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- Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him (Luke 8:22-25)
The Christian life is more than religion—do’s and don’ts. The Christian life is a relationship with Jesus. It is a constant daily walk with Jesus. There are certain things that will definitely show in the life of anyone who is walking with Jesus. The term Christian simply indicates a follower of Christ. The word first appeared in the Bible in Acts 11:26. Can people observe and without you telling them, they will acknowledge by themselves that this is a Christian? Like we say in pidgin English, “eno be mouth mouth”. Truly, Christianity “no be mouth mouth”, people should be able to just look at us and acknowledge we are Christians. Are you a “mouth mouth” Christian or you genuinely portray what Christ stands for?
With the scriptures quoted above, let us walk through a few things I believe will mark a walk with Jesus.
- vs 22. Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth
Note the statement “…Let us go over unto the other side…” This statement denotes change from one place to the other. As Christians, our walk with Jesus should bring significant changes in our lives. Whatever state of life we are in, Jesus always calls us up to higher places. “…Come up…and I will shew thee things… (Rev 4:1). You can’t walk with Jesus and remain in your old, bad way of life. With Jesus, bad behaviour, bad attitudes, bad ways of doing things should give way to good behaviours, good attitudes and good ways of doing things. This is not legalism. This is the convicting work of the Holy Spirit who always prompts and nudges us about things that need to be worked on in our lives. As Christians, our daily interaction with others should always improve. “Going unto the other side” should be the desire of every believer.
Don’t be complacent. Wherever you are now in life , there is an “other side”. Walking with Jesus should produce a passion in us to improve and be better persons. Don’t settle for less. Every Christian should aspire for change. Are you not amazed at the constant changes occurring around you in business, technology, medicine, science and etc? My first car was a VW Jetta 4. I loved it till I saw the new model. Though it was the same model, the difference was so vast. Look at mobile phones and the revolution they are going through. These natural phenomenon should teach us great lessons as Christians.
Change is a constant of life and God demands strongly we aspire for change as Christians.
- Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them (Isaiah 42:9).
- Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:18-19)
2. LAUNCH OUT
- vs 22c “…And they launched forth…”
- But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves (James 1:22)
It is not enough to aspire and talk about Change. After, talking, we have to launch out. To launch out simply means taking-off or taking actions about the things we believe God is telling us. The changes we desire in our lives have to be worked at. They have to be backed with action. You can’t walk with Jesus and be lazy at the same time. Change is not a mere wish. Change is not chance. Change is deliberately worked at.
If all of us who Christians will launch out and implement what we believe, there will be great results in our individual lives and in our communities at large. When Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 that “let your light so shine before men…” I believe what He meant was that live out what you believe. Christian men and women, launch out! Live what you believe. In business, let your light shine. In politics, let your light shine. In leadership, let your light shine.
Are you walking with Jesus? Then launch out and do what He said you should do.
- vs 23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
- We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
This is not popular theology, but it is a fact. Our walk with Jesus opens us up for life challenges. Jesus Himself said it clearly in John 16:33.
- …In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Christianity is not “immunity” from challenges. It is not a bed of roses. In fact, the more I desire to walk with God, I have come to realise that it is not an easy walk at all especially the moment you desire to see changes in your life. That moment you desire to step out and be different, you get attention from the devil. It seems to me that “life is not interested in you” when you are not desiring any change. “Life will not mind you” so long as you are living a normal life. But the day and moment a desire for change swells up in your heart, “life becomes interested in you” and throws out all the challenges and storms. You see, the disciples were having it easy without any struggles with a storm, until Jesus instructed that they go to the other side.
In Christ, there are still challenges, struggles, disappointments and storms to go through. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19) Look closely at the scripture. “ But as they sailed he(Jesus) fell asleep…” Sometimes, God does seem silent on our issues, in fact, sometimes the more the “heat” intensifies, the more we feel God’s distance. In such situations, don’t give up. Keep believing.
Don’t expect an easy walk with Christ. “The kingdom of God suffereth violence…” (Matthew 11:12). Brace yourself for some “violent” occurrences as you walk with Jesus and in your attempt to cross over to the other side.
- My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience (James 1:2-3).
- Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you (1 Peter 4:12).
4. DEPENDENCE ON GOD
- vs 24a And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish…
- Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil (Proverbs 3:5-7)
I have indicated already that walking with Jesus is a relationship. In this relationship, we have to learn to depend on God. Don’t ever come to a point in your life as a Christian where you leave God of the equation of your life. Mind you, amongst the disciples were experienced fishermen who should know their trade enough to be able to handle the storm. But I believe this particular storm was beyond their experience. Don’t become too experienced in life that you leave God out in your decisions. Pray about EVERYTHING. Seek God’s face on every issue before you act. Experience should not be your first point of call. God should be your first point of call.
Check out something from 1 Samuel 30:3-8)
- 3. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. 4. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5. And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 6. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 7. And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. 8. And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.
In this scripture, David returned from another battle only to come and meet his “home” ransacked and destroyed. This guy is a warrior, to me, his first point of call should be to first give the enemy a “hot” chase and rescue his people. But, as experienced a warrior he was, “…David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop?” In my mind, I am like, David, for heaven’s sake, you don’t need to ask God this question. Just pursue. But then I suddenly realised that there could be the possibility of God saying “don’t pursue, just relax, I will bring them back” David’s question doesn’t indicate someone who doesn’t know what to do. His question was a sign of depending on God in every decision he takes.
Let me say it again. Don’t let experience be your first point of call. God should be your first point of call. Dependence on God manifests in two ways.
- “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess. 5:17)
- “…men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1)
- And he said unto them, where is your faith…? (Luke 8:25a)
- But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).