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Friday, April 24, 2015

Hindrances To Faith: Looking At Our Surroundings And Not To The Fixed Promises Of Jesus

Mat 14:31  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

The pivot word in this question is "wherefore." Doubt should have a sufficient reason for it. Neither Peter nor any other has been able to find a satisfactory answer to this all-piercing "wherefore " of Jesus.

The implication is, God could allow us to doubt if we had sufficient reason for it. 

The unbelief of the human heart startled and amazed Jesus at every turn. It was like the air on the frozen polar sea, that pierced His sensitive nature on every side.

God made man to believe, organized his whole being on that line, launched him out in such a sea of relationships with nature and the supernatural, with his fellows, with the past and future, that he could not exist, could never plant nor reap, never give nor receive testimony, in fact, never do anything of import, except by the exercise of a measure of faith.

Doubt is no part of our original constitution, and can never be explained, except on the basis of a terrible calamity in our moral nature.

God has never deceived human beings, never played fast and loose with the hopes and fears of His creatures.

The greatest reason for Peter's doubt was the remaining carnality in his soul, which prompted an uneasy fear in such a sudden emergency of danger.

But while carnality is the root of unbelief, there are some other considerations which will enable us to explain it.

I. One hindrance to faith is that of looking at our surroundings, and not to the fixed promises of Jesus.

In the incident of the text we have an example of the power of our surroundings versus the power of the promise of God. 

There were two things upon which Peter might fix his attention; one was the word " come," uttered by the Saviour, the other was the waves of water.

Peter was not destitute of faith, for he asked the Lord to bid him walk on the sea.

He felt an inward inclination to go out to Christ on the water, but wanted the authority of the Master's word like a plank under his feet to authorize him in doing so; and that sublime inward prompting which was evidently of God, never broke down until his eyes were diverted to take in the danger of the waves.

Here we have the conflict in every life, that between the prompting of the inward Spirit to trust God without reserve, and that of the senses which survey the instability of outward things. 

It is a battle between the invisible truth and the visible shadow, the stability of the rock and the motion of the sea. 

The appearance of the waves and the significance of the word " come," were to human reason directly the opposite of each other.

Through all ages, the waves had never failed to drown, and on the other hand, God's word had never deceived any one; so here were two invariable things that met' as opposites; the only question was, which of these invariables was the stronger; which law should have the precedence, that of gravity or that of the word of God?

The word "come," from the lips of Jesus, had more authority than all the rolling seas, for it was the power of His simple word that set every sea in motion. 

The water had the appearance of power, but in the word of Jesus was the real power.

Most of our life is illustrated by this incident. We live on a rolling sea, we are repeatedly shut up to the alternative of trusting either the appearance of things or the invisible truth of God.

If we listen to the blowing of the wind, it will shut out the omnipotent voice of Jesus.

If we look at the white-capped waves of circumstance, we shall not see the outstretched hand of Jesus.

Each of us must come for himself to a fixed, irreversible decision, as to which is reality, the wave or the word, and fasten ourselves to unchangeable truth.

~G. D. Watson~

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