Day 44: Enduring Storms
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord save me!” -Matthew 14:29
Peter became distracted by the dangers around him. He took his focus off of Jesus and instead became concerned by the threats that appeared would harm him. The moment he did so, those very worries swallowed him and he sank into them. Are we not guilty of the same shortcomings that Peter faced? When troubles or temptations come our way, we quickly lose sight of Christ and sink back into sin.
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! -1 Corinthians 10:12
In his first letter to the church of the Corinthians, Paul was writing to warn them about repeating the history of Israel - a nation that continued to fall back into sin time and time again. As we have discussed in earlier lessons, people have notoriously bad memory and make the same mistakes repeatedly. God's people have a history of falling into the same sins. (See Proverbs 26:11) We must learn to stay focused on Christ despite the troubles that surround us. But how can we focus on Jesus when we cannot see him?
THE STORMS OF LIFE
Peter was standing directly in front of Jesus when he stumbled and began to sink. How much easier is it for those of us following in faith to sink back into sin? Peter was consumed by fear in his moment of weakness. For those struggling with sin, it may be fear, but it may also be many other things that cause us to take our eyes of of Christ.
In my past struggles, the allure of sexual temptation drew me away. Much like Peter, I was fine for a time, standing firm and walking on water so-to-speak. Sin came at me like a tidal wave and I became distracted (even if only for a moment) long enough to sink into the depths of that sinful ocean. Sticking with this metaphor, we can see that Christ was walking on the thing that Peter (and the other disciples for that matter) feared. These were seasoned sailors, weathering many storms throughout their lives and yet they were afraid. In the same way, perhaps you are a strong believer with a knowledge of scripture and an understanding of grace. You’ve seen many storms in your life and yet you are still overwhelmed by the temptation set before you. My friend, Christ is walking on top of your sin because he alone has overcome it. By simply setting our eyes on him, we can “walk” on our sin as well.
Sometimes we find ourselves entangled in sin that feels too dark for God to possibly rescue us from. Yet God reassures his people that there is no place he will not go with those who love him. In Joshua 1:9 God was speaking to Joshua after Moses had passed away. Moses had been their leader for many years and now there were many fears and unknowns surrounding the future of Israel. Years later, David proclaimed how important it is to know God during times of great struggle and difficulty:
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. -Psalm 9:10
Psalm 9:10 was a song written by David called “The Death of the Son.” David was not only praising God for His faithfulness, but also proclaiming how important it was to know God during times of great struggle and difficulty.
THE COVENANT OF OUR EYES
In previous lessons, we have discussed how it is important to have a covenant (a mutual and binding promise) with our eyes to not look at anything lustfully. Since the time of Abraham, the forefather of the Christian faith, God has made and kept covenants with his people. The so-called "first covenant" was the agreement between God and the nation of Israel. God swore to be the God of Israel - to establish and protect them - so as long as they kept God's laws. It quickly became evident, however, that no one was able to keep the perfect laws God had established. We were unable to hold up our end of the bargain. Luckily for us, Christ came to establish a new covenant, freeing us from the confines of the old one:
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. - Hebrews 9:15
What are the terms of this new covenant? Luckily, its pretty simple. If we accept Jesus' sacrifice for ourselves - a debt we were unable to pay, he will free us from our sin and give us eternal life starting right then and there. The story of Peter walking to Jesus on the water is a perfect example of this covenant. As long as we fix our gaze on Christ, he is faithful to keep us free from the entanglement of sin.
Day 44 Application
Why did Peter sink? Where has your focus been?
Have you ever felt that your struggle with sexual sin was a storm that you'd never get through? According to what we've looked at today, explain why this way of thinking is false.
How have you seen God at work in your life the past few days? Do you have any sense of what he is leading you towards?
How has your accountability been going? Since the last lesson, how have you been with maintaining your sexual purity?