The thing that probably immobilizes more Christians than anything else is fear. It’s like being ‘a rabbit in headlights’. It can put us into an inert stupor like being in a deep freeze, where nothing happens or changes unless a thaw occurs! Fear can be the result of many things, some self-imposed but many from other people and situations as well as childhood and adult life experiences. It can sometimes be the situation that we find ourselves in (the Coronavirus for example) where we feel we are not ‘in control’ and face great uncertainty.
In the Bible the phrase ‘Do not be afraid’ appears 365 times! This shows us that we will regularly need to face our fears but, as followers of Jesus we are equipped to overcome it.
Jesus was in all things human and experienced every emotion, situation and temptation that is common to us. This includes the natural human emotion of fear (e.g. the garden of Gethsemane). However, because of His intimate relationship with Father and Holy Spirit He was not ‘overwhelmed’ by fears but rather overcame them. He experienced it but it did not have dominion over Him. So for us, His followers, the issue is not fear itself but the ‘succumbing’ to that fear.
The Fear Factor vs. the Peace of God
The ‘shalom’ peace of God and fear cannot happily co-exist; one or the other will be dominant in our mind and emotions. Which is dominant in you? If you face fears that overwhelm you it’s because there is an absence of the ‘peace that passes human comprehension’ on the inside of you. This kind of peace is accessible to all who ‘know’ God. Holy Spirit stands ready to lead you into that peace.
“God will never give you a spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit gives you mighty power, love and self-control.” (2 Tim 1: 7)
“I leave the gift of peace with you – my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts; instead, be courageous!” (John 14:27)
“Refuse to worry about tomorrow but deal with each challenge that comes your way one day at a time.” (Matt 6:34)
“Don’t worry or surrender to your fear.” (John 14:1)
“Jesus reprimanded the disciples, ‘Why are you gripped with fear? Where is your faith?’” (Mark 4:41)
– Navigator Jo