Fear and faith are undeniably related. What isn’t of faith is simply of fear. The way I look at it is that we approach every situation in life with faith or with fear. Our responses to our circumstances will quickly reveal a faith-filled heart or a fear-filled heart.
Matthew 14:29-30 is a powerful lesson on this topic: “And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”
Peter’s experience has everything to do with faith, and everything to do with fear. Let’s look more closely at how Peter’s response to his situation is not so different than how we respond.
Faith: Peter saw Jesus walking on the water; his faith was “pumped up” because he saw the Lord walking on the water doing the miraculous and extraordinary. When we feel the presence of the Lord near, when we are built up from a good sermon, a season of prayer, or even an encouraging word, we seem to have the faith to accomplish anything.
Fear: Suddenly, Peter realized where he was – having heeded the Lord’s call to come out of the boat, he was walking on water, doing the impossible, having surrendered total control to the One he loved most. When he realized where he was, when he considered his own ability to be greater than the Lord’s ability to keep him safe, he began to sink. When we suddenly realize that it is not us but God’s Spirit working through us, fear immediately rushes in to rob from us our confidence to step out in faith by drawing our attention to our inability when we should be focused on God’s ability. But like Peter, this only happens when we take our eyes off Him.
The moment our eyes shift their focus from the Lord Jesus Christ and back onto ourselves or our circumstances, fear rushes in. It is as if a door is opened and fear is granted entrance.
Keep your eyes fixed on the Lord both in the times of great faith and in the times of little. Your gaze directed at Him will enable you to do all that you’ve been created to accomplish. And, as you see yourself doing the miraculous and extraordinary, keep your eyes on Him not on the storm around you or on what you think you can or cannot do.
Remember, it’s all about Him and not about us – always and in all things.
The chorus to a familiar song is ringing in my heart as I write this evening:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace!
Father, help me to trust You, both when I feel You near AND when You seem afar off. Teach me according to Your word to grow strong in faith and to stop fear from robbing me of doing the things You have purposed for me to do. Help me to walk strong in faith with my eyes fixed on You, where those things which would give entrance to fear grow strangely dim as the light of Your glory and grace beckon me to come and surrender wholly to You. In Jesus’ name, and for His glory, Amen.
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
© Jan Ross
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