Trading Panic for Peace
What fears overwhelm your heart the most? Are you afraid of losing your job? Are you worried that your marriage may never get better? Do you stress over your children — their health, their education, their friendships? Are you fearful that you might contract the Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Do you fear death? What fears dominate your thoughts right now? Fear is a powerful emotion — it can control your thinking and hold you back from living!
What you fear the most may be exactly what Satan is targeting. He targets insecurity, anxiety, and distress. He pours the gasoline of lies on our fears, trying to persuade us that God is uncaring, distant, or powerless. Even King David, who had a strong relationship with the Lord, asked, “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?” Psalms 13:1
Remember, God is not powerless; his power is not limited. God is not heartless; he loves and cares for you. And God is not distant; He is “nigh unto all them that call upon him.” But God can feel far away when we are controlled by the spirit of fear.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7
Lest you think all fears are destructive and harmful, remember God created you with a tendency to fear certain things. Instinctive fears protect us from danger before we even have time to think (that is why we automatically pick up a rock when a dog chases us). Sensible fears protect us from making foolish and wrong decisions (we fear a negative outcome or consequences to our actions or words). When fear operates the way God designed it, it is a great benefit and help to our life.
But for most of us, fear does not operate as God designed it to and that is why fear has a powerful influence over your thinking and behavior. Instead of being your friend, fear has become a dictator that imposes strict limits on how you live your life. Under its rules, you are paralyzed and afraid to live life the way God intended.
We all desire to be free from this bully called fear. But is it even possible? Can we really be free from excessive fears? Jesus’ answer is yes!
“Why Are You So Afraid?”
To pursue this freedom, we must allow Jesus to ask us the question that he asked his disciples after he calmed the violent storm: “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” Mark 4:40
Why were the disciples so afraid? If you had asked them while the storm was raging, they would have shouted, “Look around! Isn’t it obvious?” Massive waves were flooding their boat; gale-force winds were destroying their sails; and there was no land in sight — they had good reason to panic! In their mind, all hope was lost; they were going to die.
It’s interesting to notice, that while the disciples battled the storm outside the boat, Jesus was inside the boat asleep. Why didn’t they immediately wake Him up and ask for help? Answer: They believed the storm was more powerful than Jesus. They did not believe that Jesus had all power and that He was able to deliver them from their fears. They didn’t trust him. In fact, they were frustrated and angry with his lack of response and cried out, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” Fear has a way of paralyzing us and causing us to doubt the power and promises of God.
It’s important to note that when Jesus rebuked the disciples, it wasn’t because they feared the storm. Fear of danger is appropriate and normal. Jesus rebuked them for panicking over the lesser power instead of trusting in the greater Power.
This gets to the root of the problem of our fears as well. Why are you so afraid? It’s a very powerful question and it drives right to the heart of the matter. Because who or what you believe is most powerful, will be master over your thoughts and actions. Which is why, if we answer the question honestly and humbly, it will point the way to our freedom.
The Secret to Freedom from Misplaced Fear
After Jesus had stilled the storm and rebuked His disciples, the Bible says, “they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” What happened? How did the disciples go from fearing the deadly storm to fearing the Son of God? What occurred was a fear transfer.
Did you catch what the Bible said? They “feared exceedingly.” This fear of Jesus was very different than their fear of the storm. It wasn’t domineering. It didn’t leave them trembling. This fear opened a world of possibilities to them! They came to realize that this Person, Jesus Christ, had absolute power over all things. If the supernatural world and the natural world obeyed him, would any problem be impossible for Him to solve? NO!
“Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27
The secret to your deliverance from extreme fears is a fear transfer. You need to stop fearing other things more than you fear God. Those other things, whether imagined or real, may be bigger than you are and therefore frightening, but Jesus lovingly reminds you to “fear not.” Why? Because He has control over all things: “For by him [Jesus] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Colossians 1:16-17
When we fear earthly powers more than Jesus, not only do we dishonor Him, but we enslave ourselves to fearful dictators that distort our thinking and control our behavior.
Do Not Fear, Only Believe
How do you transfer your fear from the storm to Jesus while the storm is still raging? The answer is the simplest and yet often the most difficult thing to do: Put your trust in Jesus. It does not matter what your past was like, your family of origin, how big your sin is, how often you have failed, or how impossible your current situation seems. Nor do any of your weaknesses disqualify you from coming to Jesus for salvation and help. Nothing is too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:27). That is why the Bible tells us to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and obey him.
If you have repented of your sin and believed on Jesus as your Saviour, then like the disciples, He is in your boat with you. But unlike the disciples, don’t panic and assume He doesn’t care about your fears. He cares and He can deliver you from all your fears.
So what fear is overwhelming your heart today? The fear of sickness, financial loss, rejection, death? Take it to Jesus, “for he careth for you;” trust Him to direct you through the fearful storm “and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Living free from fear is not only possible for you — it’s available to you now. All it requires is faith — believing God’s Word and obeying it.