He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, December 28, 2015

To Be Afraid

           I am afraid of spiders and snakes and most creeping, crawling things.  As a young person I was afraid to speak in front of my peers when it was time for book reports or any other reason that placed me in the lime light.  My fear would strip me of my voice so that all a person could hear was a whisper.   I was afraid of writing papers because I was certain mine would never hold a candle to the girl who sat behind me in class and had a writing flair I positively envied!

            It seems we are all born with what some call a “powerful, motivating negative” fear.  Some people are afraid of heights, darkness, elevators, dogs, thunder and lightening, germs, the unknown, Friday the 13th, clowns, loud noises, failure, God and a whole list of other things!  Fear is generated from a belief our well-being is in some kind of danger, whether it be perceived or real.  The goal, when this emotion looms in front of us, is to respond in some form.  It could be described as “flight or fright.” 

            Fright tends to cause us to run away, or depending on the situation become paralyzed in place and scream (like when I see a snake or mouse)!  The other response is to fight which means “dig our heels in” and focus on whatever oppositional option is before us, saying, “NO! NO! NO!”

            It’s interesting how God manages to use our fears to “grow” us, giving us courage to do those things we absolutely loathe!  Consider Aaron who was certain he could not speak, Jeremiah who was sure he was not the one God called and made all kinds of excuses not to follow God’s directive, or Moses who was afraid to be the man God called him to be. Yet God used each of these men to make a difference in the lives of many.  They are proof God can change us when we face challenges, we are certain we are unable to complete successfully. 

            To be successful against our fears, as Christians, we need to place our fear and then our trust in our Powerful God and step out in faith, facing what is before us, knowing even if we are not “perfect” the first time out, God will use our gift to bless others if we are following His will.

            On the other side of this, when we choose to ignore a calling God has given us because we are afraid, we are unable to produce the good fruit we are capable of producing.  We run from God, (like Jonah) and end up in a painful and sometimes more frightening situation than if we’d listened to God in the first place!   In truth, as we run in fear, we should recognize our biggest fear is really fear of “sacrifice!”  We are afraid of submitting our whole self, including desires, needs, possibilities, and everything about us, to God.  When we focus on our fears instead of on God’s call for our lives, we are demonstrating a self-centered mentality. 

            So I challenge you to consider your greatest fear.  How can God use your abilities?  If you listen closely, can you hear Him calling you to service?