What we say to you is completely useless if you don’t choose to pick it up and run with it individually. For the most part, we could tell you all day, “Go tell the world about Jesus”, but until you make the decision in your heart to get up and actually do something about it, our words are empty and useless as far as you’re concerned.
I don’t think it’s because y’all don’t understand how important it is; I also don’t think it’s because you don’t want to, as I’ve met plenty of students whose hearts truly do hurt for the lost. But there’s something missing in the gap between us telling you to spread the word and your actually doing it. That’s courage.
The hard part about courage is that we can’t teach it to you. You make the decision in your heart to be brave. You make the decision to have faith in God. We can’t give that to you. We can’t be courageous for you. But, if you can just place your complete trust within God instead of your own borders, your terrors can become your greatest opportunities.
And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.
First, though, you need to realize that everyone is terrified. Here, even the disciples were terrified. They’d seen massive miracles that had showed tons of hope for the world, yet in the middle of a storm that was beyond their own control and comfort, all of the hope they’d filled themselves with vanished. They filled themselves with terror, looking far out into things that they could not see and into the depths of the storm that they weren’t meant to take care of.
But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.”
Everyone is terrified of something, even people who seem so confident. People who are incredibly good at spreading the word and talking to people weren’t that way immediately. They most likely started off being terrified and not wanting to do that, but the difference was they weren’t going to tolerate being submitted under their condition of fear. They weren’t going to be their fear’s slave, so they made a conscious decision to step out of that fear and once the first step was taken, all of the steps afterwards became easier and easier.
So, whenever Peter calls out to Jesus and tells him to command him to come out on the water, it’s because Peter’s stepped out in faith in baby steps before, making it easy for him to test God in this aspect. Peter also naturally had a humongous amount of moxy, and was sort of like that kid in class who always speaks up, even when he doesn’t really know what he’s doing.
So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus.
One thing that Peter understood that a lot of us miss is that Peter knew God had to provide for Him. Peter’s willingness to throw all of his courage into walking on water was to be matched by God’s willingness to allow him to succeed. We won’t step out in faith to talk to people, or say certain things because we truly don’t believe that God will be there for us. We think, “Yes, God! You told me to do that, but…are You really going to be there with me? Are You really going to let me succeed? I can’t do that…why would You ask me to do something that I can’t physically do? I guess it’s not really You, God,” and immediately short ourselves of all of the things we could do if we only had the faith-knowledge of, “No, God. I believe You told me to do this and I know for a fact that I can’t physically do that. But I also know for a fact that if You really did tell me to do this, You won’t let me fail.” If we truly listen and take things with that sort of faith, what we can do through God is completely unlimited.
But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Don’t let your courage falter. The second Peter started focusing away on something beside God, he no longer had the ability to do what he couldn’t normally. The second he focused elsewhere was the second where his human ability failed him. Once you have your courage, keep it secure. Stay on the path that He has laid out right in front of you. Never take your eyes away from your goal, which is Christ. If you finally muster up courage to talk about Christ to your friends and start looking other directions during that conversation, you’re going to forget why you started talking to them in the first place. The importance of it will fade, because you’ve forgotten why you found it important in the first place.
But even if you do, He will immediately catch you. Just as He immediately told the disciples who He was, He also immediately caught Peter after he doubted. He will immediately catch you falling out of your courage if you let Him. But your courage’s basis will always need to be that He is there for you. He is right there, waiting for you out in the storm. He’s right there, letting you walk towards Him. And He’s going to be right there to catch you if you fall.
The reason we have so many problems trusting God to step out of our comfort zone for anything is because we don’t believe that He truly is right there. We don’t believe He will catch us and we think, “If you’re not going to be there to catch me, why should I leave my safety-net life? Then I’ll have nothing to catch me.” We tell ourselves lies that stifle our ability to do infinitely more than we could think or imagine. We leave our trust of God within nice little parameters and borders, never truly trusting Him completely. God hasn’t called us to live that way and as long as we do, we’ll be putting our lives within nice little parameters and borders. God can’t take us into our complete glory until we choose to leave our man-made glory and begin to walk with Him in courage. Ultimately, courage is our choice.