I have purchased, and been reading, a book entitled, Costly Grace. It is a contemporary view of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship. I have found it challenging and encouraging for me as God has been working in my heart about just living by grace and following Christ wholeheartedly. I am learning to step away from the falsehoods of the necessity to “impress” God…and others…and just live in simple obedience to the tangibles that Christ has called me to. Others won’t get it, and I’m finally good with that. One of the portions of the book that I have returned to many times since reading it recently is this section titled, The Next Step is Revealed After the First Step:
When Jesus called Peter to step out of the boat and walk to him across the water, it was a cal to voluntarily give up the security of the boat for the insecurity of walking on rough water. (Matthew 14:23-31) With single-minded obedience, Peter takes the first step and, in that moment, he believes. Obedience doesn’t merely reflect belief; in truth, obedience leads to belief.
God uses our obedience to put us in a position to develop faith. Jesus calls us to take the first step and then, only after we’ve taken that step, he will reveal the next step. In this sense, you cannot develop faith if you are disobedient to Jesus. You may give intellectual assent to what God can do, but unless you take the first step, you do not have faith.
Yet this is where so many of us get stuck. We hesitate; we step back from obedience in order to speculate what we should do next even though Jesus has already told us what we must do. There is no other path than obedience to developing faith.
Only by leaving the “security” of the boat does Peter discover that the greater security is in Jesus. In truth, the only security is in Jesus. Peter learns firsthand – or perhaps firstfoot! – that Jesus is Lord over all circumstances.
Peter also learns that what we see and think, apart from Jesus, does not reflect reality. The delusion is that the greatest safety is in the boat; the reality is that the greatest safety is focused obedience to Jesus. The delusion is that we cannot walk on water; the reality is that we can do whatever Jesus commands us to do. The delusion is that the waves will overwhelm us; the reality is that Jesus is greater than the waves.
What part of this passage spoke the most to you? How do you think it will impact your daily walk with Christ?