Today’s devotion is the third of a 10-part devotional series titled: “10 Concerns in the Christians Walk with God”
Conquer an Overwhelming Fear (II Timothy 1:7)
We sometimes get tired and lose our enthusiasm for serving the Lord because we face opposition. Sometimes we feel intimidated or helpless, which the Word of God calls the spirit of fear. One of Satan’s most effective weapon in quenching our spiritual flame is fear. Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 1:7, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;…. The Lord tells Paul to fight fear with His promises. He promises to be with him, to protect him, and to use him to bring people into the kingdom. Now Paul is directing Timothy to the same source of hope. He says broadly, be disciplined, be diligent, be brave, for God is with you.
Who has not experienced fear in ministry? If you have ever done street evangelism, perhaps you know this feeling. If you have ever been a part of a church plant, you understand the fear of the unknowns. If you have ever been in a tense meeting where people oppose you, even gang up on you, perhaps you have experienced timidity. Remember: fight fear with the promises of God. The Spirit of God empowering the people of God is enough to accomplish the mission of God.
We can all relate to experiencing fear in one form or another. It’s a natural emotion just like grief or anger. You don’t ever coach yourself, “I think I need to feel afraid.” You don’t have to plan it—fear just happens. We have nothing to fear—and yet we do fear. We need an answer for our worries. What do you fear as you’re going through a storm? It may not be the storm itself, but what’s coming afterward. Or someone who's just been diagnosed with a chronic illness—it’s not the news today, it’s tomorrow and next week.
The worry of, ”What will happen to me? Will I be okay?” The unknown results and outcomes may drive your fears. But there is an alternative. In the midst of the storm, you do not have to fear the future. God is with you. Nothing comes into your life but what Almighty God allows. Nothing comes into your life that God doesn’t already know about. And since He is with you, you don’t have to fear.
Too many Christians want the benefit of claiming “God is with me,” but spend too little time talking to the God who is with them. Can fear be avoided entirely? Probably not. But Scripture gives us an alternative plan that prepares for and responds to fear.
Psalm 56:3, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” While serving the Lord in the hostile jungles of Africa in 1856, hostile savages encompassed David Livingston. For the first time in his life, he was tempted to retreat. He wrote in his journal: "January 14, 1856. Felt much turmoil of spirit in prospect of having all my plans for the welfare of this great region and this teeming population knocked on the head by savages tomorrow. But I read that Jesus said: 'All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, and lo I Am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.' I will not cross furtively tonight as I intended. Should such a man as I flee? Nay verily, I shall take observations for latitude and longitude tonight though they be the last. I feel quite calm now, thank God." God's Word gives us hope when we find ourselves overtaken by fear. Instead of wallowing in it, we can put our trust in Him. We can deliberately turn away from fear and toward the Lord. This affirmation is also found in Isaiah 12:2, “…I will trust, and not be afraid...”
If you have fear, remember, you didn't get your fear from God. The word fear means to be "fearful or timid." It is a fear that is produced by a lack of confidence. It is a fear that produced by lack of faith. Many times in the Word of God we see that fear and faithlessness go together. When Jesus dealt with the disciples over their fear of the storm, He asked them Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? (Mark 4:40) Fear is produced by a lack of confidence in the Lord. The disciples' biggest problem wasn't the storm, it was their lack of faith.
Why wait for fears to come before you decide to trust God? Practice trusting Him as a daily exercise—spend time in His Word and in prayer. When you do, you may not even notice how many fears you’ll simply pass by, because your attention will be on the One who is not threatened by anything.
Are you unstable in your Christian life because of an overwhelming fear? Are you spiritually defeated or broken? Are you stalled or hindered due to lack of faith? If so, the cause of your problem can lead to the cure. Put your confidence in Christ and decide that you will call upon the Lord regularly. God wants us to trust Him with our lives. You can turn your cares into prayer. Anything worth worrying about is worth praying about.
Prayer, Father, You are with me, so I never face my fears alone. And You are for me, so who can stand against me? You gave Your own Son for me, and You will graciously give me all I need. When I fear, help me to cling to Your promise that You will never leave me nor forsake me. Help me to speak and live fearlessly because You are with me. I am never alone. You are with me. I commit this truth to my heart right now. May this simple, profound truth sustain me today. In the power of Your name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.