As the calendar flings itself into a new year, I sense the Lord’s leading to uncharted waters. Instead of excitement, I began to list off all my shortcomings. Explaining away what God was placing in my heart and believing the lies rather than trusting the Spirit’s leading. Deep within my soul, where no one could see, I was afraid.
Afraid of not being enough. Of not measuring up. Of not having what it takes. Will I succeed? More questions than answers crowded my mind, and I wondered: Would I labor without fruit? Fear has a way of creeping in and stealing everything we hold dear, including our trust in God.
Do you ever feel this way? Is He calling you to unchartered waters? Are you weary of the weight of holding it all together?
On this particular day, snow fell for several hours, unusual for Mississippi. Just outside the window, I see the bushes buckling under the heaviness of the snow. Each branch seems to be bending and stretching from the weight. It’s as if they were not made to hold such pressure. No way can it survive under the weight and neither can we.
When we strip away all the questions the weight of fear, we were never intended to carry, remains.
Are you buckling under the weight of fear? Are you a slave to its rules, unable to move forward with purpose?
Because if we buckle under the weight of fear, the enemy wins.
Tell me; you’re ready to break free from the weight, from the stealer of joy, from the killer of hope, from the twisting of the truth.
Tell me; you’re ready to break free from this fear because the truth is…God not only calls, but He equips us.
That’s right. You’re Qualified. Stamped with approval. Because Christ lives in you.
Now I would love to give you step-by-step instructions on how to break free from fear, but I have none. There is only one beautiful truth I white knuckle and cling to when fear begins to whisper its lies, and that is: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” Galatians 2:20
In Matthew 14 we find the disciples caught in a storm on a boat. Scripture says they were terrified and thought Jesus was a ghost. Jesus says in verse 27, “Don’t be afraid…Take courage. I am here.”
Seven times the phrase “take courage” is found in the New Testament. God is not merely commanding us not to fear; he’s equipping us with His presence.
“Take courage” is also translated as “be of good cheer.” It sounds like we should just be happy, but the root of the word in Greek means to exercise bold and confident courage! Overcoming fear comes from confident courage flowing from the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
Often when we face something challenging or new we remind ourselves don’t be afraid and to stand firm in the face of fear. Treating fear as if we should jump off a cliff without a parachute; ignoring it altogether. We can’t keep going around thinking we are fearless without clinging to the parachute of courage Christ has given us.
God would not ask us to step out in faith without Him, yet just like the disciples, we find ourselves facing fear without Him. Grasping for control and avoiding the very thing God is calling us to because we are afraid we are going to fail.
Overcoming fear without courage is reckless.
Hope arises knowing the very courage that rose Christ Jesus from the dead lives and breaths in us.
Do we believe that Christ dwells in us? This is the question we have to ask ourselves because what we do with our faith is a better indication than what we think or say. Shrinking under the fear of something terrifying denies the power of God living in us.
When it’s hard, and fear is whispering lies, hold on to Christ and believe in His power working through you as you step out in faith. In 2018 let’s face fear with courage.
What area of your life do you deny Christ’s power? What is He calling you to in 2018 that takes courage?
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