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Spiritual Growth

The Courage to Walk on Water

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

At one point or another, each of us have been faced with choices that require us to be brave. Whether those decisions put us at odds with others or move us out of our comfort zones, we know what it’s like to feel unsettled – if not unsure. As we try to find the courage to take the paths less traveled, it can feel lonely. When our spiritual beliefs set us apart from others, courageousness can feel even more isolating. Yet, no matter the consequences, there is power in being courageous. It’s only by stepping out of the boat, in the middle of the sea, with only our trust in God to keep us afloat, that we learn to walk on water.

When A Disciple Walked on Water

The book of Matthew, chapter 14, starts on a somber note. John the Baptist was beheaded. We read in verse 13, that “When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.” In His personal mourning, He still found compassion for those people, and healed their sick. It was here that Jesus also took 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, looked up to heaven, blessed the food, and fed over 5,000 people.

Jesus then told His disciples to “get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.” (Matthew 14:22) While at sea during the night, the disciples saw someone walking on water towards them. They believed what they saw to be a ghost. As they cried out in fear, “Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27)

Peter’s Response

The only recorded response was from Peter who said in verse 28, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” It’s an interesting request from Peter. For all the ways Jesus could have verified Himself, Peter chose a way that also put himself at risk. Jesus then said “Come”, and Peter stepped out of the boat. It took only one word for Peter to keep up his end of the bargain. It’s inspiring that Peter had enough courage to leave his safety net for a chance to experience Jesus. Because of his trust, Peter got the chance to walk on water.

Now, it’s true – Peter got scared and started to sink, but he did not drown. This should give us hope that when we need to be courageous but find ourselves crippled with fear, God hasn’t let us go. We may still feel some of the consequences of our lack of faith, but that doesn’t mean that God has abandoned us. He wants each of us to safely make it to the next part of our journeys.

Placing Our Trust in God

All that Peter had seen and done helped to build his trust in Jesus. All that we have experienced should help to build ours as well. Yet even today, as we are called to walk on water, we miss what God has in store for us because we’re too scared to take the first step. What I love about Peter in that moment, is that even in the darkness, He did not ask for Jesus to come to him. Instead, he asked for the power to be able to go to Jesus. Peter was levelling up in his spiritual walk, and we should be too.

So how much trust does it take to believe that God can do the impossible? And how much courage does it take to actually act on that belief?  If we believe the promise made in Luke 18:27, then we trust Jesus when He said: “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” We have to embrace this truth every single day. If we learn to step out on faith in the smaller decisions, then we build a relationship with God that carries us through tougher ones. But never forget – it is our choice to make. Jesus didn’t force Peter out of the boat. Instead, when Peter made that choice, Jesus carried him the rest of the way.

Finding the Joy in Courageousness

When I think of spiritual bravery, I also think of Saul. When he became converted, (Acts 9), he went from persecuting those who believed in Jesus to ministering on His behalf. His faith, along with a deep sense of humility and conviction allowed him to face his past and heal from it. With such a change of heart, there would be serious danger from those who despised him, but Saul went forward anyway. I believe Saul (who was later called Paul) knew what still holds true today – that with God, anything is possible.

As we travel through peaks and valleys, God is with us. As we grow closer to Him, we’ll know what it’s like to walk on water. We will experience Him in unimaginable ways because we’ve removed our own personal limits and embraced His sovereignty. It’s in these spaces that we face what has been, and we embrace what comes next. With God, barriers are broken, and cycles destroyed. Courageousness in God lights a fire in our hearts that cannot be put out. So embrace God… embrace the journey… and step out of the boat. It’s only by seeking God that we can truly experience His presence.

Thank you for reading. Please share your thoughts below, and if you’ve enjoyed this devotional, be sure to share it with others.

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