Fearless Living

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7

Fearless Living
with Edward John

Fear is a common human experience. Everyone struggles with it, though not all fear is equal. Some types of fear can paralyze us, keeping us from walking in the abundant life God desires for us.

Four fears that can paralyze are fear of man, fear of failure, fear of loneliness and an unhealthy fear of God.

The fear of man keeps us more concerned with what people think about us than what God thinks. Every time we wonder if we can measure up to someone else's standards or think in terms of "have to" in order to please someone other than God, as though their opinion of us is determines our value, we have let the fear of man rule us. God is the only one who can determine our value and He's already shown how much He values us by sending His Son to die on the cross for us.

Proverbs 29:25 says, "the fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted." God wants us to trust Him with everything in us. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6). When we shift our trust entirely on the Lord, we have humbled ourselves. God's promises to then lift us up (James 4:10).

Loneliness tries to take away from our lives, but that should not necessarily be the case. Consider King David. He spent a lot of time alone before the prophet Samuel anointed him to be king. Then he spent time on the run from King Saul because Saul wanted to kill him. King David's times of loneliness pushed him closer to God until he ultimately became known as "a man after God's heart" (1 Samuel 13:14).

Moses also spent considerable time alone in intimate times with God. It was through that very intimacy we received the Ten Commandments. When we are lonely, we are at a place where we can either run away from God, straight into the arms of depression, or we can run to God and experience His presence. The best place to hear God is in a secluded place with no distractions. Jesus knew this, so he sought solitude. The night before his crucifixion he withdrew from his disciples so that he could receive the grace needed to finish the task set before him (Matthew 26:36-46).

God promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 11:5-6). Jesus said that he will be with us, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20). Loneliness is not something to fear. Instead, we can embrace it as a gift from God that draws us closer to Him.

In much the same way, failure is not something to fear. Proverbs 24:16 says that though a righteous man may fall he gets up. He doesn't stay down. The fear of failure is rooted in the belief that it is up to us to accomplish something and that we will face some sort of punishment if we are unsuccessful. But God says that it is by His Spirit that things are accomplished (Zechariah 4:6).

When we align our lives with the Word of God, failure is no longer an issue because God sees our heart. Men judge by externals, but God does not (1 Samuel 6:7). He knows our frame, that we are dust, and yet He still has perfect love for us (Psalm 103:13-14; 1 John 4:17-19). King David knew what it meant to struggle with fear. Frequently he asked the question, "what can mere man do to me?" (Psalm 53:3-4) Yet throughout everything he trusted God.

The fear of man, the fear of failure and the fear of loneliness all have to do with how we see man. The fear of the Lord has to do with how we see God.

Scriptures refer to the fear of the Lord many times. In Deuteronomy the Israelites were commanded to fear the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:13). But the word "fear" doesn't mean that we are to associate dread or horror with God. When we do associate horror with God we are dealing with an unhealthy fear of God.

We are to honor the Lord above all others. We are to respect Him. Above all else, we are to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27).

The love of God, which we reciprocate because He loved us first, is the key to overcoming the fear of man, the fear of loneliness and the fear of failure. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:30-32)

This Week
Ask the Lord to show you where you have let fear rule in your life. Reject fear and ask the Lord to cleanse you and empower you to live fearlessly. Search the Gospels for all of the times Jesus says "fear not."

"Heavenly Father, thank you that I need not fear because you are with me and for me. Please let me experience the bold power of your love in a way that breaks the shackles of fear in my life.

Adapted from Fearless Living by Edward John for LIFE Today with James and Betty Robinson.

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