There are places in every one of our lives, where we struggle, feeling frustrated and powerless, sometimes angry, ashamed, defeated and depressed . . . and yet we are told that, “whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
I’m beginning to understand this incredible truth. How often have I longed for relief, praying for God to alleviate my adversity, when my immediate way out has been right at hand? God’s rescue of me from pain and danger does not depend on what someone else does — but on God creating that nature in me that has the capacity to walk through difficulty victoriously.
I began this book heartsick, because of one area of failure in my life, making me desperate for God’s power to walk above what kept defeating me. God gave me the story of Peter being called out of the boat to walk on the stormy sea.
The vision of Jesus walking on water flooded Peter 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.
God wants me 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 affects me?
God had been waiting for that moment. Far from celebrating His incandescent power bearing Peter across the surface of the sea, Jesus mourned its brevity. It was 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 us has slipped back into oblivion.
In my last two messages, I’ve described the incredible phenomenon of God calling forth a new creation out of mankind . . . a new man giving incandescent expression to Jesus’ sinless nature, having His mind, walking in His power.
Matthew’s record of Peter’s water-walking shows us that brief incandescent moment, when Peter entered a new sphere of existence. We have to understand that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been strategically moving toward this for a very long time. The long-awaited promise was dawning. Something huge was at stake. . . and for one moment, as Peter walked upon the face of the stormy sea, the universe beheld that which is born of God.
Jesus’ “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” reveals the frustration he felt as Peter reverted to his old nature . . . telling me that He must feel that same frustration . . . when the surpassing greatness of his power is not revealed because I do not believe.
Ephesians 1:18, 19
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.
Like Peter, we have moments when we believe, moments when incandescent faith takes over, moments when what is born of God leaps into being within us. Those are the moments when we walk on water, when we no longer operate out of our blighted nature but out of the nature God has birthed in us.
It is amazing to see this transformation bringing victory where victory hasn’t been before. In the midst of the storm, God’s power comes to save me . . . not by stilling the sea. . . but by birthing a new nature in me, capable of walking in His exquisite power to overcome.
My friend, Julie, is amazed by how clearly she is beginning to distinguish between those moments when she is operating out of her old nature and the increasing breakthroughs of the new in her life. Aching to be done with the old and to walk in the new, she kept finding herself reverting, trying to fix her old man instead.
It is impossible to fix our old man. We have to put him off, like old ruined clothing . . . in order to step into the new. Putting off the old nature to put on the new can be accomplished in the blink of an eye . . . or it can take all the rest of our lives. How long it takes depends on us.
Waste no time trying to fix what is broken
. . . put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
. . . put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him
Julie had witnessed the transformation in others and wanted the same for herself, but she kept reverting . . . trying to fix what was broken in her. Finally she told God she couldn’t bear it any more, asking Him to teach her how to be done with the old so that she could walk in the new. God answered her prayer.
He showed Julie the flawed thinking that was exerting its influence on her.
Wrong thinking creates wrong being in our soul, keeping us in our old man. When we entertain fallacy and untruth, when we come under the corrupting influence of a lie, when we listen to a voice other than God’s, when believe what contradicts the word of God, when we brood, when we nurse a grudge . . . the old nature dominates. Where flawed thinking prevails, that which is born of God cannot be.
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God (1 John 5:1), BUT no one who is born of God practices sin, because God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. . . anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:9-10)
The church is full of us — people like me and Julie — who believe that Jesus is the Christ, yet sorrow over the right being (righteousness) that eludes us. The word does not lie. We have received that nature which is born of God. But we keep reverting to the woundedness, selfishness, need for control, and lack of love in our old nature, why?
God showed Julie that she reverted to the old nature when her thinking was flawed.
Where flawed thinking prevails, that which is born of God cannot be.
Think of Eve, in the garden, having never thought a false thought until the day the serpent began to twist the truth to her. She listened, opening herself to the suggestion that God was trying to keep her from the knowledge of good and evil to hold her back from becoming like Him . . . and she came into agreement with the serpent’s suggestion . . . surely if she ate the fruit so appealing to her eye, she would not die. As Eve entertained the contradiction of God’s word, listening to untruth, she came under the influence of poisoned words.
It is an incontrovertible principle of our being: where flawed thinking prevails, that which is born of God cannot be. The moment Eve ceased to trust God, His incandescence ceased to be, and a nature alien to the life of God took over in her.
This helps to explain why we continue to suffer defeat in some areas of our life. Those are the places where our reasoning is off, where we are under the influence of lies we believe and grudges we nurse . . . keeping us offended and wounded in our fallen nature. But how do we get out of the old nature into what is born of God?
Flawed reasoning is like a helmet. And when you have it on, you think exactly like it tells you, you see the world through its mind-set, and you are sure that what you think and how you see things is true. As long as that helmet’s on, you can see no other way.
It takes a miracle for God to bring us out from under the influence of the lie we believe. When God showed Julie her flawed thinking, Julie experienced an act of God.
In that miraculous moment, something flashed between them — a word, like Jesus’ “Come” to Peter. In that instant, God’s word began to exert its influence on Julie, lighting her mind, heart, spirit and soul with the incandescence of that nature born of God.
1 Peter 1:23
for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
In obedience to the truth we purify our souls. (1 Peter 1:22)
The new man, the new creation, the new nature infusing our soul — it is born of God in us — when we come under the influence of His word, believing and obeying its truth.
“Believing is the exercise of the soul to keep itself under the influence of The Spirit and the word of God.” Andrew Murray
Julie and I are learning together how to walk more consistently in the new nature we both crave. Our part is to exercise our soul to keep ourselves under the influence of God’s Spirit and word . . . for by the exertion of His word upon us, God births and maintains the incandescent nature of His new creation in us.
Born of God . . . no hope, no glory, no mystery or power is more incredible to me And it must be paramount to God. Think how long He has worked, how patiently He has waited, and to what expense He has gone to bring forth sons of God born of Him.