But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going down?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:37-40 NLT).
Fear is the enemy of faith. Fear destroys your faith and put you in bondage to fear. Faith, however, is an aggressive and yet constructive response to a challenge. Faith doesn’t know how yield to disapproving circumstances, never backs off to stubborn opposing forces. Faith is a dynamic force that creates solutions to problems.
The Bible has given us life exemplars regarding people’s failures because they had chosen to fear instead of living in faith. These lessons of the past have raised men of faith who made a difference in the Body of Christ, and of the world.
• Lesson 1: Fear causes us to back down on the fight of faith
And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid … And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid” (1 Samuel 17:10-11, 24 NKJ).
Fear impairs our ability to be decisive. Fear creeps in when you lose your faith in yourselves. When Goliath challenges the armies of Israel, they choked. They feared him not only because of his size, but of his repeated bluffs for forty days (verse 16).
• Lesson 2: Fear causes us to miss the perfect plan of God
‘Look , the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged’ (Deuteronomy 1:21 NKJ).
‘Nevertheless you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; … Our brethren have discouraged our hearts, saying, “The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to the heaven; moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there” (Deuteronomy 1:26-28 NKJ).
The people of Israel were encamped along the side of the Promised Land. They had traveled long enough from Egypt, and now they were ready to cross the border, and enter the land that flows with milk and honey. To the disgust of Joshua and Caleb, they failed to possess the land because of fear of the people of Israel from their enemies. Now they had to wait for the 40 years of wanderings in the wilderness before they can have another chance to possess it.
Fear will cause you to back away from any challenge in life. Because of fear, you surrender to the enemy with total submission.
• “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJ).
Fear is a spirit. As a child of God, do not allow fear to have a grip in your life. Because we have the mighty workings of the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we shall not have the presence of fear not even in our thoughts. Cast it out and rebuke it in the name of Jesus!
• “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18 NKJ).
The perfect love of God in your heart casts out fear. You see, a believer needs to spend quality time in His Word, meditating in the goodness of God, feeding in His abundant grace and mercy, and a continuous fellowship with the love of God. When you have the love of God in your heart, fear is gone.
• “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6 NKJ).
I remember an incident where a high school bully won’t let me out of the school gate if I don’t give him spare chains. I was fearful at him, unknowingly, my buddy observed the whole incident. He was bigger, heavier and nastier that this bully. In short, my buddy went ahead to confront, to straighten, and to modify this bully’s attitude. From that day on, nobody has ever attempted to give me a hard time.
You see, the Lord is on our side and the devil has nothing to do with us. Our enemy (the devil) can’t bully us and push us around. Our God is our helper, friend, and a very help in time of trouble.
• “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25 NKJ).
Here is the nugget of everything that we’ve talking about. Fear of man versus trust in the Lord. If you allow fear in your heart, instead of trusting in the Lord, then you’ll succumb to man’s bluff. All a man can do is bluff. As a child of God, you don’t fear anyone, you don’t fear anything, and you don’t fear any circumstance.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus always confronts fear in people’s lives. You hear Him saying many times, “Fear not.” If the Lord says fear not, then I fear not, because in Him there’s nothing to fear at all. In Christ, you are fearless.