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.

Exaltation Through Humility

Steve Arterburn

Men, Jesus Christ is first and foremost the object of our faith. He’s also our primary example of what the life of faith looks like.

 

For instance, consider Christ’s humility’particularly the way He relinquished His will to the Father. Philippians chapter two says our attitude should be the same as His. Though He was truly God, He didn’t demand or cling to His rights as God. Instead, He made Himself as nothing. In His incarnation and life on earth, He took the humble position of a suffering servant. He lived in perfect obedience, yet died a criminal’s death on a cross.

And because of this humility, the Father raised Christ from death to sit at His right hand’a position of absolute honor, glory, and power.

But whatever you do, don’t miss the progression: Jesus’ humiliation preceded and precipitated His exaltation. Humility was a key element in Jesus’ life as He accomplished the Father’s will for fallen humanity.

If we’re to surrender to God and His will for us, we need to be humble as well. Jesus didn’t pray solely for His own will. He humbly prayed for His Father’s will to be done. We, too, ought to pray, ‘Father, I want your will, not mine.’ Men, this is the mark of humility and the beginning of real spiritual renewal.

Tearing Down Idols

Steve Arterburn

 

King Asa lived at a time when the Israelites had given themselves over to idolatry. They basically thumbed their nose at God and believed their way of living, contrary to His instructions, was right.

 

But when the king heard the message of the prophets, he destroyed the idols the people were worshipping. Asa restored the altar of the Lord. He even removed his own mother from her position of power because she’d been influencing Israel in their idolatry.

 

When you think of idolatry, you might consider it a phenomenon of times past. But that’s a big mistake. Our culture is rife with idolatry, and our own hearts are very susceptible to it.

 

As God continues His work in you, it’s crucial that you recognize the idols our culture bows before and that you don’t get caught up in treating them as idols yourself.  Things like money, power, possessions, titles, comfort, superficial beauty, or any number of things that usurp what belongs only to God.

 

In the end, you’re called to do something very much like king Asa did: crush and burn the idols in your own thinking and in your heart. Guys, God has called you to redirect your life in order to follow Him. That means moving against the stream of this world, and the things it worships in place of God.

 

But take heart: God always supplies the ability to accomplish what He asks of you. He’ll be there for you, empowering and encouraging you all the way home.