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Saturday, June 29, 2013

My mind keeps messing with my faith!

Hesitation:  A delay due to the uncertainty of mind or fear; a state of doubt.  We all struggle with uncertainty, don't we?  Some of us more than others.  At times, fear has a paralyzing effect - keeping us from moving in one direction or another just because we cannot break the grip of uncertainty.  Truth be told, we struggle with this more than we think - battling in our minds the desire to just stay put and the knowledge we need to move on.  There is often more danger in staying put than in moving on, but because of our "blindness" caused by our fear, we cannot see it.

He said, “Come ahead.”  Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”  Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?” (Matthew 14:29-31 MSG)

Okay, now tell the truth - how many of us would have jumped out of a perfectly good boat and into the water actually believing we'd be able to skim the surface and walk across?  Not many!  Most of the time, we fail to take the first step because of this little thing called human reasoning.  Our minds get in the way of what our heart and spirit is telling us to do!  We hear God's voice, see him right in front of us, but our minds tell us of the impossibility and impracticality of what it is we are trying to do.  Peter was kind of an impetuous guy - he acted on his feelings a lot of the time.  I guess I relate to him pretty well because I do the same!  If you are like me, you put your foot forward without really thinking things through.  I want to challenge you a little on this one because I don't always think this is a bad idea!  If we struggle to take the first step, sometimes a little implusive action is not always a bad thing!  Maybe if we let our minds get in the way a little less and aligned our hearts with our spirits a little more, we might take a whole lot more "first steps"!

If you have mastered the "first step" phase of this spiritual walk, then you probably get a little hesitation somewhere else down the road - coming to a spot when you really get to the point where you look around at what you are deeply into.  This is the moment when your mind begins to spin again - telling you all kinds of stories in a rather quick fashion about "why" you cannot possibly take the next steps.  Peter made it out of the boat, even taking a few steps toward Jesus.  He mustered the faith for the first steps, but his faith began to waver when he considered the waves!  This is where we also begin to waver - our faith becomes unsteady, we "flutter" a little, until we finally feel our "footing" giving way.  

Getting up on our feet "inside" the boat is one thing - taking the first step over the railing is another!  Once over the railing, there is nothing to hold onto but our faith in Jesus.  Look at what happened to Peter - as long as his focus was Jesus, he was upright; when he looked at the water, he began to sink.  Our focus is important when we are battling the messages of contrary argument our mind wants to speak into our tiny seed of faith.  If our focus is steadfast, our footing will follow suit.  

Fear comes like the waves - it swells until it overcomes us or disturbs our footing.  If you have ever stood on the seashore just a little ways out in the water, you know the power of the waves.  They disturb the sand under your feet, making your footing ever changing.  Waves come in swells - they don't just pop up, overtake you and then are gone.  They build!  The things which battle against our faith use the same tactic - they build and build until they present such an image of "overcoming" force that we are knocked off our footing of faith.  The mind is a powerful tool - it works both for and against us.  If we learn to master its influence, we will do much to define the "waves" as nothing more than nuisances to our progress!

Peter called out to Jesus - he was being overwhelmed by the battle of his faith.  I guess it goes without saying - storms are overwhelming at times.  They are almost impossible at others.  Save me - two words Jesus relishes hearing!  Not because it reveals our lack of faith - but because it reinforces our faith!  The world may see someone asking for God's help as weak and insecure - Jesus sees that same individual as strong beyond their worries and disbelief.  

As we conclude today, just remember this - Peter walked back to the boat with Jesus.  He did not get sent back there alone - they went together.  There is a point where our fear in the moment meets up with Jesus in the moment - that uniting effect gives us footing beyond our capability!  Just sayin!