Summary: If we are going to stand up and step out by faith, it will require resisting our fears.
Peter’s walk on the water with Jesus is a wonderful illustration of the walk of faith. Last time, we said that walking by faith means, first of all, getting out of the boat. As the old Chinese proverb puts it, “The journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step.”
So it is with the walk of faith. If we are going to walk by faith, and thus, live as Jesus did in this world, we must be willing to stand up and step out when and where He calls us to. But there is yet another truth for us to consider - to walk by faith means resisting my fears.
If there is one thing which seems to characterize this world in which we find ourselves, it’s fear. In his book, “Crazy English,” Richard Lederer lists 20 kinds of phobias, ranging from
anuptaphobta (fear of staying single), to chronophobia (fear of time), to dromophobia (fear of crossing the street), to verbaphobia (fear of words), pantophobia (fear of everything), to even
phophobia (fear of fear). One survey asked, “What is the basic feeling you have about life?” and 60% said, "Fear!”
Many are overwhelmed with fear. But God desires that we overcome our fears. That’s why He calls us to walk with Him by faith. Faith is the opposite of fear. To be fearful is to be faithless, and to be faithful is to be fearless! To walk by faith, we must resist our fears!
From this story of Peter’s walk on the water with Jesus, we can identify three types of fear which can prevent us from walking by faith, and thus, keep us from living life as Jesus did in this world.
1. We Must Resist Unfounded Fear Of The Lord - vs. 26-27
Many do not respond to the Lord’s call to walk by faith because they are afraid of the Lord Himself. They are afraid of what He might ask of them or that He might somehow let them down. The problem is that they are evaluating the Lord’s trustworthiness by their past experience with others. Maybe they’ve had this kind of experience:
A soldier was learning to parachute. His instructions were: (A) Jump when you are told; (B) Count to ten and pull the ripcord; (C) In the very unlikely event that your chute doesn’t open, pull the second chute open; (D) When you land, a truck will be waiting to take you back to the base. The plane got up to the proper height, the men started peeling out and he jumped when told. He counted to ten, pulled the ripcord, but the chute failed to open. He proceeded to the back-up plan, and pulled the cord for the second chute. It, too, failed to open. “Great,” he complained to himself, “I’ll bet the truck won’t be there when I land either.”
Have no fear, Jesus will be there for you, just as He promised.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
The answer to unfounded fear of the Lord is knowledge of the love Christ has for us. The Bible says that as we grow in our knowledge of the Lord and His love for us, fear will subside.
“There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!” - 1 John 4:18 (Amplified)
NO Jesus - NO Peace; KNOW Jesus - KNOW Peace.
2. We Must Resist Unfounded Fear Of The World - v. 30
Peter had an unfounded fear of the circumstances surrounding him. The same can be true of us. We can have an unfounded fear of the world. The answer to unfounded fear of the world is knowledge of the victory Christ won for us.
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” - John 16:33 (HCSB)
On April 10, 1863, Colonel Abel D. Straight was ordered to destroy the Confederate lines of communication in North Georgia. The colonel left fort Henry on the 15th of April with 2,000 cavalry. After a month of hard fighting, he surrendered to General Nathan Bedford Forrest outside Rome, Georgia. Forrest had pressed Straight constantly, never letting him rest. Straight was convinced that Forrest’s forces far outnumbered his. But when he surrendered, Straight realized he had been “had.” Forrest had only 400 men, compared to Straight’s 2,000. When Straight angerly protested, he was told, “Cheer up, Colonel. This isn’t the first time a bluff has beat a straight.”
Don’t let the world get its bluff in on you!