It was so exciting to see so many people respond to the challenge of stepping out of the boat on Sunday. There is no doubt that incredible things happen when we decide to stop taking our Christianity casually and go ‘all in’ with it.
Our commitment as a church, is to do all we can to help you as you look to trust God more, so I just wanted to share a few quick thoughts about how you can now make true on your decision to step out of the boat. If you ever want to talk, or have someone to get alongside you, just shout out and we can help make things happen.
When it comes to stepping out of the boat, it is essential that we need to understand that doing so looks different for each of us. Not everyone is called to be a missionary, a pastor, or to establish a non profit organisation. Our responsibility isn’t to try to respond to the call God has put on someone else’s life, but rather to embrace the call God has put on our life.
What makes this hard, is often we don’t know the call God has for us. Sometimes God makes things clear – like, as David shared on Sunday, to start a band and perform in very secular venues, to plant a church, or become a children’s pastor. However in most cases, we don’t get that level of clarity right off the bat. Yet what we do know is that Scripture makes a couple of things clear and it is these things we are best to focus on. I’ve found as people focus on these, the more clarity they find they get.
- We are called to pursue holiness.
If you want to step out of the boat, the first thing to get really serious about is the sin in your life. Is there a level of sin in your life you have grown comfortable with? Is there certain sin you continue to hold onto even though you know you shouldn’t? Maybe you’ve tried to break free previously, but haven’t been able to. The best way to get real with your sin, is to talk to someone about it. Forgiveness comes when we talk to God and ask for it. Yet healing is often found when we open up to people. This is uncomfortable, this is scary, this is what getting out of the boat is like. Unfortunately there are so many Christians sitting in churches not experiencing the freedom Christ promised and died for because we are unwilling to get uncomfortable and be open with someone. Don’t be that person. Talk. Open up. You’ll be amazed how many others are battling with the same thing. The devil’s greatest tick is making you think you’re the only one. and that you’re the outcast. You’re not. I assure you.
- We are called to love people.
All people. Old, young, rich, poor, forgotten, famous. We are called to love them. Loving people means getting uncomfortable. It is uncomfortable because it means accepting all people – just as they are.
I don’t know about you, but I find it easy to accept people who think like me, act like me. But much harder to do so to people who aren’t like me. It means me getting uncomfortable as it’s much easier for me to have conversations with people like me. It’s uncomfortable when I don’t know what to say, or ask. Yet, loving people begins with accepting people. All people. All people are made in the image of Christ. Jesus died for each individual. Therefore everyone, everyone, has significant value.
Loving people requires us to be inclusive. Living inclusively makes you very vulnerable because others often don’t return the acceptance you show, or the friendship you extend. This hurts. Rejection sucks. Yet we are called to love.
Furthermore, loving people is uncomfortable because loving also requires generosity. You can be generous without being loving, but you can’t love without generosity. We’d rather hold onto what is ours, than to give it away. We can easily give what is surplus to our requirements – what is excess, but it’s harder to give sacrificially. To have saved hard to get that new car, TV, holiday, only to give it away. Yet this is what love often requires.
Have you made a commitment to get out of the boat? If so, you’ve committed to getting uncomfortable, so go accept others, include others and be generous towards others. Whoever those others are.
How do we go about doing these two things?
By connecting to God. We need to stay close with Jesus. Prayer, reading scripture, meditating on it. Taking time to worship. To get around others who will encourage us, stir us towards good works. When we connect to the vine, we will see fruit produced. We will walk in step with the Spirit.
When we want to pursue holiness, it’s not enough to simply try to stop doing certain things. If we try to stop something, that something is what we are continuously focused on and we find ourselves right back doing the very thing we were determined not to do. Rather, if we focus on what we should do we will find we fill up our lives with so much goodness there is less room for sin to get a hold. I love this definition of holiness – a life wholly devoted to God! When we wholly devote ourselves to Him, there is little room for anything else.
If we want to love others, we need to rely on the love of God. When we can tap into His unending, unconditional, perfect love for us, we are then free to love others despite how they treat us.
It’s very simple, yet extremely difficult – but so is stepping out of the boat. Simple yet difficult.