Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What Are You So Afraid Of?

Yes, I am beginning another blog post with a basic statement. You see, my basic statement this time is a statement that should not exist. There are many, many people who are afraid in this world. What I find even worse to hear though is the fact that many Christians are afraid in this life.

Whether the fear is financial, emotional, medical, spiritual, or of any other origin, people find all kinds of things to be afraid of. Now, it would be easy to say that fear is irrational or that some fears are grounded in common sense; after all, it would be foolish to jump out of an airplane without a parachute (though I think it a bit strange to jump out of an airplane anyway).

Yes, it would be easy to say one of those things however I don’t think that we, as Christians, should be afraid of anything.

2 Timothy 1:7 - For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Oh yes, I know that you are reading this and thinking, “easier said than done.” After all, what do I know about your personal fears and worries? I don’t know what it is that you are afraid of, but let me tell you a little story.

When I was younger, I used to have night terrors. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that one recurring factor was of demons attempting to drag me to Hell. Then, when I was older (but still young), my father scared me. He didn’t mean to scare me as terribly as he did, but it bothered me for a long time.

You see, he hid beneath a church pew in the dark and grabbed my leg as I walked by. In an instant, all those night terrors flooded back; all my fears came together at once. It took a long time for me to get over that, silly thing though it was and to this day, I’m still not comfortable in dark churches at night.

Why am I telling you this? Because I understand what it is to have a fear; something that may seem irrational to others but still gripped my heart in terror. So now comes the obvious question: if I don’t think Christians should be afraid of anything, then why is it I was afraid for so long? The answer is quite simple, really. I’m still human and need to remind myself of WHY I shouldn’t be afraid. I’m still a work in progress, just like you, and have not reached perfection.

Still, it is obvious to me that since God has “not given us a spirit of fear,” we do not need to live in fear. But why? What reason do we have to not fear? I don’t believe it is enough to simply say that we shouldn’t be afraid. I think we should know WHY we shouldn’t be and don’t need to be afraid. So, without further ado, let’s look at why we don’t have to fear.

Namely, we don’t need to fear because we have God on our side. Look at what Jesus said when faced with arrest in Gethsemane:

52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” (Matthew 26:52-54)

Did you get that? Jesus said that He could have been provided with more than twelve legions worth of angels had He so wished. That’s impressive! How impressive? I’m so glad you asked.

A Roman Legion, a military grouping Jews of that age would have been familiar with, could comprise of up to 6,000 soldiers though the average was some 5,400. So when Jesus says that He could have called down more than twelve legions of angels to aid Him, He was indicating that He could call upon a massively overwhelming force to rescue Him from the soldiers that had come out to arrest Him. The number, in case you are curious, was (more than) 72,000 angels.

Now, I can just hear some readers thinking to themselves, “Well that’s all well and good, but that was Jesus; not me. I can’t call down one legion of angels much less twelve.” I believe Jesus would refer to you as being "of little faith." While it is true that Jesus is and was fully God and we are human, I think we forget the great truth of our new kinship with Him.

Romans 8:16-17 - 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Yes! Look at those terms:

Heir/Joint-Heirs Partakers, sharers, one gaining a portion.

We are partakers in the promise of God! We are bought with a price and brought into the family. I know that my last post was about the fact that we are slaves to righteousness, but we are also sons and daughters of the Most High God! We share the promise of God and we can know that He watches over us.

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

So, we don’t need to be afraid because God is watching over us and we are joint-heirs with Christ; we are partakers of the promise and we know that God is on our side. Additionally, we can see in John 14:12-14:

12 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."

That tells me that (since God is watching over us and we belong to Him and He protects us) we can call on Him for help and know that He will provide help! ALSO, we can know that nothing happens to us without God’s knowledge and permission. Note that I am not saying that God causes bad things to happen; I am simply saying that He allows it and is aware of it.

Job 1:6-12 - 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”

8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” 9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing?

10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Then in Job 2:1-7 we see:

1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”

3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” 4 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.

5 But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” 6 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.”

7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.

God is aware of what you will face and He allows it. This bothers some people, but they don’t seem to realize that God still provides a way through the hard times of life. Look at it this way: if God allows something to happen, don’t you think that He’ll also bring you through?

I am reminded of the Israelites in the desert. Exodus 15:22-25 records:

22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah.

24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.

A lot of people skim through this passage or look only at the miracle of the waters being made drinkable. What they miss is how God provides! Have you ever stopped to think about the tree? Probably not! After all, that was just a tool in the miracle, right?

What about the fact that there, in the desert, in a place with bitter water, in a place where the Israelites would one day stand in need of good water, grew a single tree? Does that seem odd to you? It sure does to me until you factor in God’s providing nature. The Lord knew that His people would one day stand at Marah needing good, clean water.

He knew that they would be in need and that a hard time would come their way. Did He remove the obstacle? No! He allowed them to face it and learn to trust in Him all the while providing the way out. He caused that tree to grow for that specific purpose. I find that amazing!

I know you’re thinking that I’ve gone off on a rabbit trail; it IS late after all. But no, I say all that to say this: God provides for you. Whatever fear you deal with, whatever situation you face, whatever uncertainty, no matter how difficult, God is with His children and will protect them.

Psalm 139:16 also says, Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

The Lord knows what the days of our life will amount to. He has His plan and the Enemy cannot stop it. Sure, we could each shorten our days with foolish living, but God has a plan that the Enemy cannot end.

Why fear for your life? God holds it in His hand. Why fear the Enemy? He is defeated and even if that roaring lion tries to attack you, you can call on our Lord who will send him whimpering back to Hell. Why fear financial troubles? Why fear what you will eat or what you will wear?

Matthew 6:31-34 - 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

I understand that this has been a long post, and if you have stuck with it until the end, I applaud you. My point through all of this is rather simple. Don’t be afraid. When you grow afraid or anxious, remember who you are. You are a child of God; someone who has been purchased and washed in the blood; a joint-heir with Christ.

You are precious to God and can call on Him, expecting and knowing that He will deliver you. You can know that no matter what the Enemy throws at you, you can stand firm on the name of Jesus and call on the Lord. And when that happens, you know that you have the power of all Heaven backing you up.

I hope this encourages you, reminds you of who you are, and Who you belong to. I hope that you smile and feel stronger as you realize that you can call on the Lord, the Master of all, the Creator of the universe, the Mighty King, the Most High God, and know that He will take care of you.

So readers, do not be afraid. Rather, rejoice that you are saved, that you belong to God, and that all of Heaven stands ready to do battle for you at the call of Jesus’ name.

God bless you and strengthen you,


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