Before I entered into a relationship with Jesus, my life was characterized by fear and anxiety. Even the simple step of asking Jesus to forgive my sins and to take control of my life produced fear and anxiety in the deepest part of my heart; but the desire for healing and relationship was stronger. By the grace of God, I was able to step out in faith and begin a new life filled with peace. Even now, as I think back to that day, I am amazed at the changes God has brought into my life. No longer does fear dictate my actions—no longer does anxiety cripple my plans. “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fears are gone.” This simple chorus expresses a truth that forever changed my life.
Many times, we want to live a life that is comfortable so we avoid anything that produces fear or anxiety. We allow fear to cripple our forward motion and we seek to do those things which are comfortable. How many times have I used this excuse— “I don’t feel peace” – when making a decision? While feelings are good indicators for what we are thinking, they are not good motivators for forward progress. Many times, our feelings inhibit forward motion and are used by the devil to keep us from fulfilling our potential. In “Joshua, Courageous Discipleship,” Dr. Ralph Wilson says:
My friend, one of the reasons you haven’t grown more in your walk with God is because of your fear—fear of people, fear that people won’t approve, fear that you’ll fail, fear that you’ll make a fool out of yourself, fear that you aren’t strong enough, fear that God will let you down.
I have found that fear can overpower faith—but I am learning that fear and faith can exist together and when I choose faith (believing God and His promises, not that elusive ‘feeling’ that I think I can somehow muster up), fear is less crippling. I still have the fear—but as I go forward, God proves Himself faithful once more. The reality that God is on my side and that He is with me gives me courage and strength to do those things which seem uncomfortable and scary, whether it be reaching out to those who are hurting on the streets or standing before a group of people instructing them in the importance of reaching out to those who are hurting. Not to mention - traveling to foreign countries…
In Joshua 1:9 God says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Romans 10:17, Paul writes, “Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Take time to read God’s Word and to meditate on it day and night and you, too, will find the courage to move forward despite your fear.