Joshua 1: 9 says this. "This is my command - be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." I've heard it said that the command to "fear not" is in the Holy Scriptures a total of 365 times. Makes sense. I think we need to hear that command spoken into us each and every day. I for one know how easy it is to lose sight of God and allow fear to rule. That's pretty much it right there isn't it? We can so easily allow fear to rule which happens when we forget who we are, and more importantly who God is. No wonder Paul had to remind the church in Rome that they "have not been given the Spirit of fear, but the Spirit of Sonship by which we cry Abba Father" (Rom. 8:15).
But I think there's a huge difference between having the "spirit of fear" and feeling fear. Being given the spirit of fear is allowing fear to have the upper hand. I think so many followers miss out on God's purpose for their lives because they are afraid of feeling fear. They so avoid everything and anything that will put us in a place of dependance on God. Where we know we are in way over our heads. But we miss out on so much of God when we live there.
I recently read a short article entitled "Shift Happens" by Carson Pue (Arrow Leadership Canada), all about the shifts everyone of us experience, inwardly and outwardly in our lives. He gave me a spin on fear I have never considered before. This is what he said. "Many of us have lived too long without feeling fear. When we do feel frightened it can prompt an exciting burst of faith and creativity that is actually energizing. A shift is a detour, not the end of the road." Talk to any athlete, they'll tell you the same thing. That often we are at our best when we are afraid. I just went for a ride with my next door neighbour Jerry; we rode a trail out here in Squamish called "Cake Walk." Good, fast, flowey and steep. It gets the adrenaline flowing let me tell ya. But it's amazing how focussed you get when you dive into a trail like that. I am at my best when I am pushing it; riding fast - on the edge. This is true when it comes to riding, or doing anything athletic, and the same when it comes to our spiritual lives.
I think many followers of Jesus have lived too long without feeling fear. They miss out on the burst of faith and creativity that we didn't know was there, when we step out and put ourselves in a place where we have to trust. The truth is that in order to discover what we're made of, we need to find our edge. Come on, what have we got to lose?
I think followers of Jesus should be the biggest risk takers the world has ever known. Why? Because we know who we are and who God is. That life and faith is a big experiment. I hear God telling His children, "sounds like fun. Give it a try. Let's do it together. I'm right here. I've got you." And hey, if we fail, it's OK. We'll be OK. Failure doesn't define who we are anyways. I have got my sites on some pretty big dreams for Squamish; I think God has given me the dream. So I'm going for it. And I am sure I will feel fear from time to time. But I know as long as I keep Jesus front and centre I will be OK. Fear won't rule me.
So anything you are dreaming these days? Any longings that seem to be bubbling to the surface as of late? What's keeping you from going for it? Maybe it's about time you feel a little bit of fear coursing through your veins. Maybe it's about time. Let me end with these words from Paul. “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
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