FREEDOM FROM FEAR
“Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don't you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’" Mark 4:38-40 (Read Mark 4: 35-41)
Storms often bring out our true spiritual condition. Jesus was in the boat but the disciples still feared for their lives. He chastised them for their fear and their “little faith!” Thus our greatest need is not for the storm to end but to be freed from fear and have faith in Him while the storm rages.
At a Standing Strong Through the Storm (SSTS) seminar in Central Asia, our translator looked at us at the close of our three-day session and commented, “Thank you for teaching us how to stand strong. God spoke to me a lot through this seminar. I was afraid to die but not anymore. I have peace to go and spread God’s Word.” She is now serving the Lord in a strategic mission in her region.
A significant factor in dealing with fear—especially fear of dying—is realizing that we are already deadin Christ (Galatians 2:20). Former Open Doors colleague, Hector Tamez, says that this concept is clearly seen in the lives of Christians living in war zones of Latin America. The Christians, who were caught in the civil war between the government and Shining Path guerrillas in Peru, are a classic example for us. Here is how Hector expresses their commitment:
“They know that they are going to be killed. And they say, ‘In order to be a Christian here, you have to recognize that you are already dead in Christ. Once you recognize this, then any day that passes by in your life is a gain.’”
In some countries, surviving one day or one year means that you have one God-given day or year to testify not only with your words but with your deeds. Fear should not control your life! Christ should control your life!
RESPONSE: When storms come my way, I will let them help me assess my own spiritual condition. I will affirm God’s power to overcome fear and live by faith in Him.
PRAYER: Ask God to forgive you for your times of fearfulness and lack of faith. Pray that all members of the Persecuted Church would have faith in Jesus like these Peruvian believers.
STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM (SSTS) -A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks
© 2010 Open Doors International. Used by permission
“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” Proverbs 10:25
Right now millions of Christians face persecution because of their faith in Christ. Register to receive the Open Doors USA Weekly Prayer Alert email. Join alongside thousands of others praying for our brothers and sisters worldwide to stand strong in the midst of their struggles. Also learn more about countries where the persecution of Christians is most severe by visiting the Open Doors website today.