Stepping Out In Faith

Steve Arterburn

 

The waves crashed, the storm swelled, the wind howled, and the boat creaked and heaved. The apostles saw Him’Jesus approaching on the waves. ‘Lord, if it’s really you,’ Peter cried out, ‘tell me to come to you by walking on the water.’ Jesus bid him to come, so Peter stepped onto the tumultuous sea and began walking to Jesus. Then the apostle’s attention turned to the storm that surrounded him. His heart melted inside his chest, and his feet began sinking beneath the waves.

Men, being a Christian means stepping out in faith’believing that God is able to turn even the most tumultuous seas around you into a pathway toward Himself. You probably took familiar and safe paths in the past and found they didn’t take you where you needed or longed to go.

Please hear me on this: if you wait for all your fear to go away before you follow the call of Christ upon your life, you’ll never make significant spiritual progress. Courage isn’t the absence of fear. It’s that stubbornness born of faith that causes you to move forward despite the fear you feel.

Fix your eyes on Jesus and don’t look at those unknown and untamed things swirling about. Call out to Him and move in faith toward Him ‘ His hands are always extended and open to you. Yes, you’ll feel fear and you’ll need His help. But move forward anyway. He won’t let you drown, and He’ll catch you if you start sinking.

Positive Pain

Steve Arterburn

Sometimes forgiveness involves pain. When we confront people regarding betrayal, abandonment, abuse, deception, or other offenses, we’ll likely experience sorrow. We need to accept this as part of the consequences of sin and learn to freely express it to God. He can transform the pain associated with wrongdoing and bring about good for everyone involved.

Remember men: not all sorrow is bad for you. The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Corinth that made them sad because he confronted them about wrongdoing. He initially regretted hurting them. But after reflection he wrote these words, which you can find in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10: ‘Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to have remorse and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed’in any way. For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow.’

The grief Paul described was good. It was caused by his love for others in action, and accessed in light of honest self-evaluation. Like Paul, we too must learn that sometimes sorrow is a positive part of our spiritual growth. So when you’re confronted with it, don’t run from it and don’t reject it. Enter into it asking God to use it to direct the course of your life along redemptive paths.

More Powerful Than Blood

Steve Arterburn

Family is important. It provides relationships that will be your foundation, through thick and thin your entire life. What’s more, families are where we get our foundation spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. In short, families are the cradles of character.

 

But in Mark chapter three, Jesus demonstrates that as important as family truly is, it’s not what’s most important. The scene took place on a day when Jesus and His disciples were so overwhelmed by the crowds they didn’t even have time to eat. Jesus’ mother and brothers approached the house where Jesus was, but couldn’t get in. So they did the next best thing. They sent word inside that they wanted to speak to Jesus.

 

When Jesus heard this, He asked provocatively, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ Then He looked at the crowd around Him and declared that they‘those who did God’s will’were His true family members!

 

This is one of the many times where Jesus shatters our preconceived notions. Yes, your family is very important. It’s very important to God, and therefore, should be important to you as well. Yet family doesn’t take precedence over the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom makes a total claim upon us and radically reorders our entire existence. Therefore, to exalt anything over our loyalty to Jesus Christ is to make that thing an idol, even your family. Don’t let something good take the place of what’s clearly best.