Monday, June 15, 2015

Duel between fear and faith

From The Children's Friend - Part 2

"Jesus Calms the Sea" from The Children's Friend Part 2
"Jesus Calms the Sea"
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Mark 4:21-41

TO CHEW ON: "But He said to them, 'Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?' " Mark 5:40

Earlier this year I had the assignment of writing and then facilitating an online Bible study course—"Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety"—for the women of my church. Through that process I have thought a lot about fear, worry and anxiety, asking questions like what is a fearful, anxious state, why is it in our lives, and how can we get rid of it?

It's important that we do because living in a state of fear is not normal for the Christian. Jesus' parable about the sower (our yesterday's reading) bears that out when He talks about the "cares of this world"  as one of the features of the unproductive thorny soil (Mark 5:7,18,19).

In our reading today Jesus goes through a storm on the sea with His disciples. The fierce winds so buffet the water that waves soon start to swamp the boat. The disciples are afraid. They wake Jesus, who is asleep in the boat, He calms the storm and then chides them: "' Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?'"

In this statement He pretty much distills the topic of fear into a simple duel between fear and faith. My Bible's notes on this passage say: "Jesus contrasts fear with faith and equates fear with no faith. Faith here means trust in God's helping power in crisis, a help that is both present and active in Jesus" - J.Lyle Story, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1357.

[Faith—pistis—means conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance. In the New Testament pistes is the divinely implanted principle of inward confidence, assurance, trust, reliance in God and all that He says - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1372.]

Some truths for me, for all of us to weave into the fabric of our lives:
  • Our faith is in Jesus who clearly said, Don't worry. God will take care of you - Matthew 6:25-34.
  • Everything that happens to us is God-allowed and works for good (as a part of the process that conforms us to become like Jesus) - Romans 8:28-30.
  • We can cast our cares (worries, concerns, storm-stresses) on God - 1 Peter 5:6,7.
  • We practice contentment in our situation, knowing He remains with us through everything - Hebrews 13:5,6.
  • Our faith in God (His power and love) brings peace even in the middle of the storm - Philippians 4:6,7.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to make a habit of facing each storm with faith in You—faith in Your love for me and Your power to bring Your good intentions for me to pass. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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