Summary: As Christians in the world we often try to hide our faith out of fear but God has given us his Holy Spirit to overcome our fears and be bold witnesses in this world.
Camouflage. It’s something very well known today. Besides being worn just as a fashion today by some boys and men, why is camouflage used?
First, to be able to attack without being seen. This is the whole purpose in war. Soldiers are dressed up in camouflage so that they can sneak through the land and not be seen by the enemy and then attack when not expected.
Second, camouflage is used to avoid being a victim. This is most seen in nature. A fish looks like a rock instead of a meal. A chameleon changes colors to match his environment to avoid being seen.
Do we as Christians do the same? Do we camouflage our faith in order to fit in? To avoid being a victim? It’s simply easier to live in this world if you are not radically different. No one likes to be rejected. We don’t like to be whispered about. We don’t like it when those in town avoid us instead of wanting to be with us. So what is the common way of living? We are very quiet about our faith. “in quietness and trust is your strength.” We say things like, “I just need to be a nice person and that’s my witness. No need to talk about God or Jesus. That would be too radical. And of course never talk about sin. This might turn people off.” We don’t let people see any deeper than one millimeter into our skin. We don’t reveal our heart – our love – our Savior. That’s too personal and too great a risk. Stay camouflaged and stay safe!
What is the problem with us today? We are timid instead of bold. 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has NOT given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” What is timid? “lacking in courage or self-confidence, Fearful.” Shy, bashful. The Greek word means: fearful or cowardice. Hiding in the shadows.
What has happened? We have been bullied by the enemy into believing that we are second rate people. That we must sneak around as Christians and be something like spies against the enemy. But Jesus NEVER used camouflage methods and neither did any of his followers. They were different and obviously different and boldly different. Not controlled by fear.
Jesus used this word for timid when he rebuked the disciples in the middle of a storm: “Why are you afraid you men of little faith?” Why were the disciples timid? Why were they cowards in the storm? They thought Jesus couldn’t handle things. They thought they were on their own! What a ridiculous thought! Jesus’ question is not meant to be answered but it is a confrontation – of course you don’t have to be afraid – I am with you! The Son of God, creator, King of Kings!
The Lord wants to encourage us today to put away the camouflage and fear not – he will provide!
The first encouragement we have in moments when we are tempted to run away and hide in fear: Remember that the Spirit of the Lord is with us! Jesus may or may not still the storm. He may lead you into the valley of the shadow of death. But remember what Psalm 23 reminds us? “Your rod and staff comfort me.” He’s there, with you and no matter what the trouble or danger, he will be next to you to comfort, strengthen, and help you get through the valley, or the storm, or the trial.
What were Jesus last words in the Gospel of Matthew? "I am with you to the end of the age." Trust His Word! He will not abandon you.
In our text, Paul reminds us of the kind of spirit we have from God. And this brings us to the second encouragement from the Lord: we have a Spirit not of fear but of POWER! In moments of fear we need to remember that the power of God’s Spirit is with us. If only the disciples realized that with one word Jesus could calm the storm. We don’t know what exactly he said but probably a simple word like “Quiet!”
We forget also that the Word of God alone has power to touch the heart of people. We might think that people aren’t going to listen to it or respond to it. We hear that you have to use a multi-media presentation and make it attractive for the audience. There is nothing wrong with doing that either. But it is THE WORD which is like a hammer that crushes a rock. It breaks man’s heart. It also opens the eyes and brings healing with the Gospel.
Do you walk in the power of the Lord or in the power of your own producing? Before democracy arrived in Poland, the country was run by Lords and rich landowners – the nobility from all over the country. The senate filled with these noblemen would make decisions for the country but they always had a hard time getting much done – why? Because every member of the senate had veto power. With one word any member could stop a decision of the senate. In America we have only one man with that power which is the president. The ability to put a veto on any bill is his greatest power.