Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We Will Have Fear

I believe that one of the greatest obstacles that we have to overcome as we strive for maturity in Christ Jesus is fear.  Fear is what prevents us from stepping out in faith and experiencing God at work in us as well as in the world.  We choose comfort and security over risk and uncertainty.  At face value it seems like a no brainer until we realize that are stuck in a rut of existence rather than traveling the road of life.

John Ortberg had this to say about fear:
The fear will never go away. Why? Because each time I want to grow, it will involve going into new territory, taking on new challenges.  And each time I do that, I will experience fear again...The decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort.  This  means that to be a follower of Jesus you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life (If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat; p. 21)

You and I will always experience fear, even as we follow Jesus, but our goal is not to allow that fear to determine the choices that we make.  To live with courage is not to live with out fear, but to make the right choice in spite of the fear.  How do we do that?  Let me offer a few suggestions.

First I would suggest don’t go it alone.  My personal experience has taught me that it is easier to respond with courage with a friend by your side.  We need the help of other people if we are going to grow.  Perhaps that is why we are constantly urged in the New Testament to be part of each other lives.  Hebrews 10:24-25 reads; And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (ESV).  We need to ENCOURAGE (fill each other with courage) each other as we follow Christ Jesus.

Second I would suggest that we meditate and pray.  Sometimes we get ourselves so worked up over a situation that we totally lose perspective on it.  Whatever is causing us fear can seem so huge to us that it ends up pushing God totally out of the picture.  This is why it is essential that we take time to sit down, pray, and think on words from Scripture.  Words like these well known words from Psalms:
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me
(Psalm 23:1-4; ESV).

Prayer and meditation help us regain a proper perspective on reality.

A last suggestion I would make is that we need a Kingdom mindset.  I think the reason why fear is such a powerful force in our lives is because we are focused on our lives.  What we are seeking is to make a nice little comfortable life for us and we don’t want anything to come in and tear that life apart, so we hold back.  Think about these words from Jesus:  “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33; ESV). The context for this saying is Jesus’ teaching on not to worry, for God knows our needs.  What Jesus tells us us that when we seek after His Kingdom then everything we need for life and godliness will be given to us.  We may not always get what we want, but we will receive what we  need.  This promise should provide comfort as we face the fears in our lives.

We will have fear, but it doesn’t have rule our lives.  May we be people who live lives of courage as we follow after Jesus.

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