Several years ago I was chubbier and I had a goal to lose some weight. I thought I would look prettier and I’d be healthier too. But as I lost the weight I was getting more looks from the guys and it made me uncomfortable and self-conscious. I nearly sabotaged myself and thought about going off the diet. It’s kind of a silly example, but how many times have we had a God-inspired goal for a godly reason and just as we were really making progress, we ran across the first obstacle and wondered, “Did I really do the right thing?”
It’s at those points that we have to go back to our original motivation for the changes we’re making. If our reason for even wanting to make a change came from a godly point of view, then He will help us through the challenges and help us overcome any hurdle we may come across. We can clearly see that the men and women of the Bible grew spiritually as they were led by the Lord to step into the realm of the unknown.
As the author Israelmore Ayivor says in his book Shaping the Dream, “Break away from the box confining you. Positive dreamers do not follow the status quo. They keep raising the standard of the bar higher and higher. Raise the bar.”
But with raising the bar in our spiritual lives, we need to know that what we aim for, what we will gain in the end, will be well worth the jump. As one Bible teacher puts it, “New level, new devil.” Growing spiritually is not for sissies.
In Matthew 14:28-32, Peter took a bold step of faith. He could have drowned! “Peter said, ‘Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.’ And he [Jesus] said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.” So far, so good. In fact, amazing! “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink.” Okay, big obstacle!
But look what Peter does and it’s what we have to do too. “He cried, saying, Lord, save me.” I just love that. Just because we have the courage to start something new, or enter a brave new phase of growth doesn’t mean we have to brave it alone!
Look at how the Lord reacted: “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him.” Jesus then said to Peter, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” That’s where believing in the original aim is so important. Peter wanted to grow his faith and that is a godly aim, so he shouldn’t have let the demon’s distraction and stormy obstacle get to him. He should have kept his eyes on the good future Jesus promised.
Jesus reprimanded Peter, but He didn’t abandon him. “And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.” Notice that THEY came back to the ship. So many people miss that. Jesus AND PETER came back to the ship. That means that Peter was again walking on the water and this time he reached his goal! The devil had to give up. He wasn’t going to win. The Bible says: “the wind ceased.” The demon was deflated!
We’re like Peter. When we get into a new phase of life, or a new spiritual level, the devil will try to back us down. If we are wanting to be more loving, you can be pretty sure the devil will put you around the most unlovable people he can find. If you’re praying to be better at exposing and casting down demons, you can be sure you will be meeting some of the most insidious. Are you are aiming at being a more patient person? You better be ready for some really annoying stressors. I’m not trying to scare you; just telling the truth.
The great thing is that there is no demonic force that can stand up to the power of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:8 says: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
As we courageously step out toward those God-inspired aims, goals and dreams, we will have times of attack, times of distraction and even fear, but Jesus will always be there, just like He was with Peter. The Lord Jesus will lift us up and we will walk on water with Him to reach what we were aiming for.
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