Week of March 16
Jesus In the Midst of the Storm
We all experience fear from time to time. In some cases fears can even protect us. They tell us to use caution when crossing a busy street. They keep us from putting our hands on a hot stove. They remind us to wear a seatbelt when we drive a car.
But fear turns into sin when we surrender to it. When fear becomes our daily master, we are spiritually locked away in a prison. Constant fear affects our relationships, our perceptions and even our health. When we allow fear to control us, it deteriorates our relationship with God.
God does not harshly chastise us for our fears but redirects our attention to faith in Him. God wants us to turn from our fears and instead embrace our faith. He wants us to stop and see what has been feeding our fears—the people who influence us, the thought patterns we generate, or the goals we chase, turning away from them as we focus on Him.
In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul reminds us: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” The spirit of fear is not from God. When we neglect our relationship with God, this spirit of fear can easily dominate our lives. But when we focus on the promises of God in His Word, we can defeat that spirit of fear.
A righteous, God-fearing life will lead to victory over sinful fear: “Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes” (Psalms 112:6-8).
What we feed our minds and hearts will determine whether we live a life of faith or fear. Do you spend more time reading newspapers or watching television on the financial turbulence, natural disasters and crimes of this world, or do you focus on the means of our hope and salvation in the Word of God? Do you spend more time listening to encouragement from wise Christians or to the pessimistic views of this world? The more time we spend with God and His Word, the more our faith develops and our fears diminish.
Read Matthew 8:23-27. In the midst of a horrible storm, the fearful disciples woke Jesus. They were scared, not only because the storm came upon them in the darkest hour of night, but also because it stirred previously calm waters.
Instead of instantly calming the storm, Jesus paused to rebuke the disciples. He was more concerned with their lack of faith in Him than the tossing from the wind and waves. He knew the greater lesson would be learned in the midst of the storm before He quelled the waves.
What lesson was Jesus trying to teach? Faith in God conquers fear every time. The God who has redeemed us and cares for us is trustworthy. Our Creator God will never abandon us, and He has our best interests at heart. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:1-3).
Do you feel like you are drowning today? Maybe your business is going under, your savings are washed out, your marriage is sinking, or your health is failing—yet God is in the midst of the storm with you. While Jesus has not promised us a life of smooth sailing, He will see us safely to the shore. Praise God today for His faithful love. Turn from your anxieties and dwell on the promises of God.
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