I usually dislike hypothetical examples, but this one is apt:
If you’re standing with one foot on a boat and the other foot on a dock, are you on the boat or on the dock? You have to be one or the other, either on the boat or on the dock, because being half-on or half-off means you’re neither on the boat nor on the dock. In other words, you’re stuck in no-man’s-land and you’re going nowhere.
That’s a hypothetical scenario. Now let’s look at reality.
Are you living your life one foot in the Kingdom and one foot in the world? Do you have a strong desire to step out in faith, but at the same time are you afraid to lose your footing?
If so, you’re not alone. Peter wanted to walk on water like Jesus, and in fact did for a few seconds before he overthought what he was doing and started to drown. Many of us step out in faith, only to fall flat on our faces after only a few steps because we start overthinking what we’re doing, and in so doing, cut God’s Spirit out of the equation.
Wanting to step out in faith requires more than just a willingness to step out. You first need to know WHY you’re doing it. And to know why, you need to know what is motivating you. You need to know what you believe.
It might help to think of faith as lived belief. Faith is belief in action. So when you step out in faith, you’re simply living your beliefs. But if you want to step out in faith, you first need to know what you believe. That may sound nonsensical (how can you not know what you believe?), yet most people are unable to readily articulate their beliefs. They take them for granted rather than seeing them as internalized agents that affect their external actions.
Belief is expressed through acts of faith. Therefore, you first need to be absolutely clear within yourself about what you believe, because what you believe is what’s motivating you to step out in faith – that is, to live fully in the Kingdom.
So, what do you believe?
A few weeks ago, a woman came to my kitchen door campaigning for a local politician. I didn’t respond to her knock, but the woman saw me sitting at my desk (the kitchen table), and so she leaned down and yelled through the screen part of the door.
“I REALLY BELIEVE IN THIS CANDIDATE. HE’S A GREAT MAN, AND HE REALLY CARES ABOUT THE PEOPLE.”
I didn’t say anything in response, but that didn’t stop her.
“HE’S BEEN A DOCTOR FOR OVER 30 YEARS, WORKING IN THE COMMUNITY. HE’S A GOOD PERSON.”
I still didn’t say anything.
“YOUR NEIGHBOUR TOLD ME YOU’RE FROM DARTMOUTH. I LIVED IN DARTMOUTH A WHILE BACK. IT’S A GREAT PLACE. SMALL WORLD!”
Still nothing from me.
“OK, I WON’T BOTHER YOU ANYMORE. I CAN SEE YOU’RE BUSY. WHERE SHOULD I LEAVE THE BROCHURE?”
That was a question, and societal norms dictate that I need to answer a question, so I told her to leave the brochure in the mailbox at the end of the driveway. And off she went.
The woman was an unstoppable force for her political cause. She knew exactly what she believed, and she had no problem articulating her beliefs and living her beliefs. She was motivated to act by her beliefs. It’s a shame that all her passion went to politics, but she does serve as a good example of the mechanics underlying stepping out in faith and living fully in the Kingdom.
After she left, I felt a little bad about not engaging her in conversation, but I make it a rule not to talk to people campaigning for political parties. They’re like a cross between a cult member and a door-to-door salesman. The human part of them is so deeply buried underneath the brainwashing that it’s like trying to engage with one of those wind-up toy dogs. All you get is “yap yap yap yap”. It’s frustrating and frankly a waste of time, so I don’t do it anymore.
Yet I had to admit that the woman’s focus and passion were admirable. She had zero doubt that her candidate should win the election and she wanted to share her certainty with everyone.
We likewise need to be 100% certain of our beliefs before we can successfully step out in faith. If we don’t 100% believe in what we’re doing or we don’t 100% know why we’re doing it, God’s Spirit can’t work through us, and if God’s Spirit can’t work through us, we’re going to fail. In other words, we’re not going to live fully in the Kingdom.
Peter started to drown because his faith was weak. Peter thought he should have faith in Peter (that is, “I know I can do this”), when instead he should have had faith in God (that is, “I know God can do this”). Peter started to drown because he knew that, by the laws of nature, he shouldn’t be walking on water, and he stopped his thought process there. What he should have done is shift his thought process into the belief that God can override the laws of nature and do anything, including making him walk on water.
If you feel like you have one foot in the Kingdom and one foot in the world, it’s probably because you do. It’s also why you’re stuck in a spiritual no-man’s land and going nowhere. Maybe you could spend some time thinking about what you believe (not brainwashing yourself into believing something, like a creed, but thinking about what you authentically believe) and what is motivating you to want to step out in faith to live fully in the Kingdom.
As an example, I believe that God loves me and that I love God more than I love anything or anyone else. I also believe that God can do anything, and that everything he does, he does for my benefit, as long as I do what’s right in his eyes. These beliefs motivate me to want to live fully in the Kingdom so that I can “endure to the end” and make it home to Heaven. I’m a born-again believer and, as such, the Kingdom is open to me, so I need to get in there and stay in there fully and full-time, or I won’t endure to the end and I won’t make it home. This I 100% believe and this is what motivates me to step out in faith to live fully in the Kingdom.
What you believe and what is motivating you may or may not be the same as what I believe and what is motivating me. Even so, you need to be able to articulate your beliefs before you can act on them. Weak faith doesn’t mean you don’t believe in God or don’t believe in him enough; weak faith means that you don’t really know what you believe or how that belief can be lived in real-time; weak faith means you’re relying on your own abilities rather than on God’s. The main reason you’re relying on your own abilities is that you haven’t yet articulated your beliefs to yourself.
The political canvasser who came to my kitchen door had zero faith in herself. Her faith was entirely in her candidate. She was just the vessel carrying his message, which is why my silence didn’t faze her in the least or deter her from her mission. She was walking on water while she was hollering through my screen door, and for that she has my respect.
We need to be equally devoid of faith in ourselves. Our faith should always be in God and in his Messiah, Jesus. We should have zero faith in ourselves and zero faith in our own abilities. As long as we hang on to having faith in ourselves, we’ll remain with one foot on the worldly dock. But if we put everything we are and everything we believe into God and into Jesus, we’ll not only step off the dock and fully onto the boat, we’ll step off the boat and fully onto the water.
And then, my friends, we’ll truly be living in the Kingdom.