What frightens you?
We are surrounded by the dangerous, difficult and unknown every single day.
And sometimes knowing multiplies our fear.
Skiing was fun, before I learned how painful snow can be.
I became a lot less confident about driving in Central Texas after my husband was broadsided less than a mile from home last fall.
Buying food was relatively painless until somebody told me about the GMOs, pesticides, and carcinogens lurking in my consumables. Even ice cream isn’t comforting anymore.
The Army post affiliation sticker on my car was harmless until intelligence committees published reports of terrorists potentially using the stickers to target Army families.
Deploying to Iraq wasn’t so horrific until the Generals briefed us about how “in the rear with the gear” was no longer a place on the battlefield. That frightened my own mother.
Sending my husband to off war only turned terrifying when the realization that he might not come home hit me full force.
Being a mommy appeared innocuous enough, before I realized that I would eventually have to release my kids into the world lugging all the baggage they inherited from me.
Writing a book and volunteering for leadership positions in women’s ministry only became daunting when I found out how vulnerable I would be to criticism, ridicule and even failure.
There will always be things to fear.
If I spend time dwelling on every evil generated by this world, apprehension will cripple me.
But we don’t have to let our fears control us. We can bravely face the world by focusing instead on fearing the Lord. Fear of the Lord gives us courage to overcome our anxieties.
Fear of the Lord leads to wisdom. Wisdom leads to understanding that any battle we face here on earth has already been won in the heavenly realms. Understanding the victory belongs to Jesus makes us brave in the face of dangerous, difficult, unknown and even known risks. He has already conquered all the evil the world can create.
You can cower in a dark corner afraid of the world or fear the Lord and climb courageously into the light by faith.
The more we fear the world, the more we have to lose.
Jesus didn’t mince words when warning His disciples about the dangers they would endure while preaching about Him. (Matthew 10:16-26) But He wasn’t content to let them hide out in the upper room, either. In the very next section He teaches them about the importance of Fearing God more than man. He says, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
Jesus reassures them that not even the sparrow “falls to the ground apart from [our] Father’s will” and yet we are of much “more value that many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:30-31) God holds both our life and our death in His hands.
God sees me. He knows and loves me. He is with me always. My soul is secure with Him.
Living enclosed in the protective bubble of that truth empowers and emboldens me. The assurance that this principle applies also to my loved ones gives me confidence to surrender them to God’s purposes in the world.
Jesus wanted His followers to know that the dangers would be real when they went out into the world to preach about Him, but He didn’t wan’t their fears to be bigger than their faith in Him. He didn’t want their worries to keep them from spreading the message God called them to carry into the world. He doesn’t want our fears to keep us from our call to glorify Him, either.
Fear confines us to living in futility. Faith frees us to live fruitfully.
What is causing you to cower today? Turn your chin up toward heaven and step bravely out into the world knowing that God is on your side and His Son has defeated every evil!
Dear Heavenly Father, I praise and thank you that You have already defeated anything in this world that causes me to fear. I have no reason to live afraid of what the world can do to me. Reassure me of Your love for and presence with me. Give me the boldness to be brave in Your Son’s name! Amen.