What is Next?

There is a movie that came out a few years back called Next starring Nicholas Cage.  In the movie, Cage’s character has the ability to see a few minutes into the future allowing him to elude the police, avoid being blown up, and woo his co-star, Jessica Biel.  Have you ever wanted to see into the future even if just for a few minutes?  What would you do with that kind of ability?  Would it change the way you live your life?

Would you use that ability for noble causes like helping your child avoid a painful accident?  Or perhaps you would use it to save someone from making a bad financial decision.  What about preventing the start of an argument that would lead to emotional or physical pain.  Or perhaps you would have less noble causes in mind such as playing the winning numbers just before the lottery is drawn.

What about in the spiritual realm of your life…would you use the ability to help someone avoid a sin in their life?  Or perhaps you might know that there is someone that has an unspoken need and you stop them from doing something they would later regret in order to meet that need.  What about the biggest event that nobody can predict…the return of Christ?  If you could know in advance that he was coming back in just a few minutes, would you put off something until the last moment?  Or would you work feverishly doing His will until the very last second?  The truth is, we can’t see the future.  We don’t know what is next.  The life of the believer is rooted in faith and in the assurance that God is sovereign, trustworthy, faithful, and omnipotent.  We must walk by faith, for there is no other way to truly let Christ be Lord of our life.

In Matthew 14:29 Jesus called out to Peter who was standing safely in the boat out on the sea.  In response to Peter’s request for validation of Christ’s identity, Jesus had just one word of response and command for Peter… “Come”.  Pretty simple.  Not a complicated command.  Come.  So, Peter stepped out of the boat onto the water and started to walk. What would control the heart of a man, so much, that he would step out of a boat and believe that he could walk on water?  Think about the faith that Peter had to take that first step.  Now stop for a moment and think about this; if Peter could have seen just a few minutes into the future, and he saw himself start to doubt and sink, do you think he still would have stepped out of the boat?

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The Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20 starts with the word “Go”.  There is far more to that verse, but it starts with the command to “Go”.  So why do we seem to be in the boat still at times?  We have to be willing to be obedient and go, in faith, knowing that God is has a plan and that He is right beside us through those times when we may start to have doubts.  We cannot go without Christ, any more than Peter could walk on water without faith in Christ.  We have to step out of the boat.  We will never fulfill the work He has for us though, if we do not first “Go” in faith.

 

Another example of deep faith in the Lord is found back in Genesis.  In Genesis 12:1 the Lord spoke to Abram and the Lord told him simply to “Go”.  This was a different kind of command to Go but the test of obedience was no less significant.  God said “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you”.  Basically, he told him to get on the camel and start riding and he would show Abram later where they were going.  Abram’s obedience took simple, deep, demonstrable faith in God.  It is that mustard seed kind of faith.  It is the kind of faith that moves mountains.  It is kind of faith that makes you obey the Lord, uproot from your comfort zone and go, not knowing anything about what the Lord has in store for you.   Have you ever had that kind of faith?  Are you willing to leave all for Him if He asks you to?

I love to see how each of these men of faith responded.  Peter’s response when the Lord told him to “Come” was a model of obedience.  In Matthew 14:29 it says “…Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus”.  He got out of the boat and started walking.  Period.  What was Abram’s response when the Lord told him to “Go…”? Genesis 12:5 says “So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him…”.  Abram immediately went.  There is no indication that there was any hesitation from either of them.  There was no arguing.  No “fleecing” for confirmation.  No negotiations, nagging, or nay-saying.   They just obeyed, walking in faith.  Peter could not see what was going to happen, nor did Abram know what lay in store down the road.  If they could, it would have completely eliminated the need for faith.

In calling Jesus our Lord and Master we have also told Him that we are willing to live this life by faith.  Are you willing, like Peter and Abram, to get out of the boat or to get on the camel and to go forth as the Lord has prompted and commanded you?  Obedience to the leading of the Lord in our lives is evidence of our faith in Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

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