You Have Authority Over Any Storm You Can Sleep In

Storm
(Flickr/MattysFlicks)

We don't know exactly how large the storm mentioned in Mark 4:36-41 was, but the lessons we can learn from this account are monumental in following Jesus' perfect example of kingdom living. Let's look at the passage:

"Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, 'Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?' Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 'Peace, be still!' And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 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!'"

The storm mentioned brought great fear to the disciples. They probably thought they were going to die.

Yet 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 the disciples 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.

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This moment illustrates how the kingdom works, how faith works: It works from rest.

Which Voice Are You Using?

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. Unfortunately, many believe this is the essence of spiritual warfare. But I have honestly never seen the devil yield to such tactics.

It's not that raising our voices is wrong. It's simply that there is 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.

Speaking From Rest

This place of rest can also be called "abiding in Christ." Jesus taught of this in His story about the vine and the branches (John 15:1-8).

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 basically means 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 instinctively become your thoughts.

In the presence of God is peace. And when you walk in this kingdom peace, you'll find a rest that can sustain you in any storm of life, no matter how hard the waves of fear come crashing in.


Bill Johnson is senior pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California, and author of numerous books. Excerpted from Experience the Impossible by Bill Johnson. Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group (bakerpublishinggroup.com), ©2014. Used by permission.

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