In Mark 4:35–41 we have the account of Jesus calming the storm. It is significant to note that Jesus rebuked both the storm and the disciples! Though He made the storm on the outside cease, He expected them to deal with the storm on the inside. As you read through the Gospel narratives, you will be surprised how often Jesus will control the elements and control demonic spirits—yet you will hardly ever see Him controlling the disciples. Someone wrote “Only He could rebuke the storm on the sea of Galilee. Only they could rebuke the storm of fear and doubts they were experiencing.”
When Jesus asks the disciples in this passage, “Why is it that you have no faith?” He is suggesting that faith was possible—that it was a matter of choice. They could have chosen to believe instead of giving in to their doubts and fears.
This is true for us, too. In His wisdom, God has made you and me responsible in certain matters of faith. The enemy of faith in our lives is fear, yet the Bible says over and over again the phrase “fear not” or “do not fear”. The admonition would not be there if it were not possible. If Jesus says, “Fear not,” it must be possible for us to receive that mastery over fear.
In Romans 8:15—“… the spirit of bondage again to fear.” Phobia, phobos, (Strong’s #5401; fob-oss); alarm or fright:—be afraid, exceedingly, fear, terror, from which comes phebomai (to be put in fear).
Paul associates this terror with the spirit of bondage, and writes that we have not been given that spirit. We have received the working of the Holy Spirit that is called the “spirit of adoption.” He will lead us to exclaim, “Abba Father”, an endearing term used by those who know that they are included in the family of God.
Again in 2 Timothy 1:7—”God has not given us a spirit of fear,” deilia (Strong’s #1167; di-lee-ah); timidity or fear. As Paul confronts Timothy’s fear, he reminds him what he has been given by the Holy Spirit a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Yesterday we considered faith as a gift of the Holy Spirit. When we consider faith as a choice, let us never think that we are left alone! God’s Spirit is working into us the knowledge that each of us is a child of the Father. By this means, the Holy Spirit is seeking to give us power, love, and a sound mind.
God’s Spirit can move powerfully in you so that faith is less a matter of making something happen and more a matter of letting something happen. Because it is a gift, you can only receive it. We each can respond to a gift being offered. We cannot initiate the offering of that gift, but we can receive it.
Where faith is a matter of choice, you can be confident that God’s Spirit is speaking the Word upon which you may base your choice to believe. Again using the story of the storm from Mark 4, let us notice that the disciples had His word (“Let us go over to the other side”), and they also had His presence. (He was with them in the boat.)
Denial is based in fear, but faith is never afraid of reality. This is not to suggest that a believer never fears, whether pain, sickness, poverty or the Enemy. Faithful believers experience fear of all these, but genuine faith is centered in the Lord and His Word. It is based in Him—the Truth—and His Word which is truth (John 14:6; 17:7). Instead of living in a religious or philosophical world of denial, a biblical believer is armed with faith’s true understanding and will refuse to be moved or to make decisions based on fear. The truth is (1) the Lord is with you, (2) His Word is true, and (3) He will not fail you or His Word.