It's "FUN FRIDAY"! Get out there and LIVE life and have FUN doing it!
All week long we have been talking about faith and, for the most part, have used the Biblical definition of faith found in Hebrews 11:1 - "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." I've also been using this definition as an application for us as we strive to reach our goals and dreams that we have set for ourselves. Again, if you've not done so, I encourage you to go back and catch up with the blog AND the podcast (iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mike-spillmans-future-you/id423660739 and the RSS feed: http://mikespillman.hipcast.com/rss/futureyouuniversity.xml ) before reading today's article.
Today I want to make some spiritual observations and discuss the APPLICATION of FAITH. Sure, you can also apply this to reaching your personal goals and dreams because, again, you can believe something all you want, you can have FAITH that something WILL happen but, until you step out and take ACTION - NOTHING will happen! Again, I'd love to get some feedback from you on today's article either here, via e-mail (email@example.com) or on our FB fan page (www.facebook.com/futureyouuniversity).
Once, when I was a young boy, I heard a sermon on the topic of faith. And, in that sermon, I heard it said that with faith I could do anything. Anything? Yes, from what I understood, ANYTHING. So, I decided to test this out and, going into my back yard, tried to pull a full grown tree up out of the ground by putting my little arms as far around that tree as I could which, obviously, wasn't very far around. Guess what? Are you ready for this? That tree stayed put and I wore myself out.
In 1 Corinthians 13:11 Paul says the following: "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things." Now, at the time of the above-mentioned incident, I was definitely a child and I definitely understood the concept of faith as a child would. And, thankfully, I do believe I've matured spiritually to the point that I have a better understanding of this concept of "faith". Notice that I didn't say that I understood it completely. Big difference and I hope you'll NEVER hear me say ANYTHING along the lines of me having it all figured out.
Repeating what was said earlier in the week, "Faith is NOT careless living!" and, to go along with that, "Faith is NOT a magic wand!" Let's look at a great example of the application of faith found in the Bible in Matthew 14: 22-33. I'm not going to "cut and paste" the scripture for you but I'm going to "sum up" what is being found there. I hope that you'll have the opportunity to take a look at it for yourself to see that what I'm saying does, indeed, go right along with what is written there.
When you read the preceding verses you will find that there has been a LOT going on for Jesus and His followers. And, as He would often do, Jesus told his disciples (followers) to go on ahead of Him and that He would join them a little later so that He could spend some alone time in prayer. While He was doing so a storm came up with a lot of wind and it began to toss the boat that the disciples were in quite violently to the point that they feared for their lives.
Sometime around 3 - 6 a.m. (the fourth watch of the night) these frightened disciples looked out on the water and saw what they believed to be a ghost! Think about that for a moment...you're fighting to keep water out of your boat and, among all the hustle and bustle and panic, you look out and see a ghost! I don't know about WALKING on the water but I'm thinking I may have begun RUNNING on TOP of the water and in the opposite direction!
In one of several humorous understatements that I believe are found in the translations of the Bible, we read that they "cried out for fear". Now, maybe that is not an understatement but, if you're like me and many others, we READ it as an understatement. Seriously, put yourself in that situation as much as you can and consider how YOU would sound as YOU "cried out for fear". I'm thinking they were screaming their heads off like a boat load of school girls! Mike's translation reads, "THEY WERE FREAKING OUT!"
What did Jesus do? Did He play tricks on them by appearing on one side of the boat and then - BAM - switching sides? Did He say, "Boo!"? Nope. The Bible states that IMMEDIATELY - and, friends, I think that is a KEY POINT that we should always remember - He began to try to calm them down by telling them NOT to be afraid because it was Him, not a ghost, but Him.
Now, one of the disciples - PETER - once realizing that it was Jesus (this same Jesus that Peter had seen do many miracles) replied, (and I paraphrase), "O.k., if it's really you, tell me to come out there with you!". I don't think this was a taunt or a "prove it to me" type of thing. Peter KNEW who Jesus was and he KNEW that he would be safe with Jesus but he wanted that "substance of things hoped for" to be based on TRUTH!
Jesus said, "Come on!" and Peter had a decision to make. He could stay in the boat that was in danger of sinking or, not really knowing how it would work, he could step out and go to Jesus who he KNEW could do things that had never been seen or done before.
Peter had to "put his money where his mouth was" (a trait that Peter exhibited quite often) and make a decision. Look again at that definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 - "Now faith is the SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR (Peter's hope was that, by getting out of that boat, he would be safe with Jesus) and the EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN" (Peter also knew that, even though he had NEVER seen anyone walk on top of the water like Jesus was doing, there was EVIDENCE in the fact that, indeed, Jesus WAS doing just that and, again, that he - Peter - had seen EVIDENCE of Jesus' mighty miracles).
Look at verse 29 - "....and when Peter came down out of the boat..." Notice it says Peter and not, "Peter and the other disciples". Just Peter. And he did it - he got out of the boat and began to walk - ON TOP OF THE WATER - toward Jesus.
Yes, once he noticed the big waves around him, he became afraid and he DID sink. However, do NOT miss the following points: He was the ONLY one that trusted in Jesus enough to put their FAITH into ACTION and to get out of the boat and, secondly, even though he "failed" (according to some) and began to sink, Jesus still rescued him and walked him back to the boat, safe and sound.
SPIRITUAL APPLICATION: Friend, it's one thing to SAY what we believe. It's one thing to try to convince those around us of our faith in God and His Son, Jesus. But, it's not what we say, it's what we DO - what we SHOW by the lives that we live - that truly demonstrate our FAITH!
Too, for ourselves, we can try to convince OURSELVES that we have a great amount of faith but, without ever putting it into action (getting out of the boat) we're just fooling ourselves. Fact is, we are the only ones being fooled because those around us are likely NOT being fooled when they see our ACTIONS speaking louder than our WORDS.
Hey friend, I'm still working on stepping out of that boat more often than I do and I want to encourage you to keep on growing in YOUR faith in the one we call JESUS.
As we work to walk more in FAITH, I want to encourage you to...
"Make it an AWESOME day! (Who else is going to do it for you?)"