the water; but the problem is that we keep remembering how human we are. The truth is that grace is the answer, and there is nothing left to do but believe. Step out on the water. Don’t look down. Don’t rationalize. Gravity doesn’t apply here.
Physics doesn’t have anything on the Son of Man.
Jesus, I have been in a cycle of spiritual defeat for too long. Align the belief of my heart with the belief of my head, and give me the confidence to live boldly in Your love, knowing that You are doing great things here and now. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.