Sunday, January 3, 2010

By Passing the Self-Sufficient

And after bidding them farewell, He (Jesus) departed to the mountain to pray. And when it was evening, the boat (with the 12) was in the midst of the sea, and He was alone on the land. And seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were frightened. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, "Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid." And He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were greatly astonished, Mark 6:46-51 NASV

I was in a conversation with some female friends and we were discussing the differences between men and women. We came to the conclusion that men find it more difficult in the daily nitty-gritty’s to call on the Lord for help. Of course that is a broad generalization and I am sure there are exceptions. I think all of us can fall into a sense of self-sufficiency especially in areas where we are gifted or have experience.

We see from our Scripture that Jesus sent his disciples ahead so that He could be alone on the mountain. Several of them were fishermen so rowing across the sea shouldn’t be that difficult. But the wind was against them. The word to describe how they were straining in the Greek means torture, pain, torment. They were putting forth incredible effort and getting nowhere. Ever have days like that? Ever given something all that you’ve got and it goes nowhere? It tells us plainly in the text that Jesus saw what was happening to them. He knew they were in a fix. In the midst of their pain and striving Jesus comes walking on the water and Mark tells us that He intended to pass by them. Why would Jesus do that? Well, He always by-passes the self-sufficient. If you don’t think you need His help He will allow you to row until your arms give out and you finally look up and call out. He immediately showed them compassion and calmed their fears. When Jesus got into the boat with them it made all the difference.

What can we take away from this? How long do we struggle and toil before we look up and invite the Lord to get into the boat and exchange His strength for our pitiful self-reliance? He wants us to abide in Him and draw our strength and peace from His presence. Do you realize He delights in being invited into the everyday things of life? Jesus helped Peter with taxes, a family with their wedding, a crowd with their lunch. Sometimes the Lord will bring contrary winds to blow against us so we will come to the end of our own self-effort and self-sufficiency. He sees and He knows, ask Him not to pass you by.

MY PRAYER: Father, forgive me for the times I have gone it alone and not asked for your presence and help. There really is no one who is a greater companion. I don’t want to walk in self-sufficiency for apart from you I can do nothing. In Jesus’ name, amen.

MY CONFESSION: Lord, your yoke is easy and your burden is light. I will learn from you and find rest for my soul. I stand on your Word! Matthew 11:29-30

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