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When Peter saw the winds, anxiety gripped his heart and he began to sink. Proverbs 12:25 informs “An anxious heart weighs a man down.” Anxiety can weigh us down from experiencing incredible blessings that only come about as a result of walking by faith. When Peter’s attention redirected off of Jesus and onto the winds, his anxieties held him back from taking another step on the water and literally weighed Peter down, causing him to sink. Though our anxious thoughts will always hold us back from experiencing some amazing blessings that are only unlocked by our faith, while our eyes are on Jesus, nothing shall be impossible for us.
As long as the Lord is at the forefront of our thoughts, we will not be intimidated by the circumstances around us, because we will be mindful of God’s greatness and past faithfulness in our life though trials may surround us. (Psalm 16:8) It is only when we allow circumstances to distract us from fixing our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), like Peter, that anxiety will grip our hearts and we will be weighted down by those discouraging thoughts.
Some time before Peter walked on water, he witnessed Jesus instantly calm probably the fierest storm, Peter and the other disciples had ever been caught in. Their sheer terror over the storm says a lot since Peter some of the disciples there were experienced fishermen. It’s what they did. But while they sailed in a boat on the Sea of Galilee with Jesus sleeping onboard, the storm swept the waves over the boat, convincing the disciples they were all going to drown. Instead, Jesus commanded the storm to stop, and instantly the wind and waves obeyed, leaving the disciples utterly amazed (Matthew 8:27)
Having witnessed this, why would Peter then be anxious of the wind kicking up while he walked on water? Peter was arms length from Jesus, the very One who the winds and waves obeyed. Though his fears were completely unwarranted, because Peter allowed his negative circumstances to consume his mind, remembering how Jesus past faithfulness to calm the fierce storm was currently weighted down by Peter’s anxious thoughts.
Consider the Israelites after having crossed through the Red Sea on dry ground to safety. Not long after, when discouraging circumstances arouse (Exodus 16:1-3), anxiety crowded out their remembrance of how God miraculously delivered them while they were trapped at the Red Sea. (Exodus 14:21-22; Psalm 78:41-43)
When faced with discouraging circumstances, it can be tempting to dwell on the negative, thinking “Great, what am I going to do now?” But that’s the problem. Thinking “What am I going to do now?” Worrying just takes on a burden that God never meant for us to carry. All we have to do is trust in God and look to His Word for counsel and direction. God will work out our circumstances beautifully if we will just trust Him. (Exodus 14:13-14) He has good plans for us (Jer. 29:11) He is using our trials for good (Romans 8:28) And when He has wrung ever ounce of good out of a trial (Psalm 84:11) He will be faithful to deliver us (Psalm 34:17, 19)
When I’m faced with discouraging circumstances, the best way I avoid being discouraged, is by remembering how God has delivered me from other trials in the past. As I reflect on His past faithfulness to deliver me (Psalm 34:17), I can’t help but be encouraged, even at times excited to see how God is going to work my circumstances for good, or even better, how He is going to deliver me. Only then am I able to see my problems as God does— that my current fears are unwarranted and I can rest in the promise that God will deliver me. (Psalm 34:19)
Don’t let anxious thoughts weigh you down from trusting the Lord and walking by faith. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
Question for you: When anxious thoughts creep in, what have you found to be the most effective in taking those thoughts captive and bringing them into the obedience of Christ? (2 Cor. 10:5)
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Copyright © 2012 Brooke Espinoza.
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