Untitled Sermon (3)
As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
I love this story. It is a story that reflects the human experience and more so the Christian experience. Chaos surrounds us, it’s waves batter the boats of our lives. We fear our lives will be capsized in all this chaos.
Like the disciples we run to Jesus, who is at rest and peace in our chaos. “What are you doing Jesus? How can you be so relaxed and chill? We are all about to die!”
After Jesus calmed the storm he turned to his disciples and asked a pointed question, I fear he often asks me.
“Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
What? My life is in chaos and you want to know why I am so afraid? You want to know if I still have no faith? My wife is leaving me, I have lost my job, my child is addicted to drugs, my life is a chaotic mess.
And yet he still asks that question. “Why are you afraid?”
With a question like that we have to ask; is there a way in which we as followers of Jesus can live in peace in the midst of the chaos, the storms? I think the Scriptures give us a resounding yes! Yes, we can and are called to live in peace in the midst of our storms. But how?
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Paul tells us that when our lives are are surrounded by a hurricane of chaos we must fix our thoughts. When the waves of chaos threaten to sink our lives we must fix our thoughts on what is true and not just emotional. We must fix our thoughts on what is awe inspiring , majestic and deserving of honor, we must fix our thoughts on what is true and just, fair and equitable. We must ponder on what is pure, holy, innocent and not vulgar. We must fix our thoughts on what inspires and invokes love. We must fix our thoughts on that which is admirable.
You see what you focus on will surround you.
I am reminded of the story of Peter walking on water. Out in a boat in the midst of a sea, the disciples see what they think is an evil spirit. Fear and chaos fill the hearts of the disciples. In this setting Peter calls out and says “Lord if that is you, call me out to you and I will. Jesus calls out to Peter. Come!
In this beautiful story Peter placing his focus on Jesus steps out of the safety of the boat and onto the chaos of the sea. As he places his thoughts and sight on Jesus he is surrounded by peace as he walks on the choppy waves of the sea. And then Peter looks at the chaos. His attention, his thoughts are pulled from Jesus towards the chaos that surrounds him, the danger, the fear. His thoughts are no longer fixed on truth, honor, justice, purity, love and that which is admirable but on chaos. No longer able to walk through the chaos he then sinks into it.
We do the same. Jesus calls us to walk in the midst of our chaos. His promise is peace and overcoming this chaos if we will just set our thoughts on him, and all the good things that come from him.
When we fix our thoughts on the chaos we are over taken by that chaos and shortly become a part of the chaos. But if as Paul tells us, we fix our thoughts on God and the good things that come from God truth, honor, justice, purity, love and that which is admirable nit only will be have peace within our selves but, we will become peace makers.
You have been given the power to have peace in the midst of the storms of chaos but, you have also been given the power to bring peace, to say to the storms “Peace, be still.” If only we will fix our thoughts so, our lives will be ordered by the peace of God.
Stop living in anxiety, fear, chaos. Fix your thoughts and start living in the peace God has promised all of his children.