Spiritual Formation

28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship he walked on the water, to go to Jesus (Mt.14:22-33)

Was Peter simply facing a matter of little faith and doubt as Jesus referenced in verse 31? To help answer this, let’s consider the subject of Spiritual Formation. Spiritual formation is a process in which our faith continues to grow as we are shaped by the Word and Spirit of God and aides us in becoming more deeply aware that we are all in need of a redeemer our Lord Jesus Christ. We first read that the disciples were looking out at their trouble, the stormy sea. Spiritual Formation takes place while waiting, looking for the Lord to enter life’s circumstances. In this text the disciples were so frightened it was difficult for them to recognize God’s presence. Still I’m a little intrigued by the disciples believing they were seeing a spirit walking on the water, because “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship Him in the spirit and in truth.”(Jn. 4:24)  Even in the most isolated, stormiest, darkest of times Spiritual Discernment Forms as the Holy Spirit reveals Himself. Discernment is an ability to ascertain what is/is not of God with a view towards receiving spiritual understanding and direction. Recognizing Him helps us to understand that we serve the living God (Ps. 42:2) whose Spirit is greater than anything imaginable. During times like Peter experienced also requires discerning our Inner spiritual longings related to feeling distant from God. Peter, recognizing his fearful emotion and spiritual condition, seeks spiritual direction from the Lord; saying “if it’s you tell me to come to you on the water”. Spiritual Formation Translation: I want to be where you are. Lord I want to get closer to you. Isaiah says When He hears your call, He will answer you. Even when God may seem far away nothing can separate us from God’s love revealed in Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:35 -39) Similarly, Peter’s sinking holds an element of Spiritual Formation:  which directs us away from delusions of self-competence, stirs us to confront helplessness and dependence on our Lord who Isaiah 30:19 “says will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry.” There is no reason to criticize, berate ourselves or give up and lose hope nor turn to drugs nor anything but God.  It’s not that we will always and get it perfect, Peter certainly did not. Spiritual Formation: When we recognize our weakness Christ’s strength can work through us. (2 Cor. 12:10) Next settle in on the fact that feelings do not determine faith. Yes, Jesus did ask “why did you doubt oh ye of little faith?”  The essence of this question was to inspire continual pursuit of increasing faith, rather than criticism. Still, in the midst of sinking feelings of misery and failures in life, how does one open his heart and mind to the horizons of God? This requires further formation through Bible study, praying and fasting. Spiritual Formation also consists of activities in which we cooperatively interact with God, like Peter, join the Lord in what He is doing. We walk on the water, we walk on every fear and every tear. We walk on in His power! Do not resist what the Lord is doing but fully trust how He is guiding. Join Him no matter how strange or difficult it may seem.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Von Crigler

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