One should never go through life afraid. Fear is something that hampers not just our potential ability but also our current ability. When one gives into fear, even those things that can easily be done start to become the Goliath’s that challenge us. Yesterday we looked at three steps that can help us eliminate fear from our life.
The primary reason for eliminating this fear is to become more like Jesus. No passage that I am aware of ever says that Jesus experienced the emotion of fear. His relationship with God is a primary reason for that and while we strive to become more like him, we take baby steps towards removing our fears.
Additional Step number one: Speak with confidence.
Asserting something in all confidence is a practice that anyone can use. State what you believe to be true. It not only causes others to take heart but just the proclamation leaving your own lips can embolden you too. When Daniel’s three friends were given a second chance to bow down to the idol the King made, this was their response:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Dan 3:16-18)
Speaking like this may seem suicidal but, really, if there was any smattering of doubt or mildness of temptation in their minds, such a declaration would chase it far from them.
Additional step number two: Remember God is in control.
That same passage also illustrates that we should always remember that God is in control. Apparently they did not know the end of the matter. Neither do we in our own lives. Too often we make bold plans and do not allow God to be part of them. We are like those in James 4 who are rebuked for planning and not so much as even saying “If the Lord wills…”
Daniel’s friends did not say God would deliver them in a prideful way. They simply acknowledged the boundary that God had set up: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” We are not going to cross it even if we do die, they indicated to the King. They let God be God and they just followed along. As I asked in a post a couple of days ago, “What’s the worst that can happen?” If they survive, they continue on in this world, if they were burned up, then they would rejoice in before God’s throne. Which would be better for you?
Job also had this attitude: “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” He would not blame or accuse God rashly. No sin escaped his lip.
Additional step number three: Focus on the realities and not what might happen.
Jeroboam did not focus on reality when he became king. The ten northern tribes made him their king just as God had said they would. However, Jeroboam was apparently afraid that they would return to the King of Judah if they went up to Jerusalem to worship God. So he took matters into his own hand:
And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. (1Ki 12:26-29)
Had he only exalted God, the result would have been different. Many times others have shown the same fear and, in that fear turned away from God. Israel in the wilderness choose fear over God by listening the report of the ten spies. Another king of Israel responded with worry when Namman came to be healed rather than send him to the Prophet right away.
The Pharisees responded to Jesus with fear too. They feared that their position would be taken away and so, rather than accepting the Messiah, they sought a means to kill him. (John 11:46-48) Fear of change can be a powerful force and because they gave into it, indeed not just their position, but their whole nation, was taken away from them.
Fear should not be accepted as an option. Let’s follow Jesus’ example of no fear and work to remove what fear we have.