Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Our Struggle With Wanting To Stay In The Boat

“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’” – Mark 9:24

I met a homeowner yesterday – a thirty something-ish wife and mother.  She and her husband need help with their home.  They have been living in a “mess” for two years.  Although I could see she was tired of seeing the “mess” day after day, she seemed to be at peace with it.  After we walked through the house we were also given to get a glimpse of her heart for the Lord. She is a Christian and when she talked about her faith – her eyes brightened and her smile widened. It was then that she shared that she taught American Sign Language and wanted to use that skill in the church she attended to help the deaf community engage in the worship service in a deeper way. But, she said – she was concerned that doing it would be seen as vanity and pride.

I told her that my wife just had spinal surgery.  The neuro-surgeon did an amazing job and not once did I see him as being prideful or vane – but as someone exercising his skills and abilities for the good of others. I told her that, in the same way, what the Spirit was prompting her to do was merely exercising her skills and abilities for the good of others. Why did I say the Spirit was prompting her? Because it was clear to me that He was.  What she was lacking was faith and what she was struggling with was fear.  Serving God is no small thing – knowing who you are – a jar of clay – and what He is calling you to do – to do something with spiritual consequence – is cause for the one who is called to be a bit trepidatious. (love that word!)

God calls, prepares and sends.  We typically don’t have a problem with the first two – it is the last one – that one is the cause of our trouble and our missing God’s best.  When we look at ourselves and consider who we are and who God is – we doubt that we can or should do what He says. Dr. Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God said that knowing what God says is not really the problem. Obeying what He says to do is the problem.

My new friend is in a faith struggle – and perhaps you are in one yourself.  You know what God has said you are to do – He has equipped you to do it – but you struggle with doubt that you can do it.  Well – you can’t.  Not on your own.  The ten spies who said “Don’t cross the Jordan” were not looking to God – they were looking at themselves and the Giants who lived on the other side of the river.  God never calls you to do something that you can do on your own – it is always bigger than you – heavier that you can lift – always ripe with feelings of trepidation.  The only way you can possible succeed is through faith.

I struggle with this all of the time. It is always a temptation to look at the waves rolling around you and remind yourself that you should not have gotten out of the boat. It seems a lot safer there – it is unless it is Jesus who has called you to step out of the boat to walk with Him. We often prefer to define our own space – the limits of what we are willing to do for God. I am reminded of the song lyrics, “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give.  I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live. I surrender all – All to Thee my blessed savior. I surrender all.” And that my friend is what is necessary to walk in obedience to your calling.

‘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. 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?’” – Matthew 14:28-31

It is time to get out of the boat and let your light shine.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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