In Chapter 6, Suitt presents Jesus Christ, the very Word of God, as the foundation of a biblical worldview. Our acknowledgement of our identity in Christ and our resting in His completed work is the very first step we take on the journey of faith.
Suitt uses a helpful mnemonic acronym: SET FREE NOWWW. The “S” is what Chapter 6 is all about — I am “Secure because I’m God’s child” (1 John 3:1-3). This is the bedrock to which we return over and over again as we pursue Christ and becoming more like Him as we mature in our faith. No matter how bad we mess up along the way, we can rest confidently in the immutable truth of our Father’s love for us. Nothing can change it and nothing can separate us from it! When I stumble, I know I am not condemned. I do not need to wallow in guilt, because the Savior has already been crucified — and I do not want to crucify Him all over again! Rather than getting tripped up in guilt or focused on my own failure, I am free instead to turn to Him immediately for forgiveness and then get back up and move forward. The value of this cannot be overstated. Indeed, without it, there can be no true and lasting relationship with God, because it is His love for us and our embracing of our true identity in Him that forms the very ground for that relationship to exist in the first place.
Knowing that we are secure because we are His children, we can focus on growing up in our faith and becoming more like Him. What does this look like? It starts with His love for us, which results in our love for Him. We express this love by obeying Him. But how in the world can I do that? There is so much about me that needs to change if I am to become like Him! Alas! before I even begin, I am undone.
This is where many Christians get bogged down and fail to find victory over sin. They see Christ’s love and goodness, immediately see their own lack of the same, and get focused on changing the offending behavior. See what happened there? The focus started on Jesus and then moved immediately back to the self. Jesus is good (focus is on Him), but I am not and so I must change (focus moves back to me). This is a tragedy! This is the very thing that happened to Peter out walking on the waves: He did amazing things when his eyes were on His Lord, but he started sinking as soon as he looked in fear and doubt at the world around him and his place in it (apart from Jesus).
If Jesus calls us to Him, we cannot draw near to Him if we do not take the steps needed to reach Him. We will discuss what those “steps” actually entail, but it is crucial that we remember to keep our eyes on Him while taking those steps. This means that we do not forget the truth that we are God’s children and have been declared righteous in His sight. We are good because He has declared it to be so! And if He has said it, who am I to argue, regardless of what I “feel” might be true?
If we get distracted by the overwhelming appearance of our problems or of life’s difficulties (the strong wind and waves), or if we get focused on our own inadequacy for the task or our own history of failure (I can’t walk on water! I’ve never walked on water before!), we will indeed begin to sink. But, if we keep our eyes on our Lord, the source of our strength and our life and our security, we will make steady progress — whether we are walking on level ground, clambering up a rocky slope, slogging through wind-tossed waves, or braving the valley of the shadow of death.