Christians don’t always ask to be called out like Peter did that early morning on the boat. And we shouldn’t wait to be invited to step out in faith
I have been challenged by the story in Matthew 14:22-31. The disciples had been out all night on the boat that Jesus had sent them on and it was nearly dawn. They started to freak out as they thought they saw a ghost walking on the water. Jesus tells them to relax, “it’s just me” he says. What happens next is pretty amazing! Peter, (who knows what was going on in his head) calls out and asks Jesus to invite him out on the water with him. Peter then starts to walk on the wet only to be spooked by the wind and starts to sink. He cries for help and he receives it.
It’s not the part where Peter deliberately asks Jesus to call him out, or even that he stops focusing on Christ which causes him to sink that has got me thinking. There is no boat but there is plenty of comfort zone, and I haven’t gone out of my way asking him to invite me out to the unknown, but the fact that I have chosen to take following Jesus seriously, means that he is continuously saying “come”. I have recently entered a new season in my life, one that I know is going to shake things up, challenge old scripts in my head and heart, and force me to dig deeper into the word. Even though I have experienced many different forks in the road during my faith journey, making the choice to step out of what I know (or what I think I know) has never been easy. Each new chapter has meant pain and celebration. Lets be honest, who intentionally likes to be spiritually stretched. But its part of the package, when Jesus calls us down from the tree (or wherever you were staying out of reach) we also have a new membership in his Gym.
If you have any desire to Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2), and have made daily choices to seek first the kingdom of God, then you know that during these times of self-examination, the holy spirit will make you aware of areas on your life that need to be exposed to the light, the stuff that gets in the way of you becoming more like Christ. Unfortunately God doesn’t always directly say “that’s got to go”, which means we need to trust that Jesus is standing in the unknown waiting for us, and will reach out and grab us like he did with peter when he started to drown. Scary stuff!
I don’t have a 5 point plan to navigate through this new season I am walking through, but If I remind myself of how God has provided for me over the years, and instead of being anxious, bring my prayers to him and continuously ask for wisdom, God gives me fuel to keep moving and I have a new perspective. But of course this is only true for me;-)
So if you are in a similar situation, then I want to encourage you. Its easier to stay in the same comfy space, and harder to get out of it later if you have made your home there. Don’t keep putting it off, make small choices to participate in the growing that God is doing in you. The fruit that is produced from this, will not only spur you on, it will also give others the strength to step out in faith as well.
If you are a Christian, that is, if you have had a revelation of who Jesus Christ is and what he did and continues to do for you through his death and resurrection and believe it, then I’m sure during your faith journey you have heard more than once that you are a new creation. If you have never been told or read these words during your walk then now is the time.
It was Paul who wrote the words in 2 Corinthians “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here”. He is responsible for a lot of the new testament writings and was a pretty full on dude. Sometimes we (The Church) can throw around Christianese phrases so much that they can appear to be less powerful when spoken, so we end up rolling our eyes and switch off. But I believe this is one of those often quoted scriptures that cannot be walked away from and ignored, even if you have experienced over use of it.
It has been a long time since my last blog post, I have had a lot going on in my life, but whenever I have thought about blogging again this has been what I wanted to write about. I have spent years struggling with the idea and truth that as a Christian I have been given a new life. One of the hardest truths for some Christians to walk in while understanding what it means to follow Christ I reckon. I Sometimes catch my self in the act of thinking, speaking and acting in a way that doesn’t reflect new anything, and then I start to wonder how many followers of Christ actually believe they are new creations.
If you are reading this and already rolling your eyes then pay no more attention to me. Paul who wrote the words knew exactly what he was talking about. He was a super religious guy who hated Christians and wanted to put an end to this new movement-passionately. In the book of Acts (9:1-2) its says that he was breathing murderous threats against the disciples. Stop now and go and read it for yourself. This guy was old school and was going to put a stop to anything new. As he was on his way to get more authority to continue his rampage, he had the privilege of meeting Jesus. The rest is history.
I have come to realise that in order for me to mature in my faith, grow where I need to, and pursue understanding in areas such as my vocation, spiritual gifts and how I can contribute to both the kingdom of God and the world I live in, then the words of Paul, and the impact that Jesus has had on my life combined are things I need to get a hold of, understand the significance and meditate on continuously. If I leave these 2 behind and chase after all the other stuff I will have the missed the point and end up frustrated and ineffective. I am committed to not just understanding the truth that i am a new creation in Christ, but also letting go of the old so the new stuff can flourish! Sheesh, it is not easy and there are days where its easy to think what’s the point, its all to hard. But then i think of Paul.
Firstly his name was Saul before it was Paul, and the interaction he had with Jesus left him blind! The bible says he was without sight for 3 days, but after that from what we read he was certainly a new creation. I have no doubt there were struggles while he came to understand all that was going on, but from the new testament we can clearly see a guy who understood what it was like to be a new creation and had to deal with the old stuff as well. A new name, new identity, new role to play and a new understanding of God. This is what i want.
We are new creations because of Jesus, nothing else. The old has gone and the new is here. Clearly we also have a role to play as Christians when we enter into the family of God. We must participate in these truths by not ignoring them and doing all we can to understand, think differently and apply. Can those around you see that you are new creation? Or do you continue to hold on to the old leaving no room for anything new? What steps will you take next to ensure that like Paul, after being given new sight, you start a new life.
Peace to you!