PSALM 56:3-4;10-11 – When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, 11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?
THEME OF THE DAY. THE PROBLEM WITH BEING AFRAID. No reason to downplay it. Makes no sense to try and ignore it. Let’s get it out in the open. The world is a scary place. And because it is, people are afraid. I don’t need to remind ourselves of this reality. Been outside your house lately, like to a grocery store, listening to workplace chatter, or look in the faces of people? Afraid. Everywhere fear abounds. Even among Christians, and that is a problem. In Matthew’s gospel, our Lord Jesus is addressing His disciples on the topic of being afraid and He doesn’t “cut them any slack” toward their sinful fear. Let’s look at two accounts.
First, Jesus tells them being afraid of circumstances reveals a lack of faith – And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:23-26). The problem here was the disciples forgot who was in the boat with them – the Lord who created the circumstance causing them to be afraid. And He rebukes them. Friends, fight off being afraid by refusing to look at the world around us and losing sight of the God in us and His Lordship over this scary world. Remember, to allow sinful fear, of being afraid, shows a spiritual immaturity on our part. Don’t miss opportunities during trying times to grow in the faith instead of groaning in fear by a lack of faith.
Next, our Lord reveals to be afraid is to commit sin. Yes, friends, I know it is hard to swallow, but sinful fear, of being afraid of “what ifs” in our circumstances is in direct disobedience to the Lord’s command. Ponder what He says to His fearful disciples, “Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:22-27). Go slow over the Lord’s last four words – “Do not be afraid.” Those are not suggestions to consider or an opinion to dismiss. It is a command to obey. Is it hard? Yes, but that is why we have today’s scriptures. What is the source of conquering sinful fear? Of not being afraid? Trust in God’s unfailing Word. Twice the Psalmist reminds us of the Word – His Word – that calms every fear and delivers us from the bondage of being afraid.
No doubt about it. We live in fearful and scary times, but don’t act like unbelievers who have no Christ. We need not be afraid. Our God is our God and His Word is enough in every circumstance of life and into eternity. He will be true to His Word – always.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to quiet my anxious heart by the truth of Your powerful promises.”
QUOTE: “If we look around at the world, we have every right to be afraid, and as Christians, that would be sin.”