I am so excited to share what the Lord has put on my heart regarding fear! Throughout 2015, I took on the challenge of helping you overcome fears through Bible study, team adventures and coaching. We had some amazing breakthroughs and many of you have achieved incredible things in areas where fear once held you back! This is SO exciting and encouraging to me! However, I felt there was still a missing piece.
That missing piece was revealed to me in the following scripture
23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
The disciples had JUST left a crowd of thousands that Jesus fed miraculously before their own eyes! Jesus then dismissed them and sent them out ahead of Him in the boat, while He went to be alone on the mountain. Not only were they were a long way from land when the wind and waves began to rock them, it seems the storm lasted most of the night.
The text tells us that it was almost dawn before Jesus started to walk out toward them… ON the water!? Can you imagine the thoughts running through their minds… What the what?!? We read that they saw Him coming and were afraid. They actually believed He was a ghost and were terrified!
A few things are happening here that we can apply to our own lives. The disciples had just been through a storm. How many storms of life have you faced? They knew who Jesus was and the miracles he preformed, yet they did not recognize him. They did not recognize Jesus because “fear distorts your perception, it is an emotional response based on past circumstances.”
The disciples chose to react in FEAR… still shaken from the storm rather than standing in FAITH from the previous day’s miracles. How many times do we replay events and make up lies in our minds that cause us to chose fear over faith? Fears are toxic thoughts and keep you from your highest good.
For example, consider the following questions Dr. Leaf asks to determine if your brain is holding toxic thoughts:
- How many “could-have”, “would-have”, or “should-have” statements have you made today?
- How many “if only’s” were part of your inner vocabulary today?
- How many times have you replayed in your head a conversation or situation that pained you, or one that hasn’t even occurred yet?
- How many scenarios have you created of the unpredictable future?
- How much is speculation taking out of your day?
- How passive is your mind?
- How honest are you with yourself?
- Are you at cross-purposes with yourself – going through the motions, but not really committed to the goal, saying one thing but meaning another?
- How distorted is your thinking? Are you forming a personal identity around for example, a disease? Do you speak about “my arthritis”, “my multiple sclerosis”, or “my heart problem?”
- Do you ever make comments like “nothing ever goes right for me”; “everything I touch fails”; or “I always mess up?”
Have you heard the saying “blinded by fear?” There is scientific proof today that the reaction of the disciples caused a LITERAL BLINDNESS!
But here’s the good news! Jesus immediately said to them “Take courage!! IT IS I!! Don’t be afraid.” Often, we spend hours, days and even years battling a fear that the Lord wants to remove immediately. We simply must trust as Peter did when he replied “Lord if it’s you, tell me to come to you.” Does this not sound so typical of us?? Peter was not quite sure, but he was willing to step out in faith if Jesus would just confirm his doubts.
When you take a step of faith, a couple important things happen. First, you lay aside the fear that causes you to doubt and replace it with that trusting faith that God HAS you. Second, if your faith is not fully secure in whose you are, brand new circumstances can arise! For Peter, he began to walk on the water, but when he saw the waves, he began to sink. The wind sent a signal to his brain that reminded him of his fearful experience throughout the night in the storm. In that moment, Peter CHOSE that thought and began to sink! How you REACT to any given circumstance will determine your outcome. You get to choose! You can call out at any time to Jesus as Peter did and he will reach out his hand.
Jesus knows we will have trouble and face fear. He is not so much concerned with the emotional reaction rather the choice you make in how you react. “You of little faith” he said “why did you doubt?”
In the presence of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit and authority of the Kingdom, Peter walked on water. Can you imagine what is possible when we choose to trust in every circumstance??