PASTOR'S PEN: Fear: Help or Hindrance? Part 1
As I look back on my life, there are many things I remember not doing that I wish I had taken a chance on. I remember being invited to go on a trip to Mexico with an evangelist. It was an opportunity I didn’t think I could afford at the time so I passed on it. As I look back now, I wish I would have had a little less fear of the trip and spending the money and had sacrificed a little to take that trip. There were other opportunities in my life to pursue something I had never tried before, but a fear of embarrassment or failure kept me from even feigning an attempt at them. Fear has kept me from many things I wish I had done. So when we look at fear, is it a hindrance to our lives and spiritual walk? Yes.
Paul tells us in Romans 8 that “you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear…” Fear is a slave master that keeps us from giving our lives fully to God. In that passage Paul talks about suffering for Christ and the control of the sin nature. None of us want to suffer. That fear of suffering plus the comfort of sin that we have known so long keeps us from following God. Fear is a potent weapon in Satan’s arsenal. We “fear what man can do unto us” (Psalm 118:6) and we act as those “ashamed of the gospel” (Romans 1:16).
Fear keeps us from sharing Christ with a co-worker. Fear keeps us chained to the sin that we have leaned upon for so long. Fear prevents us from giving a little extra to missions or from going on a mission trip ourselves. Fear that we will have to give too much of our own time and energy keeps us from getting involved when someone is struggling. Fear keeps us at bay like a pack of wolves outside the door at night or a blizzard during the wintery months. We don’t know what’s out there or what may happen, so we do nothing truly sacrificial for the Lord.
Are you fearful of where following God may lead? Is your fear making you live as one who is ashamed of the gospel of Christ? Psalm 27:1 tells us this: “The LORD is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?”
Maybe you have a fear of people or of circumstances. You ask yourself, “What if God leads me to a place of poverty or I have health issues or He moves us from our family?” What if He does? Psalm 56:3-4 reminds us that, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, in whose Word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.”
When it comes to fear of people or circumstances, the question we need to ask ourselves is simply this, “Do I trust God?” If He truly is the all-powerful God, your Creator, your Savior, your Father in heaven who cares for you; how can you not trust Him no matter what others may say or what life brings down your path. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)