Focus Passage: 2 Corinthians 5:6-8
6Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8but we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
This article is from a sermon I preached to encourage fellow believers. Let’s start with the above passage. All scripture passages are quoted from https://biblehub.com New American Standard. Paul reminds us that we should have “good courage.” We are not at home as believers in this world–read the previous 5 verses of this passage. We walk by faith–not by sight. This is important to consider as we consider Peter as he steps out to meet Jesus. Paul also adds that our preferred place of being is with Jesus not in our temporary life. For more on this subject:
Point 1: Life is temporary and fleeting, we desire a better home Hebrews 11-12/2 Corinthians 5:1-5
Desiring a better home and longing for God purifies us. This concept is all throughout the New Testament. God will purify and draw us closer to Him. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to bring us into storms and troubles that force us to look up to Him. As long as we can manage or arrange our lives for our own comfort, we aren’t really living for or seeking Christ! Our desire for comfort and ease becomes our idol when we seek it above all else.
There is no one in scripture who encounters God who isn’t radically changed. Has God changed or renewed you? God sends Holy Spirit as our pledge (2 Corinthians 5:5). The concept of pledge used here is that of a massive payment made to ensure a debt is paid. Holy Spirit also “seals” us. God doesn’t leave us alone to wander. Holy Spirit convicts, guides, and teaches us (John 16:7-11).
The walk of faith recognizes that our time is short on this earth. We live for Someone far Greater! There is a purpose much greater than our selfish and temporary desires! What are you living for? Who are you living for? Are you content and joyful in your earthly existence? Sometimes it takes a crisis to move us forward in our walk with Christ.
Point 2: God calls us out of the “boat” to walk with Him. Matthew 14:28-31
28Peter responded and said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and when he began to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus reached out with His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When Peter recognizes Jesus his first instinct is to come to Him. Jesus calls Peter to “come.” Peter steps out of the boat and walks on the water! Peter demonstrates faith, but this faith is imperfect as he becomes frightened and looses focus. Jesus doesn’t mock him or let him drown. Instead, when Peter cries out for Jesus to save him, Jesus immediately reaches out and takes hold of him. Do you cry out to Jesus when you start to sink into despair or doubt?
When we are walking toward Jesus, we are exercising faith. Just like Peter, our faith isn’t perfect. We have doubts, fears, insecurities, failures, hurts, and weaknesses. Yet, God calls us to step out and walk to Him. Our problem is that as humans we tend to seek comfort and safety. We don’t trust God or dream big. It’s so easy to make excuses and shrink back instead of stepping out! For an in-depth discussion on what we can learn from Peter:
Not trusting God has severe consequences. Consider Numbers 13-14. The Hebrew people chose to rebel instead of trusting God. God punishes them with forty-years of wandering and death in the desert. Hebrews warns us to be sure that we enter into God’s rest. I wrote about this in a previous blog
Every day we can chose to live for God, trusting in His grace to provide for us or we foolish shrink back from what God is leading us to do. The people’s fear was that they would suffer defeat and death. This happened because they weren’t walking in faith, but by sight. They considered the obstacles instead of God’s Presence and Promise.
Point 3: Our “sight” is short and limited.
God never promises us an easy road. Following Jesus requires courage, sacrifice, and dying to self. God doesn’t promise to make things easier or less stressful. Our world is a fallen, tragic place to dwell. We will suffer loss, face ridicule, and struggle against our own sinful desires. I want you to clearly understand that walking by faith isn’t easy! At times in your life it will be a daily battle to press ahead in faith.
God desires that we become more like Him and less like this fallen world. His promise to us is that He will make us anew! God will renew and transforms us! However, this process takes time, requires spiritual growth, faith, and trust. God often increases faith by sending trials and tests that causes us to depend on Him more or in different ways. This process can be discouraging and frightening. Yet, God is faithful, Perfectly Good, Just, and Righteous!
We can trust in our limited and flawed sense of sight or trust the Holy God who spoke all things into being. God sees the beginning, the middle, and end. Unlike us, He knows how and why everything happens. He is the Master Creator who is arranging and moving things along to His Perfect Plan. We (at best) can only perceive just a little of what is actually transpiring! Nor should we excessively “worry” about all the things of this world. We know from the Gospels and Revelations that God is going to return triumphantly in glory to set things right.
Point 4: God isn’t done with us. Philippians 1:6
6For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus.
Paul is encouraging the believers in Philippi that what God starts He will finish. Simply explained, God begins working in us when He redeems us and works through our life to prepare us for His purposes. The proper term for this is sanctification. Got questions explains this:
God isn’t done with you! No matter how weak, feeble, and fleeting you may feel! It’s God’s Strong Arms that lift us up from the stormy waves of life! Know that God loves and disciplines those who follow Him! The road is long, perilous, and weary, but we will never walk alone. I write these words to encourage you. I daily remind myself of these truths. Sometimes all we can do manage to do is cry out for God to save us. God is delighted to hear our cries!
I write these words as a fellow pilgrim walking a tough path where I too stumble and forget the goodness of God, my prayer for you
9And this I pray, that your love may overflow still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10so that you may discover the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ; 11having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, for the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11