Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Isaiah 41:10 AMP Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.
Fear is the devil's primary motive of operation when he is trying to stop a believer in Christ from fulfilling their potential in the Lord. God has designed and created His children with the ability to perform to the best of His potential within them, but the devil is always watching to find a way to stop that person from doing all that God has called them to do. Our heavenly Father tells us over and over again to “fear not”. He is always with us. He never sleeps nor grows weary in coming to our rescue.
There have been many times that God has spoken this scripture to me before I knew a difficulty was coming my way. He would tell me that He was strengthening me and hardening me to difficulties. He always prepares us to walk victoriously through the difficult times. One of the ways that we are strengthened is when we keep our eyes on Jesus, focused on how big our God is and His ability to speak just one word and change our situations. Please notice that after He tells us in this scripture to “fear not”, He reminds us that He is with us, but then gives us the primary key to resisting fear; “do not look around you in terror”! Why should we not look at the fearful aspects of our situation? Because when we allow ourselves to be drawn away from the Lord through considering the seriousness of our difficulties, we take our eyes off of Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. When fear is present, faith is not present; but when we are gazing in faith at our God and His greatness, fear cannot stay; faith will rise up within us declaring the victory!
Let's look at the story of Peter walking on the water. It is a perfect example of the effects of fear on a person's faith-walk.
Matthew 14:27-31: Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer. It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Jesus knew that his disciples were caught in a storm so He walked on the water to get to them. God is always right there when we go through difficult times. He understands our weakness to fear. He knows that we are subject to looking around us at the waves in the storms of life. But He still tells us to not be afraid! Peter was excited to see Jesus walking on the water. He wanted the others to know that it was the Lord, not a ghost. Sometimes we can't see Jesus in the midst of our difficulty because the wind and the waves distort our ability to see beyond the natural into the spiritual realm. But God is always with us; He said in Hebrews 13:5 that He would never leave us nor forsake us. Peter knew that if Jesus would just speak the word to him to “Come” that he would be able to walk on the water just like Jesus. His faith was focused on the Lord when he stepped out of that boat. And he was successful; he walked on the water. But then he took his eyes off of Jesus and began to consider the seriousness of his situation. The waves and the wind became stronger than his faith and he began to sink. But wait!... he wasn't overcome by the storm because the Lord was right there to help him! And Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever! He is right there to pick you up when you fall; to strengthen you for the next time that you need to exercise your faith. He will never let you down!
What are you going through this morning that the Lord says “fear not”? When a little sapling is first planted in the ground it is weak and subject to the wind and storms. The wind often causes that little tree to bend clear over to the ground when the storm is raging. But as the little tree's roots grow deeper into the ground it becomes stronger and the wind doesn't have as much effect on it. So it is with us; as we experience hardships and difficulties God strengthens us and hardens us so the next storm that comes along does not have the same effect on us as the last one. He continues to strengthen us so we can live victoriously over the storms of life.
Father, I thank You this morning for strengthening us to the difficulties of life. I thank You for always being there to go through the storms with us. And I thank You for not allowing them to overtake us. You are bigger than any storm we might face, Father. I pray for my Spark Friends this morning that may be experiencing a storm in their lives. Father, uphold them by Your right hand of strength. Give them the ability to see past the natural into the spiritual to see You in the midst of the storm. Grant them the victory, Father! Thank You, Lord, for placing Your Spirit and power within us to give us the ability to win in the battles of life! To You be all the glory, Lord! In Jesus' name. Amen.