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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

19 May '12

The fear factor

Fears: we all have them. It is what keeps us up at night and lives in the pit of our stomach, rearing its ugly head over some trigger that sets them off. They may be real fears or imagined fears (what if that happened?) but in a world where bad things do happen and the nightly news is mostly bad (and exaggerated)  we cannot escape our fears.

But we can manage them with the help of God. It fascinates me that the most often repeated command in Scripture is to fear not. Do not be afraid! Often coupled with the statement "I am with you" (see Joshua 1). This is because faith is the currency of God's Kingdom while fear is the currency of our world. Fear kills faith (which is why the evil one loves it) while faith builds confidence in God's ability to handle any situation we could ever face. Fear holds us back while faith drives us forward. 


The great pantheon of heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 all had much to fear - and most of them paid for their faith dearly. But in each case they chose faith over fear, trusting even in what they could not yet see because they believed the promises of God. They countered fear with trust and faith.

One of the great advantages of memorizing scripture (yes even adults can do it) is that the truth of God's word is a powerful antidote to the many untruthful or fearful messages stored in our brain. The Holy Spirit is a master at pulling out of our minds the very truth that we need at the moment we need if - if we have been diligent in putting it there. 

King David, the head of state in Israel made constant reference to the words of God that he had hid in his heart. Those words were the realignment mechanism for him when he faced even the most difficult circumstances.

When I was in a Thailand ICU wondering if I would live or die, on a ventilator and unable to do anything about my circumstances and in excruciating pain, fear was very real! I battled that fear with the words of Jesus to Peter when Peter got out of the boat in the storm. "Fear not." "Why are you afraid?" "I am with you." Those few, simple words fought back the storm of fear, kept it at bay and allowed me to trust God in a very hard time. It was not without a colossal struggle but faith won over fear. And it can for you as well.

Fear is a normal human reaction but faith is the currency of God's Kingdom (Hebrews 11). Fear can only be fought back with the truth of God found in His word. Put it in your heart and the next time fear raises its ugly head, counter attack with God's word.