Summary: Don't let doubt into your life. Learn how to overcome this horrible attack of the enemy
Fear vs. Faith – 5
The Forerunner of Fear
We must understand that fear always brings bondage. Fear’s opposite, faith, always brings liberty. The way that we stay out of fear and into faith is something very simple. It is by not fearing. If I had the time today to read all the Scriptures in the Bible on “Fear Not,” you would realize how important it is to God to fear not. God commands us in Scripture not to fear.
Today, I want to talk about the forerunner of fear. A forerunner is something that prepares the way for someone or something. John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus Christ. He came to prepare the way for the Messiah. Fear has a forerunner and a sidekick and that sidekick is called doubt. Doubt is also translated as unbelief in the King James Version of the Bible.
Doubt is more than just a sidekick; it is an advance man or a forerunner. Doubt almost always makes an appearance in your thinking before fear comes along. Doubt’s job is to prepare you to receive Mr. Fear when he arrives.
One of the best Biblical examples of how doubt runs interference and results in fear can be found in our text.
Matthew 14:25-31; “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”
If you have spent any time in Sunday School as a child, you have heard this story of Jesus walking on the water. You have probably heard it preached 100 times or more. In these verses Jesus clearly attributed Peter’s fear and failure to doubt. The Bible says that when Peter saw the winds, he was afraid. When Jesus responds to Peter’s fear, he specifically says, “where did you doubt?” In other words, you were afraid, Peter, but at some point, in order to be afraid, you must have doubted me. Doubt is always the forerunner of fear.
Keep in mind that giving attention to the Word of the Lord puts you in the realm of the law of life. As long as Peter was focused on the Word of Jesus, “come,” he was able to operate in the realm of the miraculous. But when Peter shifted his focus to the waves and the wind, removing his focus from Jesus and the Word He has spoken, he stepped out of the law of life and entered the domain of sin and death. What was the result? Peter got wet and began to fear that he was going to drown.
What caused this shift in Peter’s focus? According to Jesus, doubt shifted Peter’s focus from faith to natural circumstances and that is why he was fearful of the winds and the waves. Doubt pulled up alongside of Peter and said, “Take a look at the size of those waves!” Then Peter, choosing to operate by his senses rather than the Word, paid attention to doubt and looked at the waves. Then, doubt whispered, “You’re a pretty good swimmer, but if you were to sink in wind and waves like these, you surely would drown!”
At this point, the forerunner, doubt, had done his job. Peter was primed and ready for fear to make its appearance. Peter was no longer focused on Jesus and the Word He had spoken. He had moved from faith to doubt and from doubt to fear. All that was left for him to do was yell, “Help!”
In the same way, many believers got hold of a little bit of the Word and begin to learn how to walk on top of the waves of their circumstances. As long as they focus on Jesus and what is in the Word and focus on the covenant they have with the Lord, they walk in victory. What they do not realize is that the devil will use the same tactic that he used on Peter. The demonic forces will try to get them into doubt so that fear can have an invitation to enter. Peter fired faith half way to Jesus and re-hired fear, and so do many Christians.