And He said to them, “Why are you timid, you men of little faith?” Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm. ~ Matthew 8:26
I want to talk a little about how the Lord makes disciples.
This word ‘timid’ strikes me today. Jesus wakes up and everything is a mess. The sea is crashing over the side of the boat, everyone is running hither and yon, in short, Chaos!
Before He even gets up, He processes what is going on, and decides on the lesson for the day.
In my mind, this storm is a scheme of the evil one to destroy Jesus and all his pals in one fell swoop. I know we like to call storms and things that are beyond our control “Acts of God,” but I am thinking that this isolated hurricane was probably a gift from the “prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:2)
But Jesus, like His Father in every way, actively uses all things, every circumstance in the disciples lives, to their good, and for their education, their training in righteousness.
So back to our word for the day – timid – some translations use the word fearful or afraid. There are a number of words and variants of those words for fear in New Testament Greek. Many come from the root “phobos” like our phobia, which has in it the idea of flight. Others give the sense of awe and wonder.
But this word for fear that Jesus uses is always negative. The first definition is ‘Cowardly.’ I find it five times in the Word, in various forms though there may be other forms used elsewhere. Two of these times are two accounts of Jesus words in this instance. But let’s look at the other three times this word is used in the Bible and see what Jesus is going to teach the disciples though this circumstance they find themselves in.
Jesus uses this word one other time. Right after He announces He is headed off to prepare a place for them.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. ~ John 14:6-7
He tells them He is going to be gone, but they should take control of their hearts – guard them from the onslaught of fear that would overtake them. Don’t be cowardly.
Next we see Paul talking to Timothy about a spirit of timidity (pneuma deilia.) This word for spirit is the same word used for Holy Spirit, but it has a sense of breath or wind as well.
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
Paul is saying when you sense that cold breath of cowardice creeping up your spine, it's the breath of your enemy, not the Voice of Heaven issuing a warning. Stand strong when cowardice calls you. This cowardly spirit never comes from the Father.
The final use of this word is in the book of Revelation when John describes those who face the final condemnation of their eternal souls. It is in fact the very first on John’s list of the condemned.
“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” ~ Revelation 21:8
This verse has always strikes me, as we view this group standing at the gates of hell awaiting entrance, and it is populated by cowards, liars and murderers. In our minds, these are vastly different "levels" of sin, yet they all line up for the same end.
Back to the boat – Jesus takes this circumstance (I contend it is from the hand of satan) and uses it to teach the boys courage in the face of opposition, even when it looks like ‘an act of God.’
Have you ever faced a sudden fear that overcame you completely out of the blue, a fear that made you want to fold up shop, or shut down, draw back? Perhaps it was at the start of something new God lined up for you, and starting seemed to be the worst punishment imaginable.
This spirit of cowardice is not from the Lord, and it is not part of you. It is from the enemy, and needs to be driven off.
It may take power to run it off, or it may take love to run it off, but for sure it will require self discipline, to stand up and speak to the storm.
The Bible tells us Jesus was tempted in every point just as we are. I am sure that day Jesus, waking up in the back of the boat was slammed by a spirit of fear, of cowardice and was tempted to panic, but He stirred up discipline, that oft forgotten fruit of the Spirit, self control, and He garnered that gift from His Father, power, and He declared the Fathers will for the day, “Hush.”
I do love Jesus!
What is God’s word today for your circumstance? Do you hear Him speaking over you. Push away the fear, and look for that power or love you need to move forward.
See you again soon.