The scene above may be humorous, but fear is nothing to joke about.
God wired us with a healthy sense of fear to protect us from danger. But when fear dictates our lives, we can become trapped in patterns that destroy us.
Here are a few things I’ve been learning about fear lately:
- Fear steals our identity
- Fear makes us question our God given attributes and desires
- Fear leads us to question another person’s motives
- Fear causes us to judge others
- Fear makes us assign conclusions about people or situations that aren’t accurate
- Fear causes us to assume we know what someone’s intentions towards us are
- Fear says lying will protect us – it keeps us from speaking the truth
- Fear leads us to read God’s word inaccurately
- Fear causes conflict within us
- Fear keeps us from seeing another person’s pain
- Fear of losing something makes us compete with others
- Fear makes us cling to only one way of thinking
- Fear causes us to lash out if someone has another opinion or perspective than us
- Fear paralyzes us
- Fear leads us to close ourselves off from others
- Fear keeps us ineffective in our lives
- Fear prevents us from being fully engaged in life
Maybe that’s why God tells us not to be afraid; that he didn’t give us a spirit of fear.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18
God is love and he loves us. We don’t NEED to be afraid when we believe he loves us and will take care of us. He knows all and has everything under control. So if we surrender to him, we can rest there and live in freedom.
I’ve been asking God to tell me what I’m afraid of. If we ask, he’ll tell us. And he’ll tell us what to do about it. I’m learning a lot about myself and the places I’ve been trapped.
He’ll also reassure us that he’s right there. Like a kid jumping into a pool into his daddy’s waiting arms. That’s us with God.
That’s a good place to be.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
Isn’t it great to know that God looks more at our willingness to have faith and be faithful than he does at whether we keep his laws?
Of course, as we grow in faith, we will also desire to live rightly with God and others. But in Hebrews 11, God gives us a list of folks who made mistakes and bad choices but God praised them for their faith in him.
Even though they blew it in other ways.
Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife.
Moses killed a man and disobeyed God.
David took another man’s wife and murdered her husband.
Noah got drunk and exposed himself.
Job lost everything and questioned God.
Rahab was a prostitute.
And those are only the big names we know about.
But God commended them for their faith even in spite of their sinful, human tendencies. And look at all the things they and their predecessors accomplished by faith:
- Pleased God (vs.5)
- Obeyed and went unknown places (vs.8)
- Worshiped in weakness (vs.21)
- Weren’t afraid of a king’s edict or anger (vs.23 & 27)
- Persevered (vs.27)
- Did something that seemed foolish, but saved their lives (vs.28)
- Conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained promises, saw lions’ mouths shut (vs. 34)
- Escaped flames and sword, saw their weakness turn to strength (vs.35)
- Became powerful in battle, routed foreign armies (vs.35)
- Saw the dead raised, withstood torture, flogging, insults and prison (vs.37)
- Were able to trust God even when stoned, cut in two, persecuted , mistreated and killed (vs.39)
Wow. Living a life of faith means living in greatness.
In spite of our sin, our opposition or circumstances. And in the end, we spend eternity with a loving God and fellow believers.
The best part is we don’t have to conjure up faith on our own. It is a gift freely given by God when we ask. Good news: even our asking exhibits faith.
Are you ready to move ahead in faith today?