Thursday, February 3, 2005

Faith Opposes Fear

Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith? (Mark 4:40)
One day, after Jesus had finished teaching by the Sea of Galilee, He said to the disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side.” So they got into a boat and set out across the sea. Along the way, a great windstorm arose and the waves began crashing in. All the while, Jesus was asleep in the stern. The disciples came to Him and said, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

Jesus arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” The wind ceased, and suddenly there was a great calm. Then Jesus turned to the disciples and said, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith.” (Matthew 8:23 says, “O you of little faith.”)

Faith is the opposite of fear. The disciples were full of fear and had no faith. Jesus was full of faith and had no fear.

We see the faith of Jesus when He spoke it out and said, “Let us cross over to the other side.” He had every expectation that what He said would be fulfilled, and that they would all make it safely to the other side. So even when the boat began to be battered and swamped, Jesus was in the stern sleeping peacefully on a pillow. He was not moved by the storm one bit. He had no fear, only faith, and so He was at peace even in the middle of the tempest.

Not so with the disciples, and Jesus asked them why. “Why are you so full of fear? How is it that you have no faith?”

Fair questions. After all, the disciples had been with Jesus for some time now, listening to Him preach and teach, watching Him heal people and expel demons. In fact, they had just spent that whole day with Him as He taught parable after parable on the dynamics of the Kingdom of God. And when He was finally alone with them, the Bible says, He explained all things to them (Mark 4:34).

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), and the disciples had already had many opportunities to hear the Word as Jesus preached. So how was it that their faith was so small in this moment?

The answer is simple: Fear. The disciples had not dealt with their fear, and fear is the enemy of faith. Faith and fear simply do not mix. Here is why:
  • Faith is believing the Word of God.
  • Fear is listening to the lies of the devil.
The disciples had heard the words of Jesus, but they had not yet learned His heart. So when the danger of the storm arose all around them, they panicked and went to Jesus. “Teacher, don’t You care that we are perishing?”

Where did the idea of perishing come from? And how did the thought arise that Jesus, who showed such marvelous compassion in so many other instances, now had such little regard for the well-being of His own disciples? They did not come from God. They were the whispers of the enemy on the wind and the waves. And fear entered in.

A few days later, Jesus was again by the Sea of Galilee when Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and asked Him to come and heal his daughter. This man had faith, and Jesus started off to the house with him. Along the way, a woman came to touch Jesus for her healing, and this caused a commotion (Mark 5:21-34)

About that time, servants came from Jairus’ house and said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”

Jesus heard their words, and immediately, He turned to Jairus and said, “Do not be afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36).

Jairus had a choice: He could listen to the words of his servants, and enter into fear. Or he could continue listening to the words of Jesus, and remain steadfast in his faith. If he had listened to the words of fear, his daughter would have perished. It was not the heart of Jesus for that to happen, for Jesus had already agree to go with Jairus and heal his daughter. He had no intention of going back on His word and forsaking this young girl. In fact, He had every intention of making her well.

So Jairus chose faith. He would not let the words of others contradict the Word of God and get him into fear. He would not poison his heart and weaken his faith with fear.

Back to the wind and the waves. When the disciples came to Jesus, He rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea, “Peace, be still.” Just as He spoke to the fig tree, and it obeyed. Just as He taught the disciples to speak to the mountain, with only faith in their hearts, and see the mountain obey.

You cannot mix faith and fear. You always have a choice. Listen to the Word of God. Let it fill your heart and be your constant meditation. Rebuke the voices of fear, the whispers of the enemy, the lies of the devil. Do not let fear steal your faith and rob you of your miracle. Believe only.