An Anchor in Your Storm
September 1, 2008 - Never before in the history of the world have people been faced with the tremendous and overwhelming problems that face us today. And never before have we possessed weapons that could destroy such vast areas of civilization as the weapons we have today.
Sir Winston Churchill once made the statement, “Our problems are beyond us.” Nathan Pusey, president of Harvard University from 1953 to 1971, said that the whole world is searching for a creed to believe and a song to sing.
Where are we going to turn? The Apostle Paul, many years ago, faced that question from the crew of his storm-tossed ship. He said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.” (Acts 27:21-25).
The angry waves lashed against the ship, the lightning flashed, the thunder roared, yet Paul stood in the midst of the storm and declared, “I have faith in God.”
There are storms in the world today: storms of unbelief, materialism, secularism, moral degeneracy and international difficulties.
And there are storms in your own life: storms of temptation, confusion and difficulty. By neglecting church, by neglecting daily Bible reading and prayer, you have broken away from moral moorings and you are out in a storm.
You thought that you could find some satisfaction, pleasure or peace; but you have not found it. An uneasy conscience says, “Stop before it is too late!”
Our international problems are reflections of these personal problems. There will be no peace in the world until individuals have peace in their hearts. A world structure based upon peace cannot be built when there is bitterness and hatred, jealousy and pride, envy and immorality within the individual human heart.
As long as there are people who hate, people who have prejudices, people who strive for wealth or power at any cost, we are in danger of a world explosion that could blow us into oblivion.
The Need for Faith
Humans have five physical senses: we can see, hear, taste, smell and touch. We have a body with eyes, ears, mouth, nose, hands and feet. But we are more than a body; we are a living soul.
Our soul is that part of our being which possesses intelligence, conscience and memory—the real personality. Your body will die, but your soul lives on. And that soul has a “sixth sense”—the ability to believe, to have faith.
The Bible teaches that faith is the only approach we have to God. “For he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Faith pleases God more than anything else. “But without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Cliff Barrows and I have been close friends for years. Suppose I went to him and said, “Cliff, you are a wonderful person, but I don’t believe a thing you say.” How would he feel? That is the way some people treat God.
You may be saying, “God, I believe You are great, but I do not believe Your Word; I do not believe what You say.” In order to please God you must believe Him. God and God’s Word are inseparable.
Faith is loved and honored by God more than any other single thing. The Bible says that we are saved by faith. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
“And by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things” (Acts 13:39). “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5). We are to believe
in God through Christ.
No person has sins forgiven, goes to heaven, or has assurance of peace and happiness, until he or she has faith in Jesus Christ. “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).
This faith Christ recognized above all else. The blind man had earnestness, but Christ said, “Your faith has made you well” (Mark 10:52). The Syrophenician woman had perseverance, but Christ honored her faith. The centurion had humility, but Christ honored his faith.
The Christian life is dependent upon faith. We stand on faith; we live by faith. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Do you have that kind of faith?
What is Faith?
Faith is clearly defined in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith implies four things: self-renunciation, reliance with utter confidence on Christ, obedience and a changed life.
First, to have faith implies self-renunciation. The problems of the world are not from without. They are not political, social or economic in origin. Christ said that all of these evil things come from within.
Our soul has a disease called sin.
What is sin? Sin is transgression, lawbreaking, coming short of God’s standards. You break a law of the United States and you are a lawbreaker. You break the moral law of God and you are a lawbreaker. Every person who has ever lived is a lawbreaker; he or she is a sinner in God’s sight.
Christ died on the cross for our sins. The Bible teaches, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
Christ did not die by accident. He died voluntarily in your place. God took all of your sins and laid them on Christ. God says He will not forgive you, He will not transform you, He will not give you the peace and joy that you search for, until you choose between your sins and Christ. The moment you turn from your sins and turn to Christ, you are forgiven.
And He can break the chain of every sin that binds you if you are willing to give it up. The moment you receive Christ by faith, He comes into your heart and gives you power to overcome sin.
Second, faith implies reliance with utter confidence in Christ. Martin Luther put it this way: “He held on to Christ, whom he saw not, just as though he saw Him.” Although we cannot see Him, hear Him or touch Him, we can believe in Christ and rely upon Him.
Everyone can have this confidence. If God had said, “Pay your way into heaven,” the poor would be left out. If God had said, “Work your way into heaven,” many of the blind, the deaf, the mute, the lame and the sick would be left out. But He said, “Believe.” And anyone can believe!
Third, faith implies obedience; and obedience implies action. We must be faithful in our daily devotional life; we must read our Bible and pray; we must be faithful in the church; we must be faithful in putting into practice the teachings of Christ in our daily lives.
Some people think that going to church once on Sunday and owning a dust-covered Bible makes a person a Christian. That is not true. A Christian is one in whom Christ dwells, and the person’s life will give evidence of this. The moment you receive Christ by faith, He comes into your heart and life and gives you a love for that which is good and the power to do it.
Faith and Conversion
Fourth, faith implies conversion, or a change in one’s life. Jesus said to Matthew, “Follow Me,” and Matthew immediately got up and followed Him. Jesus said to the rich young ruler, “Follow Me,” and the young ruler went away sorrowful.
Matthew chose to follow Christ.
The rich young ruler rejected Christ and went his way.
Every one of us is faced with this choice.
Some people are frightened at the word “conversion”; yet Christ says, “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
Some people think that conversion must be some great emotional experience.
Some people think that conversion is a mysterious feeling that comes over you.
That’s not it at all!
Conversion takes place when people turn their back on sin and follow Christ.
If you have never surrendered yourself to Christ by faith, your life is not anchored. Temptations confuse you, and storms rage, and there is no peace in your soul. Christ wants to give you peace (John 14:27). Do you have faith in Him?
Perhaps your faith is very small and weak. It does not matter how big your faith is, but rather, where your faith is. Is it in Christ, the Son of God, who died on the Cross for your sins?
The suspension bridge at Niagara was started by a thread attached to a kite. When the wind was favorable, the kite went across. Then on the thread they put a string and pulled it across. Then on the string they put a rope and got it across. Then they were able to build their bridge.
Your faith may be just a little thread. It may be small and weak, but act on that faith. Receive Christ as Savior and Lord. Let Him bring peace and joy to your soul. Let Him change your life of defeat and confusion into one of purpose and peace. He can do it and He will do it—as soon as you put your faith in Him.