Face Your Fears
Face Your Fears
John 13:38 - "Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!"
Most of us can probably relate to a time in life when things just didn't turn out the way we wanted them too. In fact, life has a funny way of creating chaos at the least opportune time. There have certainly been times when i've felt like my life was *only* capable of chaos and disorder. But i've learned a valuable lesson: It's what you do in the midst of chaos, that determines how you see your life in spite of chaos.
Peter loved Jesus so much! He was the only disciple to step out of the boat. He was the only disciple to rebuke Jesus for saying He was going to die (even though Jesus rebuked him back for not understanding why). And he was the only disciple to draw his sword when the soldiers came to take Jesus away. And while we don't know what the other disciples were saying or doing in the heat of the moment, we know that Peter claimed he would follow Jesus anywhere - even to the point of death.
But we know the story. Chaos paid Peter a visit, took away his Jesus, and moment by moment his world was now crashing around him. Three times that same night Peter denied knowing Jesus at all. Perhaps within eye-shot of Jesus himself. Chaos is always accompanied by his friend fear.
Outside of Christ we have fair reason to fear lots in life. Once redeemed by Christ, fear is nothing more than an illusion to keep us bound to the hopelessness of a life (or lack of) that we once lived. Peter was a mere man like the rest of us. And he had to face his fears much in the same way we face ours. Where did he end up after Jesus death? Back in his fishing boat. The very man who walked with God incarnate. Who saw miracles and wonders. The man who performed many miracles himself. A man who experienced more in three years with Jesus than most of us could dream of in our lifetime.
That is the place that fear wants us. Back in our fishing boat. Stuck out at sea with nothing in our net, and no place to go. But God! Jesus never leaves us or forsakes us. Even when we deny Him. He calls to us and meets us on the shore. He feeds us and restores us. He transforms us!
John 21:7 - Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
Peter was the first to jump out of the boat and swim to shore. And he was restored! Fear doesn't disappear by positive thinking. Fear doesn't "take a hike" because you read a really good book on "overcoming your fears!" Fear doesn't shrink back because the pastor preached really good sermon about it. Fear is not crushed because you "prayed" that God would just take it away (exceptions aside). As the old saying goes "face your fears" - all of the aforementioned may contribute to how you go about that. But facing your fears is truly the only way to squash them. It is when you face your fears that you realize you are in control, not it. And you have an ally that will not leave your side. One who has called you more than a conqueror. That makes you greater than Alexander the Great (and he conquered quite a bit).
The second part of Peter's life was quite different than the first. He became fearless to the point of death. Crucified upside down on a cross like the one he loved so much. If you live your life in fear, know that you have a choice. You fear is telling you that you are it's slave. But I am telling you that you are it's master. Fear is not the opposite of faith, as it is often very fearful to take a step of faith. Take a step today! Whatever you can muster. Just take a step and soon you will see as I did, that fear is just bondage; an illusion. It will never go away. You will face it again and again. But if God is for you, if He is in you - whom or what shall you fear? Even death has no sting! In saying that, don't always assume the worst either. Just take a step. Tomorrow you'll be two steps ahead!