Devotional

Let Me Tell You a Story – Courage & Strength

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If you have been following my ramblings for the past few months, you may remember that I spend some time in a parking lot, walking to the top and back down, praying for my family and friends, or memorizing a verse that I am trying to master. During my walks, as many of you may remember, I tend to wander in my thinking, ending up in a place in my mind I hadn’t intended. This post is the result of such wandering.

For some unknown reason, I began to consider the concept of courage, and the many commands in the Word of believers told to “fear not”. I have found that the Word actually speaks the words “do not fear” (or some similar phrase) over 100 times. Some of these verses are directed to individuals in specific historic circumstances, but the example provided can be very instructive. Other passages, especially in the gospels or epistles can be applied directly to us as believers. This is incredible, and reveals to me that fear is a huge issue that God often addresses with in His people.

As an aside, it is important to understand that if you are in a dangerous situation, fear is a healthy emotion, and is not to be rejected. Fear in an unsafe condition actually may save your life.

No, this post is about a non-defined, non justified fear that has no basis in truth, paralyzing (or controlling) us without any clear danger defined. Out of this condition of fear, God has a solution. Don’t be afraid. Be courageous.

It seems incredibly obvious to me now that fear is a decision to live in. Now don’t get me wrong, that when I am in the midst of fear, when the panic hits and the terror strikes, making a simple decision to be courageous, and reject fear is not my first consideration. I usually fall into the fear trap, get wrapped up in it’s tentacles and tremble. Usually, I actually feed the fear monster, by thinking of or listening to fear mongering. This is very easy to do in this society of social networking. Bad news sells!

But Good News heals. Only after I spend some quiet with the Lord, do I regain my sense of control over this emotion.

Let’s consider the emotion of anger. In the past I have grown in my rejection of unjustified anger. How is it that fear is any different in the way the Word addresses a solution for believers. The Word tells us to not be angry.

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. – Col 3:8 ESV

It seems to be a straight forward command. A decision that one can make to humbly admit our weakness and depend on Him. And yet, in the midst of the sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, there appears to be no escape, no other way. (Consider Gal 5:19-21 for this list of sins)

A walking with the Lord rescues us from these debilitating choices, these temptations that are overpowering for the one who is seemingly alone!

But let us return to the topic at hand.

When I finally recover from an “attack of the fearries”, I usually think of the time I went back to college in my mid 30’s, when I once again fell into fear. Paralyzed by fear if my memory serves me right.

I was a latecomer in the class, starting the semester a week late, one of the older students, with the peer clicks firmly established and the pecking order obvious. I don’t recall any reason fear crept up my spine and nestled in my mind, but it settled in for a long stay. For weeks, I was quiet, not looking at anyone, or entering into any conversations with other students. It seemed hopeless.

The fear that had controlled my actions for weeks was literally shattered while I was in the hallway next to my soils class, and I read the following Scripture.

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” – Isa 12:2

All I could hear was that my fear was revealing my lack of faith. There were two attitudes the prophet spoke of. Either trust or be afraid. Trust resulted in not being afraid. I will trust, and not be afraid. This was a seminal moment for me and I have often thought of this time in future periods or fear.

Is there a time in your life when you could state you exercised faith and experienced fear at the same time. The Bible tells us that fear is something we can reject through trust in the Living God.

Can it be that believers want it to be more complicated? Let me know of your experiences with fear and how the Lord has provided deliverance for His child.


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