Has a nice, catchy “ring” to it, doesn’t it?
Fear abounds, where faith is not found…..I would expect to see that on a marquee outside a synagogue or a church.
But what is the “fear” I am talking about? Is it fear of loss? Fear of death? Fear of going hungry? Fear of being unpopular? Fear of success? Fear of failure?
Yes. It is all those fears, and (just about) every other fear you can think of. And the cornerstone of fear is the lack of faith. Of all the things to be afraid of, I think the only thing that faith will not help with is fear of pain. No matter how faithful or spiritual you are, if someone kicks you in the groin, it’s going to hurt.
I know people who have been so controlled by fear that their lives have not changed for years. I know one person who has held the same, low-level position in a firm for over 30 years. I know another who refuses to drive; another who will not see a doctor. Another who hasn’t held a steady job, ever. And when you talk to them, they have their prepared answers rationalizing why they can’t, but it is clear that they are just plain afraid of change and of trying something new.
You all know someone like this, too- it is an epidemic, this fear of something that we can’t even justify being afraid of. They say, “Oh, I could never do that- I’d be too afraid.” It doesn’t really matter why they are afraid, the problem is that it controls them.
I am afraid of many things, but I do not let that control me. Fear of death keeps me from doing things that are foolish, fear of pain keeps me from doing things that might result in my breaking a bone (although I do like physical challenges and often play on the Treetop Trek at the Brevard Zoo), and I am afraid that one day I may go blind or be crippled from arthritis (I already have some). These are normal fears, and although I don’t like the idea of these things happening, the difference is that my faith in God allows me to overcome these fears.
Yes, I may go blind, but I know that God will provide someone to help me. You know, when I think about it, by not seeing people with my eyes I will be better able to see them as God does, without first judging by their appearance (this would actually be a good thing for me because I do judge by appearance); and if I am crippled and cannot do the physical things I love to do, I will have more time to read, write and study- nothing wrong with that.
Fear is healthy when it is used to remind us to be cautious in dangerous situations. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the strength to overcome it, and the best way to gain that strength is to have faith. You need to have faith in God that He can, and will, make all things better and that He has nothing but the best in store for you.
What God wants to do for you may not be what you think is best, but you need to absolutely accept and trust that He knows better than you do what you really need.
I am a little ashamed to say I have very little patience with people who live in fear of everything, who have no ambition to improve themselves or help others, and who always have tsouris (troubles) in their life. Have you ever noticed how people who live in fear always have more things go wrong with them that they can’t get passed? Maybe it’s because fear causes problems and that is why the enemy uses it to control us? If so, then courage is what God gives us when we trust in Him, and those who are faithful may still have troubles but they overcome them. Living in fear is allowing the enemy to use you and control you, which can only separate you from God. But faith and trust that God is in control (which, BTW, is absolutely true) will allow you to overcome the fear.
In 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, Shaul (Paul) tells us of a “thorn in his side”, some weakness or issue that Shaul couldn’t overcome:
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.…
This is what faith overcoming weakness and fear is all about: God’s Grace is all we need to know. When we allow the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, to come into us and to rule over us, we then are inside a protective barrier that will reflect the arrows of the enemy, quench the fire of disillusionment, and block the attacks of the world that come against us.
I “googled” fear in the bible and found at least 40 different verses about how we can overcome fear through faith. Here are just a few of them:
Romans 8:38-39 (this is a really good one!);
Psalm 27:1 (this one just about says it all)
and there are many more.
Fear is not the enemy, but the enemy uses fear. God is not fearlessness, but courage to overcome fear. Only the foolish have no fear; the brave have courage to overcome fear and do what is right. Righteousness takes strength: strength of character, strength of conviction, and strength of will. These are things that are weak in humans, but strong in the Lord. As Shaul told us (above), we can be strong in our weakness when we allow the Lord to be our strength.
David was a man of great courage, a man of many battles, a fierce warrior and the one who set the standard for how a King should rule. And yet, when you read the Psalms, he was fearful on a regular basis, and he always found his strength and courage in God.
In Psalm 18 David says:
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock,in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.…
If you feel fearful, are unsure of yourself, and find that what you want and need to do is beyond your ability to try because you are afraid, then trust in God and give up relying on yourself. Let God’s strength and awesomeness be manifested through your weakness, and allow the Lord to be your power.
The Green Lantern recharged his ring from his lantern, and recited the oath:
In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!
It’s important to note that his power didn’t come from himself, or even from the ring, but from his lantern: you can be just like a superhero yourself, and you already know where you get the light that is your power:
Psalm 119:105– Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
The light that powers us is the Light of the World, Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), and the strength we need to overcome evil comes directly from the Word that is within us, the Ruach HaKodesh.
Don’t be afraid anymore- you are a superhero! You are the lantern of truth, justice and you have divine protection! You are the sidekick of the Almighty, El Elyon, The Lord of lords and the King of kings; you are Robin to God’s Batman, you are Bucky to God’s Captain America, and you can be even more because with God, there are no limits.
Just remember this: when you are feeling inadequate to the job and fearful, don’t trust in yourself but put your trust in God, ask for His favor and walk in faith, because…
If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
The answer is: no one!