Who will roll away the stone for us? Mark 16:3
Pastor Rebecca Otitoju
What is fear?
Fear is anything that makes you afraid or anxious or anything that makes you want to run from the fear factor you identified.
Just like anything else, fear is not necessarily all bad because fear brings an instinct of a message to you that alert you about something important (either negative or positive) that you need to be aware of. Therefore, we have negative and positive fear. For example, the fear of the Lord is positive while the fear of tomorrow is negative to put it in a simple way. During this conference we will discuss both.
The object of fear is real. It is not just something your mind makes up. Even in the situation when your mind made it up, if care is not taken, whatever the fear is about becomes real to you especially when you start to accept it and meditate on it. What I am saying is this; the reasons for that fear are real and you have evidences to back them up. For anyone to dispute that with you makes no sense.
Let us go to the Bible passage where we took our theme from, Mark 16:3. The question the three women were asking was not something their minds made up. It was true that there was a stone to roll away for them to get to Jesus’ body that they wanted to anoint. They did not make this question up out of fear. Their fear of the huge stone used to ensure Jesus’ body was not stolen away was real. Therefore, your fears could be as real as the stone the women were thinking about was real.
How do we deal with fear?
As Christians we have heard the phrase; there are 366 “fear not’s” in the Bible which means we have one for each day of the year. Actually this is not true. I hope I am not shaking your faith on this regard because you woke up every morning and said, there is one “fear not” for today so I will fear not. There are about 103 fear not or don’t be afraid passages in KJV – not even up to half of the year. But when you look up passages that admonished us to fear God we could count up to about 500. According to those passages, when you fear God, you cannot fear the devil at the same time. The good news is that we have more than one fear not for each day of the year when we fear God. PRAISE THE LORD!!! (See www.soulshepherding.org/2010/07/fear–not-365-days-a-year/).
Going back to the question; how we deal with fear? I will give you some steps I believe had helped me in my own life journey and also based on the passage of our theme.
- Do not isolate yourself or become an island.
Many times as women, we avoid each other for lack of trust. We are afraid of our problem becoming the talk of the town if we share it with another sister. I have the same concern too and over the years I have been very selective of whom to share my problems with. But I want to encourage you to pray that the Lord will bring a Godly woman to you who will speak life to your situation and stand with you as you go through life’s challenges. Someone you can trust. I am very sure that prayer will be answered because it was never the will of God for us to be alone.
Have you ever noticed that an island is surrounded by water but it is always dry? Isolation is a form of abuse. In any relationship where you cannot talk to someone else or relate with someone else, you need to be careful because it could end up in abuse. Women in abusive relationship could attest to this. Satan in his cunny ways wants to isolate you and make you see everyone who would have listened and prayed with you as evil and as people you cannot trust. If you buy in to the deception of the enemy, then you opened yourself up to spiritual attack that enlarges the fear and make it bigger than God. Hebrews 10:25.
As you pray, God will lead you to someone who you would discuss with and together ask that question; who will roll away the stone for us? Together you will journey towards the stone and then discover it is already rolled away in Jesus’ name. Amen.
- Do not focus on the stone instead focus on how to roll it away part 1
Many Christians today believe that as long as they are praying, then they do not have to do anything. I will call this attitude “faith without works.” If the focus of the women in Mark 16:3 was on the stone, they would have stayed home because they knew they cannot roll it away. They were aware that the stone was there, it was not a dream or fear factor created in their minds. Regardless of that knowledge, they left home early in the morning and headed to the tomb with the purpose of anointing the body of Jesus. It made sense for them to say “the stone is too big and we might not find someone to help us” and not take a step out of their homes. Your focus has to be how the stone will be rolled or who will roll the stone then take the step of faith out towards the stone believing that it cannot stop you from carrying out your mission. The stone has to move for you to see through. When the women viewed inside the tomb, there was no dead body there anymore. This is also applicable to each one of us that as the stone is rolled and we see through into our fear, we then discover that that is nothing to fear after all. This is the work of the Holy Spirit as He opens our insight and eyes of understanding to see beyond the problem as we take the step of faith.
- Know that the stone has to roll away
The women left home knowing that they have to get to Jesus’ dead body and anoint it. If they did not believe this, as mentioned earlier, they would have stayed home and not attempt going to the tomb in the first place. When they got to their destination, the stone was already rolled away giving them passage into the tomb and would have given them the chance to get to the dead body (if it was still there) they wanted to anoint.
Note that they did not seat at home to pray, or speak in tongues or call a prayer meeting of the brethren; they did not even wait for the Spirit of God to tell them when to go instead they got up and went. I hope you are not misunderstanding my statement here. I am not saying that it is not necessary to pray or speak in tongues or seek God’s direction. All I am trying to bring out is that we need to discern when to pray and when to take the step of faith believing that God is there and will lead you according to his will. Amen.
These women must be among those disciples Jesus told about his resurrection on the third day. These women like the men did not believe that Jesus would rise as he has told them; they thought Jesus was still dead. The rolled stone not only gave them passage to see into the tomb, it was also an assurance of Jesus’ resurrection because there was no dead body to anoint, then angel came and confirmed that with them. Their unbelief was false evidence appearing real. 100% of the time, what we consider fear is the deception of the enemy. For example, some believe that Job went through loss of children and property because he said what he feared had come upon him according to Job 3:23-25. For those of us who know the story of Job, was that really true? What happened to Job was a very good example of another false evidence appearing real because at the end of the story, nowhere did God tell Job, this came upon you because of your fear. The only way we would know that our fear is false evidence appearing real is by taking the step of faith with our focus on God not on the fear.
- Do not focus on the stone instead focus on how to roll it away part 2
As you focus on rolling away the stone, you need to listen attentively to the leading of the Holy Spirit so that you will follow his direction and know how he wants the stone rolled off (Isaiah 50:10). At this stage, different ideas will be presented to you on how to roll the stone. If care is not taken, you might roll the stone and discover you are doing it in your own strength. The women did not roll the stone it was already rolled away for them. That passage where Jesus called us to give him our burden and take on his own, because his burden is light and his yoke easy. It is very important to follow the Holy Spirit’s direction because all the glory goes to God and him alone when we give him the control over our situations (1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 11:30; Psalm 55:22).
- The stone is not about you, it is about your God
One way the enemy has really deceived us as Christians is making our situation look like it is about us. Do you realize that Jesus’ death was not about himself but it was about God and his plans for mankind (read John 4:34). Jesus lined himself up with God to fulfil the plan. Remember Jesus said he voluntarily laid down his life and he could refuse if he wants so Jesus was not forced to die for us, he was willing and made himself available for God’s purpose to be fulfilled through him. Also remember that the stone was placed there to ensure Jesus’ body stays there. The authorities could not stop the work of God from being accomplished, they did not realizing that no stone can stop him (Matthew 28:1-2; John 10:1-18; Philippians 2).
This also applies to each one of us. Your life is not yours and because you are a child of God, you will experience temptation and fear that will want to cripple your faith. You need to remember that, those challenges and fear you face are not about you, they are about God. Every time Satan wants to say to God as he did regarding Job that you only serve him when things are good for you and if God takes everything away you, you will deny him. Unfortunately, many do deny God at those critical moments because they believe if God loves them he should not have allowed them to go through such situation. We need to pray for the grace to line ourselves up with God according to his own will for our lives and allow him (God) to hold our hands as he leads us through the journey of life victoriously in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Remember what the psalmist said in Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble. For this reason, do not be afraid because God is in control of your situation and he is also bragging to Satan that regardless of what might be happening around you, you will continue to serve him. At the end of the day you will realize that Satan has been put to shame and victory is yours as it was for Job and others who put their trust in God (Isaiah 41:10 & 13; Job 42; Psalm 62).
NOTE: Please return to our website and click on the workshop on fear. There are three questions that I encourage you to answer and submit. We will use your answers to those questions to pray with you regarding those things you are afraid of. Our God is able to deliver.