I recently took the time to read through some of my past Blogs, so many of you have started reading and enjoying. So, I took the time to read back over those same Blogs. I have decided that you are far too kind, I am just not particularly good at writing. My sentence structures, spellings, and mis-placed words distract from what I am attempting to say. I just do not have the education needed to professionally write for the public. I take the time to read over my Blog’s three times and allow the computer to read it to me once. I let it rest a night or two, read the post once more before it goes out and although I catch so many errors, there are still those that leak out. Maybe today, this blog can teach me and hopefully you something about how faith works in moments when we are distracted by our own shortcomings.
Matthew 8: 23-27 ESV
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
“O you of little faith?” What does it mean to have only a little of something? “I only have a little bit of money on me”, is that a nickel, a dollar, ten dollars, or just enough money for me? I know so little about the English language even though it is the only language I know.
My Pastor is speaking on Spiritual Battles over the next few weeks, and he said something that stuck with me, “the opposite of Faith is not Doubt, the opposite of Faith is Fear.” Let us take another look at the phrase Jesus uses here, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” These men lived their lives in a boat, they were fishermen. They had some knowledge of what a real storm looked like, but here they find themselves in fear on the water. They did at least have enough faith to awaken Jesus and plead with Him, “Save us; we are perishing!!!!” I added a few explanation points to make a point, they were scared for their life.
Matthew 17: 19-20 ESV
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Seeds are so small compared to what they become. Take a watermelon seed, inside this small seed is a large fruit that satisfies a need. It just happens, the seed is planted, and the vine grows producing several watermelons, in fact. Some of those watermelons are large and long, while others are small circles. But each is a watermelon just the same. This implies that we must trust the gardener to water and prune so that we can become the fruit he intended.
Jesus is not measuring their faith by the size of a tiny mustard seed, but He is explaining that even the smallest seed can do great things when they know the gardener and the purpose, He has planted in them.
James 1: 19-22 ESV
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore, put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Focus in on these two words with me, “implanted word”. I had knee surgery last year and for them to implant the new knee they had to remove some of the old arthritic knee. God is asking us to read His word with meekness, in other words, not making it about us but about others. Let us be quick to hear others, think through how we respond, and slow to respond back in anger.
Taking another look back in Matthew 8 when our disciples are riding in the storm with Jesus asleep. They wondered what type of man could enjoy so much calm in the middle of a storm. And then, for their sake alone and not His, He just speaks peace to all the turmoil around them. What we are learning today is that we have a small portion of God’s Spirit planted inside of us, that expects to be at peace in all the turmoil and then speaks peace to others, let us start allowing Him to farm His new implanted word inside of us.
Matthew 14: 26-31 ESV
When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So, Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
“In their fear, they cried out”, the opposite of faith if fear. Give some grace to Peter, he got out of the boat and walked at least a step or two. Then the fear level kicked in and he looked at the waves and felt the wind, he lost his balance. He at least knew who to cry out to, certainly not the disciples still in the boat. He cries out to Jesus and of course Jesus rescues him, that is what He does.
Have I learned anything from this Blog, today? Faith is not based on the circumstances around me, the wind, the waves, or my poor writing. Faith is based solely on Jesus Christ and my ability to keep my focus on Him. Regardless of what is happening around me or how I am accepted or rejected. My faith begins when my abilities end. I will ask for you to forgive my errors as I place my focus on Jesus.
What can you learn from this Blog, today? Regardless of what you are doing or what you are involved in. I would suggestion one thing to you, walk with Jesus as your focus and stop looking at your circumstances, failures, and flaws. He has planted His Spirit’s seed inside you, allow it to grow. We do have some responsibility to get better and we should strive to be better in all we put our hands to do. Do not place that burden on you alone, focus your attention and direction on Him. Do not worry, Jesus will pick you up when your fear level kicks in.