Going Deeper with the Message:
Facing the Storms of Life
by: Ben Biles
On Sunday, Tim talked about the story from the Gospel in which the disciples fear for their lives as they navigate their boat in the middle of a storm. When they go to Jesus for help, they find Him sleeping and wake Him. He responds with two convicting questions, “Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
From our perspective, we think, “Of course the disciples were fearful.” The storm disrupted what they knew to be safe and normal. The waves were many times bigger than usual as they threw hundreds of gallons of water on deck while threatening to sweep them into the sea. At the same time, the wind seemed like it was trying to tear their sails apart rather than guide them smoothly across the water. The disciples probably knew plenty of stories about fishermen who had died in similar situations. It would have been natural to fear, except for one thing: Jesus was with them.
Jesus knew that His time had not yet come and that He would not die in the storm. The same went for the disciples. Jesus wanted them to see that God’s plan for their life meant surviving the storm for they would go on to do incredible things as they spread the gospel message. As such, they needed to have faith in God, trusting and depending in His power to pull them through this storm. Yet, their fear in the current moment outweighed their trust in God’s eternal purpose.
As we go through the proverbial storms in our lives, we need to have faith in God’s plan for our lives as well. We show our faith by trusting in God’s power, provision, and purpose in the midst of chaos. We trust that God’s plan is bigger than our current worry. Though we will experience suffering and brokenness because we live in a world filled with evil, sin, and chaos, we know that our eternal destination is with God in whom we will experience the infinite riches of His grace, love, and peace. Paul writes about this in 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 (which you should read and be comforted by) saying, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” As the stress mounts in your life, take comfort in God’s eternal purpose for you, knowing that Jesus is with you always. He will carry you through this storm as He has many times before.
Living out the Message:
Taking Fearful Thoughts Captive
By Ben Biles
As we struggle with the fear, worry, and stress in our lives, we realize that our thoughts can easily spiral out of control. It all starts with that initial thought that enters our mind. We can’t help but dwell on it and its future implications and we start to fear. As the fear takes root, it continues to develop and grow until it is firmly planted in our mind and becomes all-consuming, limiting our ability to think about much else. While we try to live peacefully in the present moment, our thoughts continually return to our fears and worries.
When it comes to fear, we must realize that the battle is fought in the mind. As such, it is necessary for us to deal with those initial thoughts early on so that they do not develop any further and cause us stress. When talking about engaging in spiritual warfare, the Apostle Paul says, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). When thoughts of fear and worry enter our minds, we need to take these thoughts captive, binding them from having any more effect. Once we do that, we should submit them in prayer to God, acknowledging our struggle.
On Sunday, Pastor Tim encouraged us with his main takeaway saying, “We don’t need to be afraid because Jesus is with us.” Once we take our fears captive, we should train our minds to dwell on this truth. Paul says in Romans, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31–32). We should take comfort in the fact that God is with us. Nothing can stand against Him. God can easily deal with the circumstances in your life that cause you fear. We have no reason to fear for He is in control.
When you encounter fear in your life, fight against it with faith. Take your fears captive and encourage yourself with the truth that Jesus is with you.