June 14, 2011

Get out of the boat

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:31

Growing up I remember visiting my aunt and uncle.  They had a small picture hanging in one of their bathrooms that said, “Fear knocked at the door.  Faith answered. No one was there.”  That saying has stuck with me through the years and has come to mind many times when I have struggled with doubt and fear.

Over the years I have had to learn what it is that causes my fears and why those fears can be so overwhelming.   I began by reading 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  As I read this verse I realized that I needed to better understand the type of love this verse was describing. 

It begins with understanding the love of God.  It begins with understanding that God IS love. (1 John 4:16) 

When we accept Christ into our lives, we are instantly filled with the Holy Spirit.  Being filled with the Holy Spirit means that we are given the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)  This fruit is evidence of Christ in our lives. 

The first of the fruit is love. In order to love, Christ must live in us.  On our own, we are incapable of loving anyone. Love is not a feeling but instead it is a consistent attitude of giving ourselves for others. God loves us in this way.  So much that He gave the life of His only Son to save us from the death of our sins. 

Therefore, it is recognizing that love is selfless.  It is sacrificial.  It is putting others before ourselves.  That is exactly how God loves us.  Now We can be confident that we are loved this way and understanding this kind of love allows us to be fearless.  When we are covered by the perfect love of Christ, we have no reason to fear. How do we know?  How can we be confident in His love?  It comes through faith. It comes from “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2.

Our confidence to overcome fear comes from Faith.  It comes from focusing on Christ and placing our trust in Him.

Fear comes from the enemy.  It is fear from the enemy that causes us to act out and hurt others. It is what causes us to be afraid.

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.  When the Spirit of God lives within us, we have no reason to fear.” 

FEAR is nothing more than FALSE EVIDENCE that is only APPEARING to be REAL! Physically we may feel the symptoms of fear but spiritually those symptoms are nothing more than lies from our enemy.

So how do we keep from falling into to the trap of fear?  We go back to the story of Peter walking on the water. Peter stepped out of the boat and began walking on the water toward Jesus.  At first as Peter walked, he kept his eyes upon Jesus. What happened next?  Peter noticed the wind and waves and he became scared.  The storm surrounding him caused fear. Suddenly his focus shifted.  He began to focus on the storm and was afraid and he sank. 

Jesus then grabs Peter but look at His response, “You have so little faith. Why did you doubt me?” (Matthew 14:31)  The cause of fear is doubt.  Doubt leads to a lack of faith.  A lack of faith takes our eyes off of Jesus and places our focus on our circumstances. Jesus gives us the answer for defeating fear. In that simple statement, we have the answer. It is faith. We have no reason to fear when our eyes are focused on God, and the only thing that can come from focusing on our circumstances is fear. 

So to sum it all up, in order to defeat fear, we must trust God completely.  We must have a relationship with Him that takes priority over everything else in our lives.  He must come first. We must give Him time out of our day each and every day.  We cannot defeat fear if we are not walking with Him daily. 

Don’t give the enemy a foothold! You have been given the power to overcome fear.  Use it!

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