We all live in fear of something or someone, even though we know God is greater than anything we may encounter in this lifetime. We are afraid of being unable to protect and care for our children, losing a loved one, not making enough money to provide for our family’s needs, being laid off from work, dying from an incurable disease, and the list goes on. What fears hold you captive today?
I fear some of the silliest things! I love public speaking, and it’s a daily part of my job at an education center. For some this would bring fear. However, I would never jump out of a plane, although my husband has done it eight times. I would never voluntarily put myself in harm’s way in a war zone, although my husband and his coworkers have made this commitment to our country. Today I had to drive to the dentist. I’m not afraid of the dentist – I was afraid of driving in the snow to get there! It’s the third day of snow here in Treasure Valley in Boise, ID and my third winter away from the Southern California sunshine. It sounds silly to fear driving in the snow, but I do. I dread going out in inclement weather.
What does the Bible say about fear? First, Satan in the Father of Lies, and he knows full well how to use fear as a weapon against us. Did you know your adversary the devil prowls around the earth like a roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy (1 Peter 5:8)? When Satan works fear into us, we become less effective instruments for doing God’s work. Don’t let Satan grab a hold of you and cause you to fear this life and its challenges!
Second, God has given us many alternatives to fear. He wants us to live courageously for Him! In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” The opposite of fear is courage, and this trait isn’t something we gain overnight. It certainly isn’t a trait Satan wants us to develop. We have to grow in our daily walk with the Lord. Let’s take a moment to look at the three things mentioned in the above scripture: power, love and a sound mind.
Power — God has given us the power to overcome difficult circumstances in life. He has given us the power to be victorious in spiritual battles. Jesus overcame the cross and physical death. He courageously laid His life down for our eternal salvation. You and I, as Christians, are empowered by the Holy Spirit and can boldly go before the world and share the good news. Beth Moore says in one of her commentaries that “fear causes us to trade power for an overwhelming, pervasive feeling of powerlessness.” How true this is! The power of God is greater than any powers here on Earth.
Love — In 1 John 4:18 we read that “loves conquers all.” And 1 John 4:18 states that “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” When we are motivated by love, we can do almost anything! God’s nature is love. God loves us so much He sent Jesus to die for us. He conquered the sins of the world and now we can rest assured, as Christians, that we will live eternally in heaven. Romans 8:38, 39 assure us that nothing — I repeat nothing — can separate us from the love of Christ!
Sound mind — This literally means to be sober. When I see young people today who have had to much alcohol to drink, I know they are not sober. Their entire demeanor changes. They make irrational decisions, sometimes with devastating results. Fear causes us to do the same. As Christ, our mind should be focused on Christ! Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” These are the things of God. His attributes and His character. We are made in the image of Christ and should, therefore, try to become more like Him, including how we think. Our mind is tied to our heart and our actions. Matthew 22:37-38 says we should love God with all of our heart, souls and minds. We cannot give our minds away to fear! If we keep our minds on Christ, He will guide our next steps.
Don’t be a coward! God wants us to live courageously. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, For I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” We never have to face our circumstances alone – God is right there. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” God will never leave us. No matter what our circumstances, we can count on God to us get through them!
I leave you with two final verses from the book of Psalms to meditate on regarding courage:
Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.”
Psalm 56:3-4: “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can [mere] man do to me?
Make it a goal today to live your life more courageously for Christ. You will be amazed at how much your life will change! The Bible says we can do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13). Do you believe this?