22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-23
There’s this thing in our lives: Like a vine it is woven into our character. It was hardwired into our being by our very Creator. It is fear.
For a Christian, fear has two sides. It is either righteous fear: which God intended it to be for His Glory or a worldly fear (Fear of Man): which halts us and that the enemy can manipulate.
For myself, it is easy to enjoy the fear of God when it is convenient for me. If I am being asked to choose between gossip, or putting someone down verbally. I choose not to and it feels right. If I notice someone near me drops some money, I almost immediately feel bad in my heart when the thought of keeping it and not returning it sweeps through my mind. I choose not to keep it. It feels and seems really easy to take the high road and be the do-gooder. Fear aids our discernment when we have that knowing. We can just feel when something is right or wrong. And if it feels wrong, we don’t do it. Righteous fear will always glorify the Lord and it will be unmistakable.
Worldly fear tends to immobilize me. I can choose to take really great ideas or intentions and shelf them because I feel unfit for the job. I can choose to not to trust the Lord and His promises and scramble around trying to fix my life. I can halt myself when God places words of rebuke in my heart for someone I know or love, because I am afraid of what will happen if I actually say what God has placed in my heart. I can use it as an excuse to remain idle and in a routine of either bad things or good things. If I am doing something in my safe, good routine and it works for me then why change it right? I can refuse to allow God to alter this path because this good thing is comfortable, safe and manageable from my perspective. If I am doing something wrong, I find myself using fear to not open up and share my sin issue or change it. I know that I will feel ashamed and I don’t want to be seen by OTHER PEOPLE as the person who suffers from “This thing” or used to do “That thing”. And if I do end up sharing this thing with other people, the sheer magnitude of what God will ask of me next keeps me halted. Sharing was a big enough task for one day. Changing should be saved for another day when I am more prepared.
But what if what is working for me is not working for Him?
Fear is a popular reason that things don’t happen for God’s kingdom. We don’t grow in our faith and we don’t fight the fight. We read stories like David and Goliath, smile and say “Oh how wonderful! David was a hero!” and shut the book, but when we are faced with our own giants, we do nothing and we slink back into the crowd. We want to be unnoticed. We would rather talk about courage, than be courageous. We would rather see things being done for Christ, then do things in His name. We would rather let things be as they are, because we simply choose not to trust in His promises even though His word is riddled in them . We push away the words in the bible that ask us to change, and we believe the enemy when he tells us that we cannot do the righteously fearful thing. We look at this Christian life we’ve chosen and feel like we’ve bitten off more than we can chew because there is a price to pay, but if we compare that the wage for a sinful life is death, then is it really so big? We believe that if we are shy, or awkward that we are not made to be teachers or leaders, or doers; because that is what Satan wants us to believe and it is a lie. God on the other hand, desires for us to be His army. He tells us over and over again about how much He loves us, and how He’s going to take care of us, and how He really wants us to heed His word or there will be consequences to pay and that if we choose Him and keep our eyes fixed on Him, that He will take care of our fears. All of them.
Why is it that when we actually do jump out of our metaphorical boat that we begin to sink and we cry out “Lord Lord! Save Me!!!! Help!” We think to ourselves, “I know it was you Lord, who called me out on the water. I saw you and I heard what you asked me to do and because I can see your face, I’m gonna do it! I’m going to clamber over this boat edge and gingerly come to you because you said that I could do all things by your strength. I can see that you’re doing it, standing there all glorious on lapping water, so I know I can do it too because you’re here….” And then we look down and realize that our feet are wet and BAM! Down we go…we felt the water…our socks and shoes are soaked. “Hold on a minute! Those are real sensations…proof that I am really out on the water with you Lord.” and it hits us…this is not going to be something we do on our own strength, but trying to visualize this FAITH and not have FEAR is hard and it will cost us the surety of a floating vessel and dry feet.
Righteous fear says wet feet and lapping waves are good. We heard God and He says “Have faith and come to me”. Righteous fear has promised us that we will see the Lord in the end of our days, that we can trust Him when He beckons us with His finger. Righteous fear shows us that our moral compasses are correct and that we are indeed on the right path. Righteous fear pushes us far beyond our limit and human understanding. Righteous fear demands that we do not look backward in longing for things that waste away in this world and worldly fear? it ensnares us. It makes us doubt the words written in the Bible. It deceives our hearts and our minds. It makes us feel like we need that boat and the dry shoes and socks more than we need the thing we cannot see. The faith. It makes us afraid to change and inactive in our faith. It makes us blend in with our culture and behave like everyone else. It deviates us from God’s almighty plan.
Here are some examples of worldly and godly fear and what the bible says about these fears. As you read them allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you in the areas that you fear. Allow Him to fill you up with courage, and as you close your browser, pray that the Lord ignite something new in you, something small that can be fanned into something big!(I apologize for the long list, but I truly feel that this topic needs firm understanding to grasp its importance, therefore I encourage you to check the links out.)
-Worldly Fear will tell us to stay near to what we know to be safe because it is better than stepping out of your comfort zone (Matthew 16:24-26)
-Worldly Fear causes us to live outside of God’s will (Jeremiah 29:11)
-Worldly Fear tell us that we can never change (Ezekiel 36:26)
-Godly fear allows God to be the judge (Romans 12:19)
Thank you for being bigger than our world or anything in it. Thank you that because of your greatness we need not be fearful when the toothless enemy attacks. Thank you, even though I am imperfect, that you sent your Son for me so that I may have everlasting life and dwell in your house forever. Take my sin of fear from me. I lay it at the cross where it belongs. It has no place in my life and I am choosing to give it no authority over my thoughts and actions. Instead I give you all of me. Take my life and turn it into a life that points to you and not to me. Help me to live courageously for you. Help me to act and speak according your will and protect my mind from the lies the enemy will throw to prevent me from doing so.
In Jesus name, Amen.