How do you respond when God’s calls you to step out in faith?
Maybe like me, you LOVE the idea of the adventure, but the actual moving out of your comfort zone is frightful.
Or perhaps rather than hesitating, you jump full in, but quickly become aware that when you step out, sinking is a possibility.
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Regardless of how we respond, we are all faced with stepping out of our comfort zones at some point.
God rarely keeps us in the same season for long, because His desire is for us to grow and to depend on Him.
He has plans to prosper us, but that requires our participation.
I was reminded of this very thing as I read from Matthew 14 this morning.
The disciples were on a boat far at sea when a strong wind came up against them. The boat was being battered by the waves when Jesus comes walking up on the water. As you can imagine, they were terrified. They thought He was a ghost. Yet His voice told them otherwise.
He tells them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter, one of the disciples, decides to take a step out in faith to pursue the Master, but he needed a little more confirmation that it was truly Him.
Let’s take a look at their exchange:
Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?” Matthew 14:28-31 MSG
It’s easy for us to look at Peter in this situation and ridicule His actions. Jesus was standing right in front of Him!
Yet how many times have we heard God’s voice, we know it’s Him, yet we shrink back in the fear of what ifs?
As I read through this story again, I recognized 4 things that can help us to move forward when we are stepping out in faith and obedience to God.
4 Things to Remember When You’re Stepping out in Faith
We can move forward in the face of fear
When hearing from God, we have to be willing to step out in faith, in the face of fear.
The very essence of stepping out in faith, means that we probably won’t have all the answers.
In my experience of hearing God speak to me, He’s never given me a complete picture.
He’s always given me one step at a time or an overarching vision without all the details.
If we had all the details, it wouldn’t require faith and dependency on Him.
I love that Peter confirmed it was Jesus speaking to Him and then He moved forward.
He could have hesitated, contemplating how he would actually walk on water or which side of the boat to get out on, yet he chose to just step out.
Sometimes we have to just get out of the boat.
As an analytical person, that can be difficult for me.
I lay out all of the details, consider all possible outcomes and then decide whether it’s safe (or logical) to move forward.
This exercise is great in the natural sense. But God’s ways are not our ways. When we try to make sense of everything He tells us to do, logic quickly turns into doubt.
Trust God’s Word to you
Peter knew who was in front of Him. He confirmed it was Jesus. Knowing that He called him to step out gave Peter the confidence to move forward.
You may be thinking, “Well, I think God is speaking to me, but honestly I’m not sure.”
When we doubt God has spoken, we will be hesitant to step out.
So how can we recognize if it’s God speaking?
- Seek godly counsel
When I hear God speaking, especially if it’s something that can produce significant change in my life, I always run it by godly counsel.
Having outside perspective can help confirm God’s voice to us.
A few things about godly counsel:
- Choose someone you trust and know has your best interest at heart. I would caution you to not share God’s vision for you with just anyone. The wrong person can discourage you because of their own lack of faith, jealousy or insecurities.
- Be open to hearing their perspective on what you heard. When we hear from God, it comes through our own grid. We may have a general idea of what God has told us, but we can quickly start creating our own detailed list of how it should play out. This can cause doubt and disappointment if God doesn’t work in the way we expected. Having that outside perspective can keep us focused on the original vision God gave us.
- God’s word to us individually will never contradict His written Word. If someone gives you advice or thoughts that are contrary to God’s Word, it may be wise to choose different counsel.
- Prayer/ the Written Word
I always like to pray and read the Bible when I hear God speaking to me. God is faithful and He wants to talk to us. I don’t believe He gets offended by our wanting confirmation of what He’s speaking to us.
Let me clarify: If what God’s speaking to us is in His written Word, we don’t need confirmation. We can hold His written Word as complete truth. However, for things like a career change, who to marry, whether to move forward with a business deal, etc. it’s wise for us to seek confirmation. It’s during these times that I’ll pray and read the Bible to hear Him more clearly. As I do this, God will usually give me a verse or written truth from His Word to hold onto, based on what He is calling me to do.
Keep your eyes on Jesus
One lesson we can learn from Peter, is that when we step out in faith, we have to keep our eyes on Jesus. If we let our circumstances take our eyes off of Jesus, we can be overwhelmed by what’s in front of us or begin to rely on ourselves to do His work. There have been many times I’ve stepped out in faith, totally depending on God, but I quickly moved from total dependency on Him to self reliance. The quickest way to sink is to rely on our own strength to do something God has called us to do. We need Him.
Paul says it so perfectly in this verse:
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Philippians 2:13 NLT
We move forward in His power, and we are sustained in His strength. When we lose focus of where our power and strength come from, we can get off course.
Know His eyes are always on You
The revelation of knowing that God’s eye is always on us is so comforting.
It gives us the ability to step out, the courage to face fears, and the comfort to know we are heading in the right direction.
When we don’t know the details of what God is calling us to do, we can become afraid that we will make mistakes and “mess up” His plan.
But the truth is, God is always watching us.
Here’s what His Word says:
- We have the Holy Spirit as our Guide
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:13 ESV
- He will direct our path
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8 NLT
- He will always watch over us
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. Psalm 121:8 NLT
Are you ready to step out in faith? Rather than letting fear consume us we can choose to step out in faith, remembering to keep our eyes on Him and that His eyes are always on us.
If fear is a constant battle for you, join us for the #FromFeartoFreedomtour to gain encouragement and practical tips on how to live a bolder and braver life!
**This post is part of a 30 day blog tour called From Fear to Freedom. You can find all the other posts here.**