My previous three ABC posts are entitled: Prince of Peace Please Come, Quiet my Questioning Heart, and Rest with Him, Run with Him. Today it is Stand Steady in His Strength.
Stand Steady in His Strength? Jesus’ disciples were on a boat in the midst of a fierce storm. Late into the night, they saw a ghost-like figure walking on the water with the waves swirling all aroud him. Jesus called out, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Then Peter confidently called to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So the Lord called him, and Peter stepped out of the boat onto the water with his eyes fixed on Jesus. But as he was stepping forward, he started panicking because of the wind and the waves; consequently, he began to sink. He was no longer standing steady in the strength of the Lord. Lovingly, Jesus held out His hand to Peter, and once they stepped into the boat, the wind and the waves became calm. (see Matthew 14:22-33)
Stand Steady in His Strength? On antoher occasion, Jesus was teaching a crowd of people in a house in Capernaum. Four men were carrying their paralyzed friend on a mat towards the house, hoping to get close to Jesus for healing. The room was packed, so they climbed to the roof, pulled it apart, and then lowered their sick friend down into the room directly in front of Jesus. Jesus spoke these words to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven…I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” The healed man was now able to stand in the strength that the Lord had given him. He and all the people in the house were amazed at Jesus’ wonderful work. (see Mark 2:1-13)
In these two passages, I see one man sinking and one man rising. Peter, who often wrestled with over-confidence, realized he was “in over his head.” When he took his eyes off of Jesus, he momentarily thought it was up to him to keep himself afloat. (Thankfully, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”) On the other hand, the paralytic, who knew he could do nothing in his own power, obeyed Jesus’ command, rose to his feet, and then walked home with confident joy.
How often we, in our flesh, become unstable. We can either sink down into a pit or climb up onto a pedestal. Those of us who tend to have a self-dug “pit-iful” mindset say things like: “I’m a failure“, “I don’t measure up“, “Nobody loves me”; they blame and shame themselves. On the other hand, those who tend to have a man-made “pedestal” mindset say things like: “I’m in control”, “I’m always right”, “I don’t need anybody”; they blame and shame others. These mindsets, although very different from each other, both have “self” at the core. Neither pit nor pedestal will ever provide a firm foundation for standing.
But then, there is a not-of-the-flesh power that we as Christians inherit through faith; if only we would live by it! Fellow believers, His Spirit is alive in us! When we realize, like the paralytic, that we can do nothing in and of our own strength, and when we decide, like Peter (at first), to fix our eyes only on Jesus, then and only then, can we stand steady in His strength. His power, not our own, makes our feet firm and our foundation solid so that we can do all we were created to do, for His glory.
So friend, ask the Almighty One to pull you out of your pit before you’re covered, or ask the Exalted One to help you to step down from your pedestal before you fall. Allow Him to set your feet upon the solid rock so that you can do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that you ask or think according to the power that works within you. (Eph. 3:20) It’s how Peter walked on water; it’s how the paralytic skipped home; and it’s how you can perseveringly run the race set before you. (Hebrews 12:2) Yes, with Him you will run and not grow weary, you will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of may waters… He brought me forth also into a broad place… for by Him I can run upon a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. (Ps. 18:16, 19,29)