How we receive God’s power into our lives . . .
My heart was heavy because I had failed again. I had thought we had turned a corner, that we were finally able to rest in our relationship with each other. But I was wrong. A few days together and our best efforts began to fall apart as complicated hidden currents maneuvered us onto hidden reefs.
My first morning home, safe and sound in the snowy forest, I went to my quiet time with a grieving spirit. As I prayed, God showed me a picture of her heart wounded by a thorn, which I knew I had put there. And then God showed me myself, like Peter, afloat in a boat on a dark, torpid sea with Jesus standing upon the threatening waves waiting for me. . .
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But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. . . . Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matt 14:24-32, NASU
Making their way laboriously across the lake, the disciples looked up to see something exceeding their wildest imagination: a man walking on water. Terror crawled in the belly of a few of them, who had no category for this. Rubbing their eyes with the rough backs of their fisherman hands, they looked again. Their eyes had not deceived them. All but one slipped into the paralyzing stupor of unbelief. For Peter, however, it was different.
The vision of Jesus walking on water flooded him with intense, inexplicable longing. An agonizing imperative thundered from his deepest recess telling him that somehow he was meant to do this, too. Beyond reason, he felt as if something huge would be irretrievably lost if he did not try. But at the same time, he was terrified.
Jesus’ eyes locked on Peter’s, as untold thoughts flashed across the water between them. Peter needed a word, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
Jesus gave Peter the one word he needed: “Come!”
Gripping the gunnel of the boat, undaunted by the slap of the waves splashing him with cold water, Peter stepped out upon the sea. An ordinary man walked on water, not because he was extraordinary, but because an extraordinary power had taken hold in him. For one incandescent moment that power found expression through him. But then . . . Peter’s focus shifted from His Lord’s “Come” to the wind and the waves. He became frightened and began to sink.
Jesus drew Peter out of the water not with sympathy, but with a rebuke for having so little faith. I understand what He is saying to me.
I have no doubt that Peter actually walked on the face of the sea, surmounting physical laws by accessing higher law. For one incandescent moment a mortal man walked free from the life-long, downward pull exerting itself upon the leaden weight of his body — and human eyes beheld the phenomenon of an ordinary man walking in extraordinary power.
As awesome as it would be to do what Peter did physically, I’m being called to replicate that moment spiritually . . . how much better to look back upon incandescent moments when I walked free from the life-long, gut-churning tumult of my vulnerability exerting its downward pull upon the leaden weight of my soul? . . . how much better if those, who know and love me, saw me walk in the exquisite power in which sin no longer affected me?
I ache, wanting this — ashamed of having sunk beneath the waves, instead of drawing on His power to walk upon the sea.
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Our “sea” is the sorrow and affliction in our life, where we feel most vulnerable and threatened. It is where we have to work the hardest to keep our act together. It solicits the churning negativity in our soul that causes us to dissemble. We learn how to compensate — employing tactics, like small wooden boats, to keep ourselves afloat. But tactics and technique do not quell the sea, having no real power to change our inherent vulnerability. It only takes one well-directed wave to strip us of our poise, to demonstrate our inability to hold our own against the deep, cold and unforgiving darkness of our insecurity. Our “sea” is where we have been hurt or betrayed deeply, where we fear, where we fail, where we do not trust, where we say and do those things for which we will suffer shame later.
Scripture alludes to this “place” of spiritual, emotional and psychological vulnerability — calling it “the sea” — but Scripture also promises God’s power there.
And [the Lord] will pass through the sea of distress and affliction [at the head of His people, as He did at the Red Sea]; and He will smite down the waves of the sea,
Zechariah 10:11, The Amplified Bible
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Our journey into How We Receive God’s Power into our Life begins with a decision on our part of what we are willing to believe. What is possible for us? What does God expect? What is Jesus making possible for us now?
This is about you walking in power from beyond yourself — but you have to decide at the onset what you believe is possible. If you are going to walk in God’s power, it will not happen by accident but by determined purpose as you learn how to collaborate with Him.
God has been waiting for this moment. Far from celebrating that moment when His incandescent power bore Peter across the surface of the sea, Jesus mourned its brevity. It is that important to Him. “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When Peter slipped beneath the waves, Jesus’ heart sank — as it does with us — because the precious evidence of His supernatural power being expressed through an ordinary man has slipped back into oblivion.
The time has come for us to undergo the deep shift in our expectation and anticipation to fully acknowledge the possibility of God’s power finding incandescent expression in us.
Matthew recorded Peter’s water-walking, because he wanted us to know what he had seen: a relationship between Jesus and an ordinary man in which two wills fused — releasing God’s power to transform that man’s relationship with the natural order. In that brief incandescent moment, Peter accessed a new sphere of existence. We have to understand that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has been strategically moving toward this for a very long time. A long-awaited promise has dawned. God is taking back the lost ground that we do not even remember, but which He has never forgotten or given up on.
Something huge is at stake. Jesus’s frustration suggests that as Peter came out from under the influence of His revealed will that day, something that was meant-to-be did not come- to-be.
Right now, in this moment, the same is at stake in you and in me.
Will our determined purpose be to know Jesus in such a way that even more than understanding what He is saying to us in a given moment — we will understand what He is calling us to? Will we resonate with what He wants to do and be in us? Will our will fuse with His?
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
Ephesians 1:18-19, NASU
Matthew’s eyewitness account of Peter walking on water is telling us that the groundwork has been laid so that God’s supernatural power can operate through us, and how frustrating it is for Him when a moment’s success slips back into oblivion as if it never happened.
But are we going to believe this?
Suffused by The Spirit
There are other sources of “power” that we can draw on, to surmount the challenges that face us, that are not necessarily from God. This is why the prophet Zechariah distinguished how His people would experience Yahweh’s power in their lives: His power would become evident to them as they were suffused by His Spirit.
Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD
Zechariah 4:6, RSV
If we long for His power, we need to be suffused by His Spirit. How does this happen? We make a mistake if we think who we are matters more than what we are.
We let ourselves off the hook, telling ourselves that Jesus was God, so of course, WHO HE WAS meant that He automatically had God’s power. BUT Jesus insisted that He had no power in Himself. He was a man, who had divested himself of god-like-powers, to become as reliant on the same means to God’s power as we are. WHAT HE WAS — suffused by the Spirit and utterly obedient to His Father’s will — enabled Him to receive God’s power into His circumstances.
Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
John 5:19-20, NAS
If God’s power is going to be demonstrated in our lives, we need to be two things:
- Like Jesus, and like Peter, we need to be understanding what God’s will is.
- Like Jesus, and like Peter, our will needs to be fused with God’s.
So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Eph 5:17-18, NASU
Jesus understood what his Father was inviting him to join Him in, because he could “see” what His Father was doing. Peter understood what Jesus wanted because of his “Come” spoken across the water.
When our pastor and his wife were both powerfully moved to consider foster care — and then were individually, secretly drawn to the same picture of one boy — they understood who God wanted them to bring into their home.
In the divine dialogue taking place in our life, God is revealing His will for us.
If we are going to be suffused by the Spirit to receive His power into our lives, we have to be understanding what that will of God is (1), so that we can fuse with it (2).
This can be subliminal, intuitive, flowing naturally and instinctively out of our relationship with God — it is not necessarily a rational process — but it does have to take place.
Those who are in the habit of calling the shots in their life, independent of prayerfully seeking God’s input, are not likely to be familiar with the moment by moment surrender of their wills to God’s.
When God’s power is obviously missing, it is imperative to get back into that stream of communication, where God is revealing what He purposes through you, so that in the fusion of your wills you can re-experience the exquisite fullness of being suffused by His Spirit.
As Peter watched Jesus walk toward him on the face of the sea, he experienced the sudden inexplicable longing to walk on water, too. And when Jesus issued His “Come,” everything in Peter ached to comply. Wind and waves and a cold, dark sea pitted themselves against the bright, inexplicable suffusion of power taking place as Peter’s will fused with Gods — enabling him to walk on water.
When Jesus saw what the Father was doing in the broken lives around Him, His heart melted with compassion and longing. And as His will fused with the will of His Father, the Spirit suffused Him with Heaven’s power to heal and make men whole.
Its time has come:
God’s power, finding incandescent expression in us, transforming not only our relationship with the natural order, but also with each other and with Him. God has been forever moving toward this. In Jesus’ coming, its fulfillment dawns. In His presence, eyes and hearts locked, we can walk upon water. . . both you and me.
Something huge is at stake in our willingness to believe.