The Flesh and the Spirit

The Flesh and the Spirit

What we believe and what we do should match up.

If I say I love my wife, believing it in my heart,

Then this belief should be seen and known.

By her.

By others.

Honestly, it should be seen by total strangers.

They should know we are married by watching us.

If I say it and believe it.

My behavior should match.

This is a truth in our journey of faith too.

What we believe, what we have faith in,

Should be seen in our life.

Sunday’s Gospel reading had Peter asking Jesus to walk on the water with him.

Jesus calls him out of the boat.

Peter gets out and walks on the water.


He gets stuck in his brain and losses perspective.

The flesh hampers his faith.

He panicked because he knew he shouldn’t be able to walk on water.

Which is true.

HE couldn’t.

But Jesus could.

And Jesus made it so that he could walk on water too.

But it would take faith.

In the power of God And not in Peter’s own strength.

Which is why Jesus responded to Peter’s crying out when he sank in this way,

“You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I would like to point something out.

Jesus did not say to Peter you of no faith. 

Just you of little faith

Peter had faith. 

He asked to get out of the boat.

He got out of the boat when it didn’t seem safe to do so. 

He walked on the water.

And then he freaked out.

His faith was young.

He needed more experience with it.

He needed to nurture it. 

(so if you are feeling like your faith can be immature, be patient).

Like in a marriage.

Do we know everything about being married before we are married. No.

In the first year? No.

Fifth year? Not really.

It takes time.

It took Peter awhile.

Remember the snapshots of his life.

Peter walking on water then transitioning to a major meltdown to which Jesus says, 

“You of little faith.”

Jesus’ question to the disciples about who they say He is, 

Peter responding, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

When Jesus reveals God’s plans for Him on the cross, Peter responds, “Never Lord! This shall never happen to you.” To which Jesus replies, ““Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

When Jesus is looking to wash the disciple’s feet, Peter’s response is, “You shall never wash my feet.

When Jesus reveals that they will abandon Him when he is arrested, 

Peter says, “I will lay down my life for you.”

When asked if he was a follower of Jesus, 

Peter denies Christ.

Three Times.

Near the end of his life, we see a different Peter.

A person worthy of his name.


The Rock.

Someone who is solid

A person who has a mature faith.

A person with confidence in the plans of God.

In the epistle reading from the Feast of the,

Transfiguration we see this Rock,

“I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to refresh your memory, since I know that my death will come soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.” 

2 Peter 1 13ff

He was bold.

He had confidence.

He had learned to not operate in the flesh, but in the Spirit.

To trust God.

To walk in faith in this world.

Had had learned that faith and actions go together.

That these two things are to be married to one another.

And we can get there too.

When we are tempted to rely on ourselves,

We can learn to have faith in God.

To step out, believing God to be present in the lives of His children.

This is our call.

So that we may be an offering to one another.

That we can encourage one another.

Like the words at the end of the epistle reading from Sunday,

“But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Paul is right in pointing out that an unmanifested faith doesn’t accomplish the goals of God to care for the community of God and those God is seeking to draw to Himself.

James writes something similar in James chapter 2, verses 14-17,

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

We are meant to be a people who have a manifested faith.

And it requires work to get there.

(Think back to Peter)

And patience.

And a community of like-minded people.

So, let us stick close to one another.

Let us be quick to build up another when they need encouragement.

Let us step in the gap when someone’s faith is at a weak point.

Let us be patient with the process of maturing in ourselves and others.

Let us not be dragged down by our own doubts and fears,

But be strengthened in knowing Who it is we serve, as Paul writes,

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  

Ephesians 3:20-21




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