Twice in two weeks. Until recently, I had never stumbled and fallen. Oh, I've tripped and stumbled alright - but never to the point of falling. Until recently.
And I have bruises to prove it. Am I getting older? Ummm - isn't everybody? Not the point.
Do I need to SLOW down? Absolutely! And so do you.
SLOW Livin' is my mantra. Straight out of God's Word. Deuteronomy 10:12-13 requires followers of Jesus to SLOW down by fearing God.
Observe His Commands.
Walk in all His Ways.
Fearing God is not to be afraid of God - rather it's an awe of who He is and what He's capable of doing. It's revering God for all the miraculous things He does but also fearing what happens when a follower of Jesus takes their eyes off their Master.
Peter was a guy who followed Jesus closely. Peter was a guy who feared God. Peter was a guy who revered God and even had a front row seat for all the miraculous things he saw his Lord do while Jesus was God-with-skin-on. Feeding 5000 hungry men with a boy's happy meal [5 loaves of bread & 2 fish] is one of those miraculous moments when Peter feared God; Peter was livin' SLOW. Why, there were even leftovers and all bellies were full!
Then...Peter stumbled. It wasn't his first tumble and it wouldn't be his last. But he got it. Peter got it. He understood why he stumbled and what caused it.
1 Peter 2:8 a stone that causes men to stumble.
Have you ever spiritually stumbled?
Dear Stumbling Disciple and Follower of Jesus - I have good news for you: your stumbles are meant to get you back on your following-feet again.
Peter learned some valuable lessons as he stumbled.
Immediately following the feeding of those 5000 hungry men, Jesus needed some alone time with God so He sent the disciples across the lake ahead of Him while He stayed alone to pray. As the boat was crossing the lake it was being buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Jesus noticed their struggle, He was aware of their fear and He went to them. He walked out to them. He walked on the water to them.
Ok...so right about now is when you get all excited. Your belly should be dancing, your eyes almost flickering, your heart rate increasing, palms on the verge of sweating. JESUS WALKED ON WATER!!!!! What?!?!?!?! That's crazy. That's amazing! That's miraculous. Anytime you read about Jesus doing the extraordinary; anytime you witness Jesus doing the extraordinary you should have a reaction.
Jesus walks out to that boat full of fearful followers. Then Peter impulsively requests [demands, pleads, tells, asks] Jesus for a turn at walkin' on water. Jesus says, "Come." There are no directions, He doesn't hand Peter a how-to-walk-on-water manuel. He just says Come.
Matthew 14:29b-30 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."
A follower of Jesus stumbles.
Followers of Jesus stumble when they go from a buffet [the food kind] to a buffet [the wind kind] immediately.
Peter has been following Jesus closely “he's watched up close and personal how Jesus healed the sick, made the lame walk, the blind see, the dead arise; Peter has heard His Lord preach about godly living, loving, giving" Peter has had a front row seat at a BUFFET of miraculous activity and yet, this following disciple stumbles...immediately after witnessing the feeding of the 5000. He's in a boat in a windstorm where the waves are BUFFETING all around. Be very careful you're not so consumed with the buffet that you miss when the winds are about to buffet your boat.
Peter began to stumble when he thought Jesus wasn't paying attention.
Followers of Jesus stumble when they assume Jesus isn't there or that He's unaware.
Peter was afraid when the storm blew in and Jesus wasn't there, in the boat. That's Peter perspective. Just because you think it doesn't make it true. Jesus was fully aware of the storm, the winds, Peter's fear even if Peter didn't think He was. Even when Jesus began to walk towards him on the water Peter was afraid. Who else would be walkin' on water? [insert prior miraculous acts here]
Followers of Jesus stumble when they can't recognize Jesus through the winds and the waves.
Have you ever heard Jesus loves you right where you are? And it's true. But it's not complete. I like - Jesus loves you right where you are but He loves you too much to leave you there.
14:27 Jesus doesn't leave Peter in his fear. He loves him too much to leave him there! Jesus knows Peter needs encouragement, he needs his focus fixed, his fear calmed. So Jesus speaks into Peter's storm, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
14:30 BUT when Peter saw the wind.
Followers of Jesus stumble when they take their eyes off Jesus.
Peter stumbled when he lost focus; he stumbled when he looked at the wind. He had his eyes locked on Jesus and he walked on water. He shifted his gaze for a second and he began to sink. He wasn't afraid of the wind when he was walking on the water he was afraid when he lost perspective and took his eyes off Jesus.
I've lost perspective before. And I've stumbled because of it. Like Peter who repeated Isaiah that Jesus is the Stone that causes men to stumble, I am actually grateful for the times Jesus causes me to stumble because He loves me too much to leave me tripped up; He loves me too much when I face plant; He loves me too much to leave me knocked down...so He causes me to stumble so that He can get me SLOW livin' once again.
Serve God Love God Observe His Commands Walk in all His Ways
Followers of Jesus should know who to call out to when they stumble.
Matthew 14:30 "Lord, save me"
Peter knew. He called on Jesus when he stumbled.
14:31 "Immediately, Jesus reached out and caught Peter"