Quicksand on the Galilee


By Dr. Ken Matto


Matthew 14:30 (KJV)   But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.


At the time I am writing this article, I have been a Christian for over 36 years and if there is one sure thing that I have seen in my life as well as in the lives of every true Christian I know is that Satan will not leave us alone until he gains some type of foothold in our lives.  It does not matter if you are a missionary, pastor, Bible teacher, or a factory worker, you will be continually harassed by the kingdom of darkness.  This does not mean that every Christian is going to be tempted with sex, booze, orgies, drugs, or anything from that nefarious lifestyle.


Satan knows that the majority of Christians will not fall for any of those temptations.  What Satan does is he has to engineer a way that he can cause a diversion in the Christian’s life thus causing the same effect but not as destructive as drug abuse or alcohol addiction.  Those things will be anathema to a high majority of Christians.   If Satan can divert a Christian with something that is innocuous, then those Christians which he has deceived will be able to deceive others, thus doing Satan’s work for him.


To get a Christian to make a turn in their Christian life, it has to be something so subtle that they will not know that they have turned the corner until maybe it is too late or until they come to their spiritual senses like the Prodigal Son.   Have you noticed anything in your life which now challenges your Christian walk concerning the time element?  Do you now take as much time for your Christian walk and personal ministry that you once did or does it seem that your personal ministry now takes second place?  It is not only time but it is also attitude and perception.  Do you hold the same view of your personal ministry today as you did when you first engaged in it?


Now I want to reveal the major, major principle which is taught in our text verse of Matthew 14:30.  We will start with verse 28 to gain the context of the event.


Matthew 14:28 (KJV) And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.


Matthew 14:29 (KJV) And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.


Matthew 14:30 (KJV) But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 


Matthew 14:31 (KJV) And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?


The disciples had been rowing hard against the storm on the Sea of Galilee in the wee hours of the morning.  They were very tired but they were experienced seamen so they would have experienced storms like this before.  What made this journey different was Jesus was not with them when they started out on the lake.  As they were rowing in the storm, Jesus comes next to the boat walking on the water.  Initially they thought that they were being accosted by some spirit until Jesus identified Himself and told them not to fear.  Peter, who was always ready to answer, even if no one asked him a question, said to the Lord that if it was truly Him, then let him come to Him on the water.  Personally, I think it took guts to do what Peter did from being safe in the boat to going out on the water which was churning because of the storm.


So Peter exits the boat and walks to Jesus on the water.  All was going well until he made one fatal mistake.  He saw the winds were boisterous which means mighty or powerful and that caused him to be very fearful and the result of that fear was that he began to sink like a stone.  The question may be asked is how come the boisterous winds did not frighten him while he was in the boat?  The reason was, he was safe in the boat but now he was committed, being away from the boat and only trusting Jesus in this situation.  All was going well until he took his eyes off Jesus and that was when he started to sink.  Then Jesus reached over and saved him.  Jesus says to him that he was of little faith and why did he doubt?  Instead of staying the course with Jesus, he allowed the storm to determine the outcome and that outcome was sinking as if he was in quicksand.


Since Jesus is not physically on this earth today and if is highly unlikely that we will ever be called upon to walk on the water in a major storm, the principle that we need to extract from this event is not necessarily the end where Peter sinks but how he got into that position and how common it is today among Christians.  So here is the principle we need to understand so that we will not fall prey to a diverted Christian walk thus weakening our impact on society and our own nuclear group of people the Lord has blessed us with.


When Peter came out of the boat, where he turned the corner from faith to failure was when he “saw” the mighty wind.  Here is what happened, Peter looks at the wind and now realizes that he is in a great storm, at the beginning of his walk, he was conquering the storm through Jesus but as soon as he saw the wind, that one small act, caused him to turn from victor to victim, and that is when he started to sink and the storm conquered him.  When Peter saw the wind, if he would have rejected the fear that came with the sight and kept his eyes on Jesus, it would not have mattered how bad the storm was.  We are all going to see situations in life but it is how we deal with them after initial contact.


Now let’s bring this up to date.  The same thing happens to us.  When you first started your personal ministry, you had a desire to literally reach as many as you can with the gospel.  Now when I say personal ministry I mean the ministry you have been doing as the fulfillment of Ephesians 2:10.  Ephesians 2:10 (KJV)   For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  God has designed a personal ministry for every Christian, even if it is just handing out tracts, being a witness where you work, doing personal ministry in a nursing home, hospital, or prison, etc.  You may be a quiet person and do ministry in a subdued way or you may have an outgoing personality doing one on one ministry on the streets or even doing itinerant preaching.


No matter what ministry you started, do you still dedicate the same amount of time and energy to it that you did years ago or has your desire for ministry waned?  If your desire for ministry has waned instead of getting stronger, then you have turned the corner and allowed your ministry to be challenged by something secular thus choking out the strength of your ministry.  There are several ways that you can take a subtle turn which leads to major diversion.


1) Cares of this world

Mark 4:19 (KJV) And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.


What is in your life today that was not in your life when you started out in your ministry?  You may have become diverted when you made one small turn.  Was there a time that you accepted some worldly thing which began to take more and more of your time?  You may be involved in politics which challenges your ministry time.  You may be involved in sports, whether yours or a family member which chokes out the time needed for ministry.  You may have a job which requires long hours that chokes out your ministry time and by time you get home, you are too tired to do anything.  Remember, as God has prepared a ministry for you, Satan is right there to try and derail you.


2) Trusting in People

Psalm 118:8 (KJV)   It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.


One time you looked to the Lord for everything you needed in your life and to seek fellowship.  Have you turned the corner by trusting people to help satisfy your needs?  When we turn to people as the source of our fulfillment, we will definitely be let down and that could lead to depression or anger.  Was there a moment in time that you can remember where you once were joyful in the Lord and then traded Him for the let down of man?  Man is filled with excuses and once we make man our focus, we are heading right into trouble and that can then cause us to distrust every person we come in contact with.  There are still some people out there who keep their word but not too many.  Check your spiritual eyes to see if you are focusing on the Lord more than man or man more than the Lord?  It will make a great difference in your understanding where you are and if you were diverted subtlety.


3) Trusting in Leaders

Psalm 118:9 (KJV)   It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.


Right on the heels of not placing our trust in man is not placing our trust in political leaders.  How many Christians have traded their spiritual lives for political lives?  I remember back in the 1980s, preachers like Jerry Falwell and D. James Kennedy taught more politics from the pulpit than pure gospel.  There is no such thing as a political gospel.  Either you have the pure gospel or you have a false, compromised gospel.  These two were leading more people to politics than to the Lord even though they were staunch believers but they turned the corner and embraced politics and it became part of their message, choking out the purity of the gospel.  There are no political messiahs out there.  The great message of the book of Daniel is that no matter how big a kingdom is or how ruthless, God’s kingdom overrules it.  We are to be looking to the kingdom of God and not earthly kingdoms.  Matthew 6:33 (KJV)   But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.



Let me summarize this article because there are many more examples which can be given but each Christian can discern where they are now and compare their ministry time to the time the spent on it a year or even two years ago.  You may be a coin collector or a stamp collector or any type of hobby which may cause you to turn the corner and seek more time with your hobbies than with the ministry you have.  There is nothing wrong with a hobby as long as it does not overtake your ministry.  Keep in mind ministry is eternal and everything else on this earth is temporal and will be burnt up on the last day including gold, sports trophies, coins, stamps, and whatever.


We only have a certain amount of time allotted to us on this earth and God gives Christians a ministry and empowers them to do it.  Don’t be like Peter on the Sea of Galilee and sink because he looked to the world instead of to Jesus.  Seek the Lord for your ministry and seek the Lord to ask Him to help you out of over commitments and bring you back into ministry mode.  You will live a much more peaceful life and you will not allow the situations in the world to affect you if you are looking to Jesus.  Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)   Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 


What is your focus on?  Is it on political leaders or just regular people who you think can fulfill your happiness?  We must assess where we turned the corner and stopped looking to the Lord and started looking to man.  It does not matter where you made the turn, check where you are right now and see if you have drifted into the quicksand which has stagnated you.  Compare your ministry time to worldly time!  Compare your ministry attitude to worldly attitude!  Which one brings you more joy, the things of the world or the things of God?  To get us back into a ministry mindset, it only take a few minutes of self-assessment to see if we have progressed in our Christian life or regressed!


PS – Do I have to ask how much time TV watching and sports is extracting from your life?