MOVING FORWARD IN LIFE
Text: Mark 4:35-41
35. “And the same day, when the even was come, He saith unto them; Let us pass over unto the other side.”
36. “And when they had sent away the multitude, they took Him even as He was in the ship. And there were also with Him other little ships.”
37. “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship so that it was now full.”
38. “And he was in the hinder part of the ship asleep on a pillow: and they awake him and say unto him, master, carest thou not that we perish?”
39. “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40. “And he saith unto them, why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”
4. “And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, what manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” KJV
Every Christian desires to move forward in life, to move to the next level either in terms of our walk with God or even in other spheres of our lives. Indeed, it is a known fact that stagnant water is a fantastic breeding ground for diseases. It is with this in mind that our Master, Lord Jesus in the verses above gave a call to His disciples to cross over to the other side. It should be noted that this call was not just made to everybody but especially to His disciples, those who have willingly made up their minds to follow Him at all costs. Why was the call made by Jesus? What are the issues involved in crossing over to the other side? What are the challenges if there be any? It is thus pertinent that we critically examine the verses highlighted above so that we may learn as I believe that Jesus is still at this moment making a clarion call for us to move forward in life to the next level.
THE NEED TO MOVE FORWARD
“On the evening of the same day, He said to them; Let us cross over to the other side” NLT
It is instructive to note that the clarion call to cross over, to move forward was made on the evening of a day in which the Lord Jesus sitting on a boat in the sea, had taught many things by parables to a large crowd including His disciples. It is as if He was saying enough to teachings, now is the time to practise what has been learnt so far. It is as if He was saying that it is not just about hearing His word, but more importantly about doing it. It is as if He was telling them that there was a need to press on, not to be satisfied with their present state. Are you among those who have become puffed up by knowledge even of God’s word yet do not exhibit the life that is required? Are you among those who have stayed on mountains for too long? God is saying it is time to press on. He is saying come up hither and I will show you greater things to come. Just as every working man desires promotion so also God requires that every man called by Him moves forward in life.
WHO ARE THOSE TO CROSS OVER?
The verses we are looking at clearly tell us that Jesus Christ pulled His disciples aside from the multitudes and made this clarion call to them. It must be said that it is only those who have laid all at the feet of the master that can receive this call to cross over. In the book of John the Beloved chapter 6, we see that even as it seemed that several people were following Jesus, yet Jesus looked back and knowing all things clearly stated that some were following Him because of what they could get from Him. Thus, this call isn’t for those who are following Him from afar, neither is it for those who are following Him for what they can get from Him, rather it is for those who have counted the cost and seek Him with all their heart, those who are His disciples.
Having established the fact that it is important as Christians to move forward in life and that it is for only those who have yielded their lives to Him, we must yet of necessity look at several issues involved in this.
WHAT MOVING FORWARD ENTAILS
1) Leaving the multitude.
Crossing over to the other side would always involve leaving the multitude/crowd behind. This means that anyone who would move to the next level must put aside distractions, must be free from entanglements. Several men have chosen to settle in plains instead of moving to higher grounds because of the influence of those around them. Jesus said anyone who would follow Him must be ready to leave his family behind. He isn’t asking us to disregard them; rather He is saying that only those who are seeking first the kingdom of God, those whose eyes are fixed on Him could successfully follow Him. Also leaving the crowd could also mean forgetting about the past. Any man who holds on to the past would find it very difficult to enter well into the future. Do not let your past haunt you no matter how ‘terrible’ it might be. It is just the tactics of the enemy to hold you back. Decide to forget about the past and move forward in life.
2) Following Jesus.
Anyone who would successfully move forward is one who would get into the boat in which Jesus is, and then go with Him. The scriptures tell us that the disciples entered into the boat in which Jesus was already there and they took Him along with them. It is important that as you embark on the journey to the other side in life; you must let Jesus take the lead. Please note that just as there were other boats there, there would always be options/alternatives to following Jesus. Indeed, it is up to us to make the choice as the Master would never force us. One must also note that Jesus was the first person in the boat, that is, He was there before the disciples thus they merely followed Him. These days what we see is that many people tend to treat Jesus as their hand bag, so they say that He would follow them wherever they go. We can however see that what is expected that the master who is the chief shepherd leads us. If you want to move to the next level in life, then you need to follow Jesus as His presence would determine whether your journey would be successful. Have you ever imagined what would have happened if Jesus wasn’t in the boat? Have you not had regrets in times pasts over decisions you made without first seeking to know His will? May God help us all
“And there arose a strong wind and the waves beat into the ship”. It is instructive to note that the fact that Jesus was in the boat with the disciples did not mean that challenges wouldnt arise. The fact that you are born-again doesn’t mean that you would not be faced with challenging situations or tests of faith. Rather what we need to know is that we have the promise that as long as He is with us and we are with Him, then we are more than conquerors. Glory be to God. Has your boat (life) been beaten by waves of discouragements, difficulties, sufferings? Do not be discouraged. Do not give up for Jesus is ever with u and as a loving Shepherd He will guide your boat safely to the dock. Yes, He will see you through. Yes all things will work together for your good. He has great thoughts towards you and a very great end awaits you.
4) Jesus leading the way always.
At this point, it is imperative that we carefully consider certain things that must be taken note of. The scriptures tell us that as the strong wind was blowing and the waves threatened to destroy the boat, Jesus was in the HINDER part of the boat asleep. We must pause to carefully look at this. We can vividly remember that Jesus was the first person in the boat, He was in charge, and He was the Captain at least at the beginning! How did He end up in the hinder part? I perceive that even as the disciples entered the boat and they began to move, that men like Peter who were experienced fishermen began to tell Jesus to step aside so that they could take over thus pushing him to the back. Is it not true that several of us have pushed Jesus aside once we felt that things were going on well with us? Have some of us not made Jesus who was priority in our lives as we started the journey irrelevant? It is not enough to start the journey to the other side with Jesus, it is important to continue and end with Him in charge. Giving your life to Christ is just the starting point; we must walk with Him leading and being in control if we want to be successful. We must at no point think ourselves of being capable of steering the boats ourselves even if we are experienced. Oh, how several marriages have suddenly come to an abrupt end because Jesus who was the captain at the beginning has suddenly become a mere passenger? Remember that He says that He will not strive with any man, no wonder He was asleep or rather silent! We must therefore cry out to Him again so that He may arise and take charge of our lives.
5) The Word of God mixed with Faith. 7Finally, after they had realised their mistake and had cried out to Him, Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea and there was peace. How great is our God! Indeed the Name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to Him and they are saved. We must always know that we serve a living and mighty God. The one who made all things. Nothing is impossible with Him. We must also note that the words of Jesus brought about a drastic change in the situation. The word of God is ever powerful to deal with any situation. More wonderful is the fact that we have the living word in us. We are kings and priests and we can also decree things and they would come to pass. However, the vital ingredient called faith is important for without faith, the word is mere empty. Indeed, faith activates the power in the word of God to do that which it is sent to do. The scriptures in Hebrews tell us that the Israelites couldn’t enter into rest because they did not mix the words of God with faith in their hearts. Do you desire to walk in rest? Is it your heart desire to journey without struggling? Then the words of God must abide in you and you must exercise faith. The just shall live by faith.
I conclude therefore by saying that there is a need for us all to press forward in this life, but we need Jesus to successfully do that as the Captain and not a mere passenger. Let us entrust our lives to the master for Him who has given the call to go to the next level will surely take us there if we yield to Him. Shalom