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Devotional - week of November 3, 2013


why are you so fearful?

But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him.  Mark 4:40-41

Jesus speaks to His disciples after calming a storm that came up while they were on the Sea of Galilee.  The disciples were terrified until Jesus calmed the storm.

Jesus’ words answer for us the question of how to have victory over fear. It is not by building up our courage as many think. It is having faith. Having faith is far easier than trying on our own to build up our courage. Scripture explains how a believer’s faith grows.

First, our faith grows through having fearful experiences. Notice our main passage again. After Jesus calmed the storm, their faith grew. They saw Him as one who could calm the wind and the sea. This was to them a new revelation of what Jesus can do. The disciples had a new vision of Jesus and this built their faith.

Second, our faith grows as we grow in Bible knowledge. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Our faith grows by being in a Bible study group, listening to sermons, and especially by reading the Bible. It is embarrassing for a pastor to have to tell his church members how to find the passage he intends to read. Yet, it happens all the time. If believers were Bible students, this would not be necessary.

Over a lifetime a believer will be blessed by giving up his favorite television program to read his Bible. Of course this should be done only by the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Third, we grow in faith by being filled with the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22 says that the fruit of the Spirit is “faith.” Admittedly, most new translations of the Bible translate this passage with the word faithfulness. However, the Greek word is also translated “faith.”

Fear is not the opposite of courage. Fear is the opposite of faith. All God’s children need to do what is necessary to be people of faith.