Fear is something that enters each of our lives, and makes it’s presence known.
And fear can be a gift to motivate us to move from a dangerous situation.
But the kind of fear that shakes us to the core is something that sews seeds of doubt and distrust in the Holy One, and his plan for our lives.
The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” -psalm 27:1
Last night at our summer prayer meeting we reflected on this psalm. And it is an honest reflection of our human character to look at the circumstances, and miss the plan of God because fear disables us.
In my life there have been times when fear has invaded, and all but dropped me to my knees. Yes, the day that I learned i was joining the ranks of the unemployed, and knew that we were already stressed on our finances because Steve had been unemployed for 4 months was a day when for a split second fear flooded everything, overrode all of my understanding of the character and watchcare of God.
And in these 4 years of moving to a new normal in our life there have been many times when fear has knocked on the door. But fear has no place in my house, or in my life. Fear is not from God, and fear is destructive to the plans God has for each of our lives, and the witness he has called us to be:
27 Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; – Phillipians 1:27-29
Adversary, the idea that there is an enemy that desires to devour, destroy, crush and kill is a real concept. And it is in times when we are stretched beyond our comfort zone that we begin to sense the immensity and depth of the fight that goes on between heaven and hell for our very souls. Yes, especially once we have yielded our very core to Jesus. The enemy of our soul does not want us to know the victory and power of our great God and King. He wants us to live in a defeated state, cowering back when God is saying advance… go forth.
Fear has no place in the kingdom of God apart from a healthy fear of God Almighty, in all his wisdom and holyness.
Fear is also evidence of insecurity, distrust, unbelief. Wow, harsh words, right? But true. If we internalize the truth of scripture, and the promises that the Lord has given us we would live differently. We would yield our lives and abandon the comfort of our life for the adventure and watch care of a life He calls us to. Throughout history when there was the opportunity to shrink back in fear or run forward in the power of God we watch as the true character of what we believe comes to the surface. People like Corrie Ten Boon and Dietrich Bonhoeffer stepped up, believing deeply that God’s Word is sure, true, and solid. They stood against darkness, evil and all that wrong, and their story shines brightly in contrast to the millions that hid cowering in fear.
And how about the first century church, where believing and following Jesus often meant being captured and fed to lions, oe tortured and made into garden torches for the Caeser. And how about the countless numbers of believers alive today and living in situations where their life might be required of them at any moment because they follow Jesus.
We know a dear brother and sister who live in Pakistan. They are among the 1/4 of 1 percent of the Pakistani population that believes in Jesus, surrounded by a harsh world of Islamic rule. We have prayed for them for 20 years, and watched as the strain of living in such a harsh environment has aged them beyond their years. But their prayer is not to be relieved of the strain, but to shine brightly for God and have the strength to be the witness they are called to be so that one day in heaven they can say that other Pakistanis believe, and have found salvation in Jesus. Fear is not an option there either. Fear is not an option because they know who they believe in, and they have seen his character, his goodness, his love, and his keeping power.
When we choose to shed our insecurities, lay down the many ways we limit God to work in our lives, and yield all of this to God he will show us his love and his care.
In my life I have noticed that when i lay fear down at the feet of Jesus, and ask for wisdom to move forward in his power, and his leadership that God himself delights to respond. Is it scarey at moments – absolutely. But is it worth letting go of myself for the riches and depth of insight that God will show us – absolutely!
Fear is not an option. Fear is the prisoner of war that is constantly returned to the commander in this war for our very minds and souls.