Fear stalks all of us.
It is nasty, paralyzing, demoralizing, frightening, crippling, and dream-killing.
It is one of the things I have struggled with for much of my life.
Yet, as I have listened to Pastor Steve’s series, “What Do You Know?” I realized anew how often God directs us in His Word to not be afraid. (I have heard it said that the command “Do not fear” appears in the Bible 365 times..that is one “Do not fear” for every day of the year!).
God never tells us not to feel fear because we all will.
However, we either let fear have the upper hand or we take our stand on God’s Word and refuse to live our lives controlled by fear.
I am making this choice today. If I let my mind venture into the land of “What if?” fear will overwhelm me.
But Jesus never invites us to journey to that place. In fact, He forbids it. It’s not real. If I choose to go there, I am placing myself in a position for Satan to terrorize me with all manner of scary scenarios. Nothing good ever comes from it.
So, I have made the deliberate choice to stop making the trip to the land of “What if?” and plant myself firmly in the NOW.
Now is the only place where I can encounter Jesus. And He is never the author of fear (that’s Satan’s specialty and he is a loser who has been thoroughly and eternally defeated by Jesus at the Cross. He can presume absolutely no authority over us).
Instead, Jesus always speaks courage to my heart, no matter how scary my circumstances:
“Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm.”–Luke 12:7
“Peace I leave with you, My own peace I now give and bequeath to you…do not let your hearts be troubled , neither let them be afraid. Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.”–John 14:27
“God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven, and cringing and fawning fear), but He has given us a spirit of power and love and of a calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” –2 Timothy 1:7
This is what I know. I am commanded not to live my one short life in fear.
In today’s “Daily Bread” devotional, the author said the following: “Only one thing will conquer our fears: tenacious faith in God’s presence, protection, power and promises.”
His Presence: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”–Matthew 28:20
His Protection: It is the Lord who goes before you; He will march with you; He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you; let there be no cowardice or flinching, but fear not, neither become broken in spirit—depressed, dismayed, and unnerved with alarm. —-Deuteronomy 31:8
His power: He gives power to the faint and weary and to him who has no might, He increases strength, causing it to multiply and making it abound. –Isaiah 40:29
His promises: …God Himself has said, “I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (or) relax My hold on you; assuredly not!”—Hebrews 13:5
So, I ask you (and myself) particularly in light of that last verse, what in the world do we ultimately have to fear?
Not one thing.
Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God…will come and save you.” —Isaiah 35:3-4