Peter stepped out of the boat with reckless abandon, as Oswald Chambers puts it in My Utmost for His Highest.
Peter stepped down from the boat, and walked on the waters to come to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was strong, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, Lord, save me!Matthew 14:29-30 WEB
God calls each of us to step out in faith too.
Perhaps we won’t find ourselves in stormy seas and will never be asked to walk on water. But he does call us to step out, sometimes even asking things that seem crazy. Leading us to talk to a certain person. Taking a lesser paid job when it’s better for our faith or family. Or selling our house to serve him in Africa or Russia or Spain. He has a plan and path for each of our lives.
But such full surrender to Christ, requires 4 actions on our part.
1. We must first see Christ.
“The wind really was boisterous and the waves really were high,” Chambers states. “But Peter didn’t see them at first. He didn’t consider them at all; he simply recognized his Lord, stepped out in recognition of Him, and walked on the water.”
“Be reckless immediately totally unrestrained and willing to risk everything – by casting your all upon Him.” (Oswald Chambers)
Once we recognize Christ and truly see who he is we become willing to fully surrender to his lordship. And we find the faith and the courage to step out of the boat – even into the stormy seas.
2. We must keep our eyes on him, not on what we fear may happen to us.
Like Peter, we start to consider ourselves. We envision drowning in a sea of unpaid bills if we take that leap of faith. We wonder where our food will come from. We fear being riduculed. And then our faith slips away and, like Peter, we start to sink.
“We step right out in recognition of God in some things, then self-consideration enters our lives and down we go.” (Oswald Chambers)
Not that our surrounding circumstances aren’t real and at times desperate – for they are. Storms do come. Waves do threaten to overwhelm us. Bills still come, kids keep needing new shoes. Illnesses worsen. Love ones depart.
But isn’t the one who stills the seas and calms the wind and waves greater than even all of that?
3. Once we are certain it is God’s voice, we must not hesitate.
Right when we consider stepping out, that’s when our self-consideration shouts even louder. “What will you do for money?” it asks. “How can you leave your family, your parents? And what if you go but no one will even listen to you?”
“If you debate for even one second when God has spoken, it is all over for you. Never start to say, ‘Well, I wonder if He really did speak to me?’ Be reckless immediately – totally unrestrained and willing to risk everything – by casting your all upon Him.” (Oswald Chambers)
4. Never look back.
We step out in faith. But when the waves tower over us, we look back at the boat – wondering why we got out. Longing for the relative saftey, plenty, and ease we had. Wanting to escape the hardships and trials.
Peter answered him and said, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the waters.’ He said, ‘Come!’ Peter stepped down from the boat, and walked on the waters to come to Jesus.Matthew 14:28-29
Surrender in our own lives
We’ve seen good times and bad, times of plenty and of lack. But even in the midst of the storms, we’ve learned that the One who stills the sea and calms the wind and waves will always be faithful.
And even if we were to sink, what would it matter? For we would still find ourselves wrapped in his loving arms, even at the bottom of the sea.
Following with reckless abandon is foolishness only when we fail to recognize who he is. And all who follow this path have a special story to tell. It’s the tale of God’s great faithfulness!
Follow Christ with reckless abandon! For beneath the waves, you’ll always find his sheltering arms!
Images: Stormy sea is my own. | Boat in storm by LUMO Project (Big Book Media) from FreeBibleImages.org; Educational use only.