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Walking On the Water
16 January 2015
Recently I was asked, “What do you want to do in life?” The questioner was meaning, what do I want to do career-wise, seeing that I’m entering into my sixth year of unemployment.
I paused for a moment, and then to the surprise of both of us, I replied, “I want to walk on the water with Yeshua (Jesus)!”
Of course, I was referring to the famous incident recorded in the book of Matthew in which Yeshua was walking on the water, and, for a little while at least, His disciple Peter was doing so as well. Let’s take a look:
It should be apparent that when I say that I want to walk on the water with Yeshua, it doesn’t mean that I literally want to walk on the water like Peter did. “Walking on the water” is a metaphor for living a life of faith — not just IN Yeshua, but WITH Yeshua.
But Yeshua immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Master, if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.”
“Come,” He said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Yeshua. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Master, save me!”
Immediately Yeshua reached out His hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:25‑31)
In my mind, the boat represents religion, which is a man-made system that Satan uses to replace a daily relationship with Yeshua. At the beginning of our story, ALL of the disciples of Yeshua were IN the boat ... but Yeshua Himself was NOT in the boat. He was outside the boat, walking on the water.
Out of the twelve followers of Yeshua in the boat, only ONE was desperate enough to be with Yeshua to want to get out of the boat of religion and go to where Yeshua was. Still, Peter was not sure it was the right thing to do, so he sought Yeshua’s approval: If you want me to come out to where You are, then ask me to come. Then Yeshua gave the most beautiful and thrilling response of all: “Come!”
First, he had to let go of his fear. He had cried out in fear because he thought he saw a ghost on the water near the boat. In addition, from information given in the verses previous to the ones I quoted above, the disciples had been trying to cross the lake all night, but had been prevented from completing the journey because of the waves and the wind. As a professional fisherman, Peter knew that to get out of the boat in that kind of weather could mean a sudden nasty death.
Second, he had to let go of his limited human reasoning. Everyone knows that it is impossible for human beings to walk on water, especially during a storm! Yet there was Yeshua walking on the water, despite logic and reason. That probably made his brain suffer a reality overload! By leaving the boat and going to Yeshua, could he defy logic and reason as well?
Thirdly, he had to let go of the boat! The first two things he had to let go of were internal. Once he had let go of them, it was time to put his determination into practice, take action, and actually get out of the boat and onto (not into!) the water.
Perhaps some of the other disciples in the boat had been able to let go of their fear and human reasoning as well. But unless you put theory into action, it ends up being worthless. It’s one thing to desire to walk on the water with Yeshua. It’s quite another thing to actually DO it. In the end, most Christians decide it’s better to stay in the boat of religion, where it seems safer and more logical, even if Yeshua isn’t there.
When walking by faith with Yeshua by making decisions which seem to defy logic, reason and safety, we MUST keep our eyes fixed firmly on Yeshua. Peter became afraid when he saw the wind, which says to me that he wasn’t looking at Yeshua any more.
Perhaps after Peter had walked on the water a little bit he started to feel that it wasn’t so hard after all, and therefore became overconfident. Or maybe the wind and waves were so intense that they distracted Peter. Whatever the reason, he lost the focus of his faith. He lost sight of Yeshua.
When we look at the circumstances surrounding us instead of fixing our eyes on Yeshua, it is very easy to become full of fear again, even though we had conquered fear enough to first get out of the boat. The important thing is to look at Yeshua and be going towards Him — to be where He is, and to go where He goes.
The life of faith is not a matter of following a set of religious rules and regulations. It is not a matter of doctrines, dogmas, creeds, rituals, ceremonies, traditions, meetings, organizations, plans, buildings, or any of the other trappings of the man-made religion called Christianity.
The life of faith is all about looking at Yeshua and walking with Yeshua. It’s that simple! “Master, save me!” he cried out.
Yeshua, being the good and loving Master that He is, did not let Peter drown because of his fear and unbelief. He didn’t say, “How stupid you are to think you can walk on the water!” No, I think Yeshua was fairly pleased that Peter HAD gotten out of the boat and HAD walked on the water a little bit. Immediately Yeshua reached out His hand and caught Peter.
After reproaching him for his little faith, Yeshua then asked Peter the million-dollar killer question: “Why did you doubt?”
Why indeed? Why DO we doubt Yeshua? Why do we doubt His word, His promises, His power, His all-sufficiency, His love, His forgiveness, and everything else we doubt Him about? Rather than wallowing in self-pity over our lack of faith, we would do better to put into practice the advice from the author of Hebrews: “Let us fix our gaze upon Yeshua, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2a).
Most of those who consider themselves Christians like to play it safe and remain inside the boat of religion. Even if Yeshua is not there, still, there is a familiarity and comfort which brings a certain amount of fulfillment. It has known borders. It floats. It’s “real” ... of this world. It functions as expected.
Leaving the boat of religion is full of risks. You are stepping out into the unknown. You are leaving the natural and depending upon the supernatural to bear your weight and keep you afloat. Out there in/on the water, the danger is greatly multiplied. You never know what might happen at any moment. And sometimes the worst part is looking like a fool in the eyes of those still in the boat.
But stronger than any of these things is the desire for Yeshua. You long to be with Him, and He is not in the boat. He is out of the boat, walking on the water, and beckoning you to leave the boat and join Him. He is calling you to come on the same adventure He is on. Will you hold on to the boat, hold on to your “safe” life? Or will you let go, and by keeping your gaze fixed on Yeshua, let faith take you on a journey with Him? another year with no job. But then I realized that it was stupid to define myself by my state of unemployment and the fact that I lost my job at the ElijahList five years ago. The past is past, and it is high time for me to look forward instead of looking back.
My identity is not in my job, possessions, financial security, health, relationships, ministry, church participation, or anything else of this world. My true identity is in Yeshua — who He is, and who I am in Him. As the apostle Paul wrote:
Since you have been raised to new life with Messiah, set your heart on the realities of heaven, where Yeshua sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Messiah in God. And when Yeshua, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory. (Colossians 3:1‑4)Yes, my life is now hidden with Yeshua, enfolded in Him. My task on this earth is not to seek a career or money, but to seek Yeshua, and to abide in Him. As I follow Him, as I walk WITH Him, moment by moment, step by step, He will lead me into the work He has for me in this life, and will lead me to the financial provision I need to live. Yeshua (and Eugene Peterson) expressed it like this:
“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to Him than birds....This is where the rubber meets the road ... or where the sandal meets the water! Living in this way is the life of faith, the life of walking on the water with Yeshua. There is absolutely NO way I could be content to simply stay in the boat of religion without His presence.
“What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:25,26,31‑33, The Message)
I MUST have Yeshua! I MUST be where He is, outside the boat, walking on the water! Even if it is scary, even if I look stupid and crazy in the eyes of others, walking on the water with Yeshua is the ONLY life I want!
This article is 28th a series of articles on this Web site related to My Journey with Yeshua (Jesus) which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
On July 2, 2015, Valeriana wrote:
Just came across Brian Bits today, and was blessed by your wonderful articles and by your sharing your experiences and how you have managed to respond in a way that glorifies God, regardless good or bad ones. It is certainly true, God's glory is at stake on how we His children respond to any situation at any given time. That above else, more than the pain of trials we experience, the glory of God should come first. I've just read a couple of your writings and will continue to check them out. They certainly had given me good insights and deeper meanings to my own similar experiences in the past.
May God continue to strengthen you as you labor and persevere toward walking through faith in Jesus Christ.
God bless you.