Fear; it is one of those subjects that are constantly the topic of sermons and songs because it is so common and paralyzing. No matter how excited or sure you may feel about your next step, one dose of fear can freeze you in your tracks.
There are so many scriptures to fight the lies that fear screams. I know the majority of them because fear has been a close acquaintance of mine most of my life. Lately, fear has been rearing its ugly head, trying to make itself seem so much bigger than me and tell me that I can’t fulfill God’s purpose in my life. The closer we get to God and His purpose, the more we will feel afraid. The closer we get to changing the world through Christ, the more fear will tell us that we can’t, the dream is too big, the vision is too great.
There are so many ways to conquer fear through scripture. There are so many verses and stories that encourage us to have faith in the face of our fear. Joshua 1:9 tells us, “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” In Psalm 56:3 David declares, “What time I am afraid, I will have confidence in and put my trust and reliance in You.” 2 Tim. 1:7 reminds us that “God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”
I love all of these scriptures and have used each of them to fight fear in my life at one point. But lately, my favorite scriptural weapon against fear is Matthew 14:27: “But instantly He (Jesus) spoke to them, saying, Take courage! I Am! Stop being afraid!”
I can understand why the disciples were frightened, I would be too. I can’t help wondering if their screams of fright didn’t sound something like, “God, help us!” and Jesus answered “I Am!” Or maybe they screamed, “Where is Jesus? Why is He not with us?” and Jesus declared, “I Am!” Or maybe they were simply screaming and Jesus declared His eternal name “I Am!” Regardless, Jesus made Himself known. What once looked scary was actually Jesus getting ready to blow the disciple’s minds and show them just how powerful and mighty the Son of God is.
There are times when we are afraid because Satan is shouting lies or we are overcome with our insufficiency, but there are other times when we are simply afraid of the unknown of Christ, because Christ and His purposes are so much bigger than we could ever begin to imagine. In the face of fear, we have two options: Stand paralyzed or test our faith in the face of our fears.
In the face of the unknown of God’s plan we can choose to be like the disciples and remain in the boat, or we can choose to be like Peter and believe Jesus’ word. Matt. 14:33 tells us that everyone in the boat ended up believing and worshipping after Jesus was in the boat. But it was Peter who decided to believe before Jesus was in the boat. The disciples believed Jesus after the miracle, but Peter chose to believe Jesus for the miracle. Peter chose to put His faith to the test. He knew Jesus, knew His voice, and knew that it was Jesus that just said “I Am…Come.” Yes, Peter sank when He took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the wind and water, but he still walked on water. The point is not that he sank; the point is that he tried and obeyed. And Jesus saved him, just like Peter knew he would.
When fear begins to rear its head we can choose to be like the disciples and believe after the miracle, or we and choose to be like Peter and believe for the miracle. It is up to us to know the voice of God well enough to trust it is Him saying, “I Am,” and then it is up to us to have enough faith in Him to step out in the face of our fears, even if that means walking on water.
Yes, you might sink, but you will be rescued by Jesus, and you will know that you tried. And now, your faith is increased for the next test. Down the road, God might be telling you to preach to thousands on the day of Pentecost and you may look back on this day and say “I trusted Him then and He was faithful. If I trust Him to walk on water then, I can trust Him to preach to thousands now.”
In this season of your life focus on learning and listening to the voice of God, and if you hear Him say “I Am…Come,” step out for the miracle, increase your faith for the future. Test your faith in the face of your fears.