Jonah was an emotional guy in the Old Testament who literally faced an ocean of emotion. He was a prophet who had some good news for God’s people and even helped bring the wicked city of Ninevah into a relationship with God.
In Jonah chapter 1, God tells Jonah to go to the Ninevites to tell them about God and His coming judgment on them. But Jonah thinks, “Well, I know you God, and I know that if I go and tell them about you, and then, they’re going to repent and turn to you, you, God, will just have mercy and compassion and save them. And they don’t deserve it.” So he fearfully tucks his tail and runs away from God and away from where God wants him to go.
You may be running away from God today. You may be running away from where God wants you to go and what God wants you to do. You may be running away from the person that God wants you to go to so you can tell them about Jesus.
That’s what Jonah does. And he makes it worse by getting on a boat with some sailors and passengers and bringing them into his trouble. When he is out at sea, a violent storm comes up that threatens to sink the boat.
All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. Jonah 1:5 (NIV)
Afraid (Hebrew) “Yā-rē” = dreadful, awful fright.
Don’t let the fear of the future rob you of the joy of today.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
4 Ways to Overcome your Fear
God doesn’t want you to live a fearful life. So, I want us to look at some practical ways you can overcome your fears.
Stop running away from God.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, Proverbs 9:10
How do we F.E.A.R. God?
No God = Know Fear or Know God = No Fear
Move against your fear.
Faith isn’t the absence of fear, but faith is the courage to move ahead despite your fear.
Change your focus.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Don’t get hysterical, get historical.
Run to Jesus’ love for you.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish. He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me.
I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me! You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.” Jonah 2:1-3
As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. Jonah 2:7
When you invite God in the front door of your life, fear heads out the back door.
Love and fear can’t be in the same place. God’s perfect love drives fear far away. The more you get to know Him, the less afraid you will be.
By the way, that big fish spit Jonah out on the dry land! Jonah was saved!
You can cry out to God today and he will rescue you too! You can choose faith over fear. Doing what God asks you to do can be scary sometimes, but doing what God asks you to do will always lead you to victory! You will find freedom on the other side of fear when you run after God and live a bold life for Jesus in spite of whatever fear you are feeling!
JESUS: “For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.” Matthew 12:40
For my salvation comes from the Lord alone. Jonah 2:9