March 1, 2017

What do you fear? Do not be too quick to answer, “nothing” if you have not given this some careful thought. Recently I was told one of my mentors, who I respect very much, was going to call me about a particular idea. Immediately, upon hearing the news, my stomach went into knots and I became significantly tense. As I analysed this response I identified what was really going on. There was a sense of fear that I might embarrass myself and disappoint my mentor in what I said or did. Then a series of times came rushing to my mind from the past when I had embarrassed myself in front of teachers and classmates. I had not even considered that such a fear actually existed until this event triggered it. This was something I needed to deal with. For those who can truly say, “nothing,” I congratulate you.

A number of Jesus’ disciples were experienced fishermen, but there was a time when even they found themselves in a situation where fear rose its ugly head. We read about this event in Mark 4:35-41, “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ {36} Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. {37} A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. {38} 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?’ {39} He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. {40} He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ {41} They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’”

Jesus rebuked His disciples for their fear and their focus on lack, rather than on faith. There was a time when I thought, wow, they were in a tough spot and they went to the right source for an answer to their need, why the response? Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; {6} in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Those who understand the statement, “A punch is not a punch, it is a punch,” will be better able to understand this verse and why Jesus said what He said to His disciples.

When we truly trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding, we have the opportunity to develop the faith and knowingness “in Christ” to respond to situations that may arise with confidence, rather than fear, because He will direct our paths, or make them straight. This concept is not just a punch, it is “A PUNCH.” Ask the Holy Spirit to give you an awareness to the principle just shared and allow it to enable you to face whatever comes your way with faith, rather than fear.