Trusting God: Part VII
Everyone, believer and unbeliever, thinks, desires, and acts out of AND based on faith. As a believer, the key to trusting God is never faith as such. Saving faith is God’s gift to every believer (Gal. 2:16; Eph 2:8-9). There is no salvation apart from it. Trusting God is one activity of believers. It is what believers are to do as duty, privilege, and blessing. How much faith do you need to trust God? The keys to trusting God are the proper object of saving faith and the proper use of the gift of faith. Trusting God means growth in faithfulness. The believer is to grow as a trusting person. In contrast, the unbeliever has faith but it is non-saving faith. Faith yes but he trusts himself. That is all he can and wishes to do (Rom. 8:5-8). Consequently he trusts in others and in things in order to get for himself (see Proverbs 3:5-8).
The apostles walked, talked, and witnessed Jesus – His Person and His work. At times they seemed to get “it.” They had an idea of who Christ was and perhaps the significance of that fact. But at other times they seemed clueless. If we are honest with ourselves, we function in the same way. “Clue-less-ness” has been, and will continue to be, the case for all believers in varying degrees throughout the ages.
In Matthew 14:22-33, the apostles are in the midst of the wind and waves (an apt picture of God’s hard providence). Jesus came to them walking on the water. What an amazing sight that must have been. The apostles were fearful – terrified. Jesus knew people and His close friends from the inside-out. He ministered to them by speaking reassuring words. He stated the fact of His existence and gave an exhortation. He tells them to take courage – be strong-hearted and not fearful. He attaches a strong reason as to why they should: It is I (see Exodus 3:6; John 8:58). His presence was to carry the day. His presence required Peter and the disciples to respond.
Jesus is the ever-present, powerful, Almighty God. Apparently that statement spoken by Jesus did not satisfy Peter (and I assume the other disciples). Peter asked for a sign. Graciously, Jesus gave him one. He uttered the simple invitation: come to me. Peter stepped out of the boat onto the water and moved in stepwise fashion toward Jesus. What an amazing experience. Initially his physical eyes (and his spiritual eyes – his heart) were fixed upon Christ (see Colossians 3:1-3; 1 John 3:1-3). As a whole person (thoughts, desires, and actions) he was properly vertically oriented. He walked on water! It is when he perceived his surroundings bigger than him and therefore Christ that he began to sink. Yet he quickly “regained focus” and called out to Jesus for salvation. Jesus drew drowning Peter to himself while reminding Peter of his un-faithfulness – O you little faith. How little was Peter’s faith? How much faith did Peter need to walk on water? How much faith did he need to continue his walk toward Jesus? On his own, Peter did not get to Christ. He did not prove faithful and trusting. Yet Jesus did not abandon him. He moved to Peter! Peter was learning. Peter’s epistles suggest that Peter always cherished this experience. How patient and merciful our God is.
1. As a believer you have saving faith. (Eph. 2:8-9) You are now properly faith-based. How then do you prove faithful and trustworthy?
2. Matthew 14:22-33: How are you like Peter? How are you dislike Peter?
3. Review 1 Samuel 17: compare and contrast Peter and David. What do you learn?