Fear is universal: it's something all of us experience. It doesn't matter how much money you have in the bank, how healthy you are, or how young or old you are: everybody has to deal with fear. So how do we do it? How do we overcome the fears that we face? Today, I'd like to look at fear through the lens of a familiar story: Peter walking on water.
Choose Faith Over Fear
Matthew 14:28 says,
And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."
Matthew 14:22-27 sets the stage for this scene. The disciples had just seen Jesus feed the five thousand and began to cross the lake. Jesus came later, walking on the water, and when the disciples saw Him "they were terrified" (v. 26).
Then Peter decides he wants to walk on water. I'm not sure what got into him. Maybe he just wanted to be with Jesus, or maybe he wanted see what it felt like to walk on water. But, whatever motivated him, his fear of sinking in the water was overcome by his faith in Jesus.
And that's the first step to overcome our fears: we must have faith to believe in Jesus. Faith is a choice. When we are going through uncertain times, we must choose to place our faith in Jesus over our fears about the future.
Choose to Move
In Matthew 14:29,
He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
Notice the action involved in Peter's faith: he "got out," "walked" and "came." It not only took faith to get on the water but to move on the water. Every step Peter took, the wind was beating against him and the waves rose and fell around him. And yet his faith didn't waver. He kept his faith in Jesus through the journey.
To overcome fear, you have to move by faith. You must continue to have faith in Jesus no matter how scary everything is around you. You have to stay focused on Jesus and His ability to do anything in your life and to overcome any obstacle.
Choose to Ignore Circumstances
Matthew 14:30-31 says,
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
When the wind was blowing against Peter, he didn't notice it at first because his focus was on Jesus. He only sank when he took his eyes off Jesus and put them on his circumstances.
I don't know what your circumstances are today, pastor. You might be facing the biggest test of your life. You might be dealing with things that seem impossible to overcome. But, like Peter, you have a choice: focus on your circumstances or focus on Jesus.
He wants you to live by faith not by fear. And faith is a choice. He can help you overcome anything, as long as your faith is in Him.
LOOKING FOR A COACH? I offer one-one-one coaching to pastors and other professionals and the first hour is FREE! To sign up, click here.