Three Ways out of Fear

Stop me when this sounds familiar. I got a text from a worship director. It said, “I wanted to tell you that my wife felt ill and tested positive for COVID, so tomorrow I can’t be with you.”

These days, we see this scenario over and over. If it’s not a COVID issue, you can pick something else from the internet to freak you out, right?! There is a general spirit of fear over the earth, and we see more and more clearly.

While it’s no sin to be afraid, it is a sin to walk in fear, to make choices in fear, to live in fear.

Why? Because I can’t walk in fear while believing that God is good and has my world in His hands. Because I can’t make fear-driven choices and trust God. Fearful decisions have a long track record of being bad decisions, even though they may seem wise at the outset.

The scriptures are full of stories of “Ishmael’s” - where followers of Jesus couldn’t stand to wait for God’s deliverance, direction, provision, protection, or timing.

Fear-based is faith-devoid. It’s not a call to be reckless; it’s a call to be fearless.

So, how can we be fearless in fearful times? How can we, as Christ-followers, be counter-fear-cultural? Our churches must look strikingly different from the world around us.

There’s a beautiful reality that the LORD provides for us. It’s His peace, and specifically, His shalom. Shalom means nothing is missing and nothing is broken.

His peace is something that bypasses our understanding. It transcends, exceeds, and is greater than our understanding. (Philippians 4:7) 
And it’s the LORD’s doing in us. We simply need to receive it. Let the centuries-old blessing take its root inside you. “The LORD bless you and keep you, May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Say it out loud to yourself now.

In His love, there is no fear. None. (I John 4:18) If you’re afraid, you need a more profound, fuller encounter and experience of God’s perfect love. 

But don’t be fooled by the world’s counterfeit love. I believe it’s made its way into the church too. The beginning of chapter four of 1 John warns, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 

If there’s no risk, is there faith? I’m asking an honest question.

Like if I know something will work out, do I really need the LORD? If I can see the outcome, does it require faith? Doesn’t there have to be some unknown involved, some risk?

Years ago, I added a daily reminder to my phone. At 10:00 AM, it prompts, “Ask the Lord what Risky Action to take!” 

Risky action. That’s one way I’ve come to define faith. Faith is confidence. It shows the reality, the substance, the certainty, and the conviction that makes us sure. It’s our well-grounded assurance. 

Faith is essential. It’s one of our highest values because without faith, it’s not possible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) And as worshipers, pleasing God is the very heart of worship. 

To walk in the opposite spirit of the spirit of fear, walk in shalom, love, and faith. And let’s do it together!