Jesus set the standard for how we face life-threatening storms effectively—in rest. The storm mentioned in Mark 4:36-41 brought great fear to the disciples. They probably thought they were going to die. What made the moment even more confusing was that Jesus did not seem to care; instead, He chose to sleep in the stern of the boat on a cushion.
When they finally woke Him, they asked Him why He did not care that they were perishing. He got up and rebuked the wind, and released peace over the sea. He then asked them why they had no faith. This moment illustrates how the Kingdom works, how faith works: It works from rest.
I have seen countless times when believers were tormented by great fear in a horrible situation and rebuked the devil accordingly. It usually involved yelling, tears and threats. But I have honestly never seen the devil yield to such tactics. Not that raising our voices is wrong. There is just a great difference between the loud voice of faith and the loud voice of fear. And believe me, the devil knows the difference. The voice of faith repels him, while the voice of fear attracts him. The words spoken make little difference.
This place of rest can also be called abiding in Christ. Jesus taught of this in His story about the vine and the branches. In the same way that a branch is connected to the vine, so we are to be connected to Christ. Abiding in Christ must become practical again. Abiding means basically that we live with a profound connection to the heart, mind and presence of God, with His promises. Living conscious of God's heart for us keeps us in a place of peace. And peace is more than the absence of something like war, noise or conflict. Our peace is the presence of Someone. It is the actual atmosphere of heaven.
When we begin to live out of fear, we must return to wherever we left our peace. Losing our peace usually involves making a mental agreement with a lie until our emotions become captive to that lie. The fiery darts of the enemy get past our shields of faith and penetrate our souls. The agreements made in those moments work against God's purposes for our lives. Repentance is in order. Repentance is the deep sorrow for sin that provokes a change in thinking. It is not complete until our thought lives are affected. It is not complete until we see that His promises and purposes are within reach.
The easiest approach to this challenge in life is to maintain peace in the first place. Cultivate a supreme value for the presence of God upon your life. Always have God's promises for your life within reach. Memorize them, sing them, write them out on pieces of paper—do anything you need to do to keep His mind in front of yours, until His thoughts become instinctively your thoughts.
Father, please give me some kind of warning when I am about to leave the place of peace You have created for me to live in. I do not want to do that anymore. It is too hard to recover. Remind me of the truth when I am about to consider a lie. And help me to anchor my soul in Your presence, in Your peace. Thank You for giving me the actual atmosphere of heaven to dwell in now.
His peace is my portion. It is my possession forever. I choose to live aware of the Holy Spirit upon me, and will not forget that His thoughts about me are all good.
Excerpted from Experience the Impossible by Bill Johnson. © 2014 by Bill Johnson. Used with permission of Chosen Books.
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