The Tyranny of Fear
I'm recollecting a lesson God taught me years ago as I wrestled through a decision in my life: God does not lead through or by fear. In other words, do not make your decisions based on your fear. God is not that kind of father. He is not. He is Love itself and is deserving of our absolute confidence.
When my decision is inspired by fear it is not inspired by faith. And without faith it is impossible to please God. Now, does that mean that every determination inspired by faith is fearless? Au contraire mon ami! It simply means we make our choices based on God and His Great Faithfulness and not out of fear. We lift our eyes to Him, choosing to delight in His way, choosing to trust His Word alone. And with that Word we are then equipped to overcome fear.
Determining His heart and delight, bowing your knee in love and deference to Him, then following that course of action in spite of fear or doubt due to situation or condition is faith. Keeping your eye on Him and battling that fear and doubt as you pursue that decision is faith. When weary, looking for others to hold up your arms in the midst of that battle is faith.
Living boldly by faith is not always seen by others. It is not always a visibly gallant exercise, a public display. It might be as simple as saying "Yes, Lord, I will do that. I will call my friend and encourage her today. I'm afraid to do that, afraid she will not be blessed, but I will trust You. I will not make this choice based on my fear, but based on Your heart of love."
I remember as a young bride learning to support my new husband and this lesson first coming to me. My husband needed me to be brave. I hadn't been to NYC in many years, and never as an adult. We were looking for a parking spot near Times Square to buy Broadway tickets. I'm a small town girl remember. And it is summer in NYC - tourist season. Around and around we went. Finally he quickly pulls over to the curbside saying, "You get out here and I'll find a spot somewhere farther away and come find you. You get online right over there." With that, he opens the door and I jump out. Alone. Immediately engulfed in a flowing pushing crowd. PANIC. The thought of ever seeing him again seemed overwhelmingly impossible. "Where did he point to? Am I safe here? What if someone steals me away?" Every bad thing I had ever heard about the city came screaming in. And then His Spirit nudged me, reminding me of His presence, challenging me to be what my husband needed me to be, to be what He wanted me to be. He challenged me to be calm, to know His peace, to refuse the fear so that I could be used by Him. And I yielded to that nudging. I wanted to be used by Him and not be a tool in the enemy's hands, stymied by fear and unable to function. A simple but profound lesson in my life. It has served me time and time again.
You see, fear is a tyrant. It will rob you of every opportunity to experience His grace, His empowerment, His love flowing through you. It keeps you from receiving His best gifts. It holds you back from growing and enlarging. It is a tool the enemy uses against us. It is the absence of faith, overwhelming us when our eyes are off Him and on our circumstance.
Repent of fear. Then ask Him for a red flag to wave in your mind's eye every time you are choosing something based on fear rather than faith. He will do it. He will show you. He will help you. And when you learn to overcome fear in small decisions, you will begin to overcome fear in large ways, too.
Yielding to His heart by making faith-based decisions will release empowerment and freedom, bringing joy to Him and those around you. And His Holy Spirit will enable you to do this very thing. Ask Him and see that God does not lead us by fear but faith.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4.18
For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1.7