“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. [KJV] Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” – Matthew 8:23-27
There is something awesomely good about following the Master! Receiving instructions from and following the Master can be so much fun and rewarding. However it can also stir up much pain and agony! But if one learns to faithfully follow those instructions, the heat of the pain and agony would eventually be soothed out and changed to joy.
The scripture above tells of Jesus entering a boat, followed by His disciples. He took the initiative, the lead, and His disciples followed. The idea of what to do and where to go were His. A lot of pain and anguish many go through today are the result of trying to lead the Lord; thinking up the thing to do and asking God to come along! Of Him (originating from Him) and through Him (His Way and method) and to Him (surrendered to Him and His plans) are all things.
“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” – Romans 11:36
All things: thought, word and deed should originate from Him; that is when, and the only time when His peace that passes all understanding is shed into our hearts.
Jesus was in the boat with His disciples, yet a “great tempest” rose against them!
Walking with and obeying the Lord’s instructions does not make us immune to trials! Rather, it opens us up to trials! The Lord may be mighty in your life, your job, business, ministry, home and marriage, yet storms arise!
Translated from “seismos”, the Greek word as used in Matthew 24:7 and Matthew 27:54 which means earthquake, this was not an ordinary storm, but an EARTHQUAKE! A sudden, violent movement of the earth’s surface; this, under the sea.
Some of you maybe experiencing earthquakes in your lives: a job moving normally, a business making waves, a Ministry touching lives, a marriage full of fun and promise, a normal healthy life. Then all of a sudden, unexpectedly and without warning, a violent change comes; a severe attack, an EARTHQUAKE that comes with such great force that leaves you despairing for life and possibly asking for death!
“For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” – 2Corinthians 1:8-9
Even with Jesus in the boat!
These fishermen who had spent all their lives at sea became helpless. Their knowledge, experience and abilities had failed them! Their peace was gone! Indeed no man should trust in his knowledge, experience, education or connection, “for by strength shall no man prevail!”
Despite the earthquake you may experiencing now, God wants you to have peace! Even in the midst of turmoil, strife and trial, with every ground breaking up around you and falling apart, God wants you to know that He has you covered; you are secure. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right, no harm can come on you! (Psalm 91:7)
The disciples were worried, afraid and not at peace because of the Earthquake, and Jesus rebuked them as faithless! Imagine being in a summersaulting vehicle and with no seat-belt, and for crying out in panic, God rebukes you!
What does He expect you to do?
Ignore the storm! Jesus ignored it! That was why He rebuked them.
“And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” – Matthew 8:26
He was disappointed that they were afraid and woke Him up. Why was He disappointed?
They did not ignore the storm!
He had told them how much they mean to God and how much God cares for them. (Matthew 6:25-34.) They were not to worry! Satan cannot do anything to you except God allows him. That was why Jesus could sleep in the boat! But obviously, the disciples did not learn it; they lived in fear and worry.
Whereas the Word of God tells us not to fret because of evil doers (Proverbs 24:19)
Thankfully, they began to practice, for over ten years later Peter faced a situation that threatened his life. He had learned and exercised himself to be at peace with his everyday situations, no matter the environment.
In Acts 12:1-5, with just a few hours to be beheaded, he did not rehearse his fate, or try to figure where he went wrong. Rather he slept soundly, peacefully in the midst of a “quarternium” of soldiers (16 soldiers).
Now he knew. There was a knowing now, that we are hidden in Christ where no devil or harm can come. They can raise every kind of storm but cannot touch a child of God that knows the power of God that works in him!
“But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32b
Knowledge is powerful, it delivers!
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32
It takes knowledge of the Word of God, to be free or delivered from worry. Peter knowing the Word of God and having an understanding of same through practice, was able to put his trust in Him who gave that Word. And as trust begets peace, he was filled with peace and was able to sleep!
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” – Isaiah 26:3
Trust comes by knowledge, and knowledge does not come cheap! It does not come overnight, but with time, patience and consistency.
It took Peter over ten years of practice, over ten years of “tasting” the Lord, before knowing He is good.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” – Psalm 34:8
To taste means to get involved, to experience, which sometimes, come with a high price.
Learn to leave some things alone. After you have huffed and puffed, leave everything in the hands of the Lord and go to sleep. Allow peace into your heart kknowing that God is working all things to your favour!
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2).
God has His will for us.
Inside that will or plan, are His promises; like a house with one main entrance yet with many doors into its rooms. It is like a seed carrying in it a forest of trees.
At creation God gave man a free will.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou MAYEST freely eat:” (Genesis 2:16).
God gave man a free-will, but also told him the consequence of not choosing His (God’s) will.
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest of it thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17).
In other-words if man obeys God, he lives and if he disobeys death will come knocking. This was clearly repeated in Deuteronomy 30.
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
“CHOOSE LIFE!” God said to man.
Jesus, like everyone of us had a free-will. But He chose the will of the Father.
“Jesus saith to them, My food is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:34).
Again He said:
“I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I SEEK NOT MY OWN WILL, but the will of the Father who hath sent me.” (John 5:30).
In Gethsamane, he proved that the will of the Father is to be enthroned, and asked us to do the same.
He submitted His will to the will of the Father and taught us to seek the same.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10).
This establishes TWO WILLS – God’s and man’s.
However, there is yet another will (a third), very subtle and cunning; the will of the enemy of God and man.
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44).
Jesus was saying in effect, “I know you are Abraham’s children. Yes you are born into the Church, but not really God’s Children, because you will do the will, desire and plan of your father – the devil.”
This third will is not only subtle but aggressive! It dominates the will man and turns him against the will of God! This is where we have the struggle, the battle!
“I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God, after the inward man: but I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Romans 7:21-23).
I love the word of God and desire to obey It, but I see another command capturing my will or resolve and making me do what I do not want to!
Doing the will of God takes a fight; the fight of Faith! He that refuses to fight will be at ease and compromise with the world, conforming with it!
You fight to dethrone the will of the enemy and enthrone the will of God. It takes a fight and you cannot afford to be at ease for “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion” – Amos 6:1.
You have to dethrone the will of the old-man and enthrone the will of God. You have to fight to do the will of God, for this is required of you.
“For ye have need of patience, that, after YE have DONE THE WILL OF GOD, ye may receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:36).
The promise of God for us individually, can not come till we have done His will.
WHAT IS THE WILL OF GOD?
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; THAT IN ALL THINGS HE MAY HAVE THE PRE-EMINENCE.” (Colossians 1:18).
That is the will of God! That Christ may have the preeminence, even over your own will!
The devil does not want this! Would you let him? That is why you have to fight! The devil’s ultimate plan is to enthrone you where Christ should be.
“For men will be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;” (2 Timothy 3:2-4).
All these point to self!
Satan sold this spirit of self to Adam and Eve. He tried to sell it to Jesus in the wilderness and He rejected it. Again he tried at Gethsamane and failed.
Today he sells this spirit to Christians and we are buying it! Should he succeed with you, he turns you into an enemy of God.
HOW DOES HE SELL THIS EVIL?
Jesus talked about those that have the key of knowledge.
“Woe to you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye have not entered in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.” (Luke 11:52).
They were in the Truth (having the key of knowledge), but have deviated.
“Who have forsaken the right way, and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” (2 Peter 2:15).
And now they “speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption:” (2 Peter 2:12).
Their teachings are hollow, without spiritual substance; filled with the traditions of men, the basic principles of this world, what they know naturally.
“Beware lest any man make a prey of you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8).
Peter calls them wells without water (2 Pet. 2:17) who when then they speak, “speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that had quite escaped from them who live in error.” (2 Peter 2:18).
They are satan’s mouth-piece, just as the serpent was at Eden. Their words appeal to, woo, stir-up lustful desires of sinful human nature – the desires of the flesh thereby putting YOU where Christ should sit! It feels so good to be “god”, to have your own way, to be under no one’s control, when unknowingly the will is under an influence! Absolute liberty is bondage!
These fleshly desires give birth to SELF centredness and should be mortfied, put to death!
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; lewdness, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Colossians 3:5).
Do not be full of yourself! Think less of yourself, more of God and His will. As the Psalmist said “delight in” (love) what God loves (Psalm 37:4), enthrone the will of God over yours and He will grant you the desires of your heart (which at this time would be things that please Him).
This is how the law of the Spirit (Rom.8:2) works. It sets you free from material life when, and only when you set your affections on things above.
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2).