The Calm Inside The Storm

Fruits of The Spirit  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:07:50
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Have you ever said, or heard someone say, “They make me so mad!”
Really? It seems to me that most people pride themselves, like any child in saying, “You can’t make me.”
We don’t think about it much, but if we take a moment outside of the situation we can prepare ourselves, so that when we are in the midst of those situations that push our buttons, that get our ire up, that irritate us. As I say this, I’m not just preaching this for you, I need to hear this too.
I don’t know how many of you pay attention to the Sermon titles within our bulletins, but I’ve changed todays sermon title from:

The Calm Outside The Storm


The Calm Inside The Storm

The reality is that when we’re outside the storm it’s fairly easy to remain calm, to have patience, to be at peace. It’s when we get inside the storm, when the waves start turning us this way and that, when we get spun around one way, when there’s a multitude of forces bearing down on us and we feel overwhelmed, and our response is often one of fear, anger, frustration, and so in the midst of being overwhelmed in the moment we lash out in one way or another.
We’ve been working through a series on the fruits of the Spirit based on Galatians 5:22-23
Galatians 5:22–23 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
We’ve talked about love, and joy, and now we get to peace and patience. These two words are linked very closely in my mind, it is the people who have peace that seem to have the most patience, and those that have patience that seem to be the most at peace.
In our natural world we have incredible illustrations of calms within the storm.
A hurricane is a storm with cyclonic winds that exceed 74 m.p.h. Rain, thunder, and lightning usually accompany the winds. Hurricanes can be very fierce storms with relentless pounding winds that continue hour after hour. But a very fascinating thing about a hurricane is its “eye”—a place of perfect calm in its center. Though the winds blow and rage all around it, there are none in the eye.
So with us in the storms of life. With the Lord as our center, there is calm and peace, even in the darkest of life’s storms.
Michael P. Green. (2000). 1500 illustrations for biblical preaching (p. 260). Baker Books.
I think of the scene of Jesus walking on the water in Matthew 14. Perhaps the reason is the component of faith. Let’s think about the scene:
Jesus had sent the disciples away after feeding thousands of people. They likely left in the evening, during the first watch of the night - sometime between 6pm and 9pm. We’re told the disciples were a long way from the land being beaten by the waves for the wind was against them, and now it’s the fourth watch of the night, sometime between 3am and 6am.
So for anywhere from 6 to as long as 12 hours the disciples in the boat have been working against the waves and the wind, they’ve been tossed to and fro by the waves, everything is working against them. Then Jesus comes walking along the sea.
Peter challenges what he and the disciples assume is a ghost, “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Lord, if it’s you, in the midst of the chaos of these wind whipped waves crashing against our boat and the spray of ocean off those waves, command me to “walk” - command me to pay no mind to all that is going on around us here and come to you.
“Come.” I’m not sure how Peter felt about that command. The Scripture says, Matthew 14:29
Matthew 14:29 ESV
He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
Was he afraid? Was he excited? We don’t know, it just says, “he walked on the water” — not balanced, not ran, not skipped or danced, he walked. And we know what comes next…IF we read vs. 30
Matthew 14:30 ESV
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”
It begins with “but”, that contradictive conjunction, negating the calm of the walk we just read about. When Peter sees the wind (or better put, the results of the wind) - one can imagine the cacophony of sound as the wind howls and the waves crash against the side of the boat and fold in on each other, the spray perhaps whipping into his face - in the midst of the chaos he focuses on the chaos and is afraid.
The result, he begins to sink.
Its interesting here is the depiction that Matthew gives compared to the depiction that modern re-tellers of the story give. The gospel writers say, “beginning to sink” yet most depictions of the story have Jesus pulling Peter up from the water.
In contrast Matthew says, Matt 14:31
Matthew 14:31 NIV
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
There is much to learn here.
Peter walked - a calm form of locomotion - in the storm.
The storm continued to rage around him and all was fine until he focused on the storm.
Peter recognized he was sinking at the beginning and cried out. He didn’t wait.
Jesus caught him.

The Calm Inside the Storm

When we think about remaining calm in the middle of the storm, it’s not about the storm. It wasn’t about the storm for Peter, and it’s not about the storm for us - and yet we often do let the storm get the best of us, don’t we?

There is a painting titled “Peace.” It depicts waves crashing against the jagged rocks. It portrays the violence of a crushing storm. It seems anything but peaceful. But down in a small corner of the painting, tucked away in the rocks, is a little bird sitting on her nest totally oblivious to the raging storm all about. That is peace.

When we’re at peace, recognizing that the storm is other - it is not us, and we have a choice to make, do we become part of the storm, OR do we remain separate - when we have this peace, we’re able to also have patience. This is one of the keys of family system theory where you do not allow yourself to be pulled into the anxiety of the moment. You remain connected, to the people, but not to the anxiety.
Someone once said, “Patience is letting your motor idle when you feel like stripping the gears.”
Chrysostom said that a patient man is one who, having the resources and opportunity to avenge himself, chooses to refrain from the exercise of these.
And so there is peace, not only outside, but inside.
Two weeks ago, we talked about Love. In that sermon I stated that I believed the opposite of love was not hate, but fear - based on 1 John 4:18
1 John 4:18 ESV
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
When we speak of peace and patience the thing that disrupts them the most is fear. So what advances them the most? Love.
Love is (according to Paul) Patient, kind, it does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude, it doesn’t insist on it’s own way, it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails!
Galatians 5:22–23 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
I have had in my life more than one occasion to call 911. When they come in response to whatever the emergency is, they always do so with a sense of calm. They walk. They de-escalate the temperature in the room whether it be a medical emergency, a break in, or a domestic issue they bring a sense of calm from the way they conduct themselves. We as Christians should be able to do the same.
When we’re speaking of the fruits of the Spirit we must recognize that these fruits like all fruit do not remain alone. Fruit is decidedly there for the other.
Fruit bears seeds. Seeds lead to more trees. More trees leads to more fruit.
If you and I as Christians can truly love - we produce more love.
If you and I as Christians can truly have joy - we bring out more joy in those around us.
If you and I as Christians can truly have peace - we bring more peace around us.
If you and I as Christians can be patient - we allow others to be more patient.
Galatians 5:22–23 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
As I’ve been working through this series, I am also working to memorize and internalize these two verses into my own life. I challenge you to do the same.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… May we all emulate these things to a hurting world.
May we be

The Calm Inside The Storm

To God be the glory. Let me pray for you.
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