Faith is relying on God's Power!
Matthew 8: 23-27
This passage is about relying on God's power. The disciples saw and believed some incredible events, but somehow, what they had observed and participated in firsthand did not create in them an ability to trust. We will see this theme tested within ourselves when the storms of life buffet against us. This includes the tempests of frustration, the chaos of stress, the gossip from toxic people, the daily grind of life, wrong choices, people conflict, and, of course, sin. How we deal with this is paramount to our ability to trust God. If we prepare to trust in Christ, we will be taken safely across. If we do not, we may sink.
There will be times when we are afraid. Sometimes, we will be just a little nervous; sometimes, we will be outright panic-stricken, as the disciples must have been. We will see the storms of life come against us, causing us to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Even those who have been through them before and have grown and matured will become tired and weary. The danger is when our faith breaks down into fear so we will not venture out with it. We become stuck, refusing to learn or grow.
He may even take you through the storm to the very edge of your breaking point to get your attention. But, the only thing that will be broken will be what must be broken, your will; the rest of you will become stronger. Just as most fishermen were unwilling to venture past the coastline (for good reason for them-not for those of us with faith), if you do the same in your walk in Christ, you will sink in those shallow depths. You will not realize that Jesus is there to take you through it; all you will see is the storm and not the growth and fruits that it can bring you. You will neither develop true confidence in our Lord, nor will He be able to take you where you will learn the most and do the most good.
· To help our faith and relationship with Christ and others to grow, and for Him to work in our lives, especially to touch others, we also have to be willing to trust and obey Christ as Lord over all things-including our lives.
· A common theme in the Gospels is that hearing the Word is not enough; you have to obey it (Luke 8:8, 18, 21-25).
· We can stay close to the shore of our comfort in the Christian life, and never take risks; or, we can exercise real, impacting faith. To pursue the Christian life and make an impact requires that we venture where we may not want to go. But, we only do this by His leading, and only move by His empowering. We merely trust and obey. This is also the pattern for life. We do not see what is ahead. We do not see how our choices, sin, and events may collide, causing sudden and violent storms of stress, chaos, strife, pain, and suffering.
· Sometimes we feel Jesus is asleep, as life overwhelms us. But, rest assured. He is still there, caring and carrying us. Even if He was asleep (He does not) and our troubles kept multiplying (and they will at times), we would still be safe when we remained in the boat-in Him (John 14-15)!
· Jesus was relaxed during the storm, a picture of faith for us to emulate. We can rest under His cover and still be tranquil in composure and free from our stress (2 Kings 6:16-16, 32; Psalm 4:8; Prov. 19:23).
· You of little faith. What a sting those words must have been to the worrisome disciples, as they realized they had messed up again. It is amazing how dense they were, they were with God Himself yet only saw their fears! The secret to remaining joyful in the face of adversity is our faith-our confidence and assurance that He is there in the boat with us. Jesus will not let the boat capsize. But, even if it did, He is still there.
· Jesus is Lord over creation, but you have to exercise your will to move it out of the way so He can be Lord over your life. He will rarely bully His way over you; you have to reach out to Him by faith, even though He reached out first to save you. It is by faith alone we receive His grace that is offered to us.
· These miracles over nature helped the disciples to develop and increase their faith in Jesus. (Mark 4:41)
· The key to unlocking fear so it opens into contentment is our worship and prayer time. Sometimes, that is all we can do; but, it is not a last resort. It is our front line and most important defense. It is to be our preparation for the weathering of a storm. It will help us build our relationship with Christ so our faith, confidence, and courage will grow. Then, those storms and crises will make us stronger and help us help others through them, too. When we fully learn to trust, then we can obey. That will build our confidence so we can sail across those storm-tossed seas of life as Jesus Christ is there beside us, manning the helm!
1. Why are you afraid at times? What causes your faith to get wet from the storms of life?
2. What do you do when the storms of life buffet against you? Such as, frustration, chaos, stress, gossip, toxic people, the daily grind of life, wrong choices, people coming against you, and, of course, sin?
3. How we deal with the stress of life is paramount; it shows us what our faith is made of, if it comes from God or from our self. So, how should you deal with stress?
4. It is one thing to believe in something and quite another to trust-and even more to obey an idea, plan, or cause. To follow Christ requires all three. Why is this so? How have you seen this apparent in your life?
5. Big problems sometimes creep up to us without warning-hidden behind mountains. What are the mountains for you? Are they such as pride, not looking at a situation carefully, not looking at things long term, or….
6. What can you do to prepare for the storms of life?
7. It is easy to stay close to the shore of comfort in the Christian life and never take risks or exercise real, impacting faith. What is your comfort, your reason for not venturing out further in your faith?
8. What can you do to be willing and able to pursue the Christian life with more vigor, and make more of an impact?
9. Real faith will be shown when the storms come. What would your faith show now?
10. Storms are a part of our lives in a fallen world. Perhaps you are in a storm, or you just got out of a storm, or you are headed into a storm. So, are you prepared?