Have you ever given any thought to what stirs fear inside of you? Well as of late I have been giving a lot of thought to what makes a person fearful. Recently, I saw the movie After Earth staring Will Smith and his son. I really enjoyed the movie for its entertainment value but it was also very thought provoking. It dealt with fear. Here’s a quote made by General Cypher Raige (played by Will Smith) from a conversation he had with his son:
“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me danger is very real but fear is a choice.”
Impressive right? Well, it is nothing new … two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul told a young man named Timothy basically the same thing. Paul was telling Timothy, and those of us who have accepted salvation, about who we are in Christ.
For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
Not too long ago my wife Amy was challenged in this area. It all started when I shared that I intended to renew my motorcycle license and teach my brother how to ride his new motorcycle. Amy’s response was not very supportive. The conversation went something like this …
“Why are you going to get a motorcycle license?” Amy said with a disapproving tone. “Well, I use to ride and I enjoyed it very much,” I said. “Yea, but that was like 35 years ago,” Amy scoffed, “and it’s very dangerous.” “Not any more dangerous than anything else,” I countered, “and when I was younger and owned my own motorcycle I was reckless, but now that I’m older I have better judgement and wisdom.” When Amy saw her logic wasn’t working she went the God route, “Are you sure that’s something The Lord would have you do?” she questioned. “I’m trusting The Lord,” I said, “He took care of me when I was young and reckless and for the most part not even following Him. You need to pray for me and trust The Lord as well.”
Days later I took each of our daughters, ages eight and six for a short ride around our neighborhood. Amy, and our youngest Ella, watched as I rode off with our oldest Emma Grace. We returned ten minutes later, Emma Grace was smiling ear to ear, and Ella could not wait for her turn. Ella got on and held on tight just like her sister and off we rode. When Amy saw me riding with confidence and our girls enjoying the motorcycle and trusting their father, I could tell Amy’s heart was softening concerning her fear.
GOD’S WORD RINGING TRUE
Weeks later while shopping with Amy, she happen upon a nice looking jacket. She shared that she thought that the jacket would fit Emma Grace. More important then the fit, the style of the jacket was patterned after a motorcycle jacket. (smile) I thought to myself is this the same women who just weeks ago was against me riding a motorcycle. So what changed. Amy was no longer walking in the fear of her imagination. She had witness,firsthand, me handling the motorcycle and riding with confidence. She had seen our daughters’ excitement and their trust in their dad. Once Amy removed these negative fore drawn conclusions she had about her husband riding a motorcycle, she was able to trust God. When we allow fear to live rent free in our heads without evicting it, the results can be costly. Fear can cause us to stop believing what we know about The Lord Jesus. As Christians, if we place our trust and hope in any other thing other then Jesus we are subject to our own fears. Amy, without knowing it, had forecasted and concluded an outcome that simply did not exist …and she was acting as if it had already occurred. Without even knowing it, she was stirring up fears as though they were realities. Perhaps you’ve been there also.
CAN YOU RELATE TO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING SCENARIOS?
Have you ever been sitting in your doctors office awaiting test results and running through your mind are the worst case scenarios that one could imagine?
Have you ever applied for a job knowing that you did your very best during to interview, but you find yourself imagining that there is no way you’ll even be considered for the job?
Have you ever set a goal or decided to do something and after you sought the support of family and friends; they turned out to be your biggest naysayers? And you, in turn, allowed their conclusions to become yours?
IF YOU HAVE HAVE ANSWERED YES TO ANY ONE OF THESE QUESTIONS WOULDN’T YOU LIKE TO KNOW WHY? FEAR!!!
Fear sets in whenever we determine that there is a negative outcome for a future event. And, when we have already concluded that what we have deem valuable can or will be taken from us. The fear of this can be overwhelming and we’ll begin to live as though that outcome has already occurred. We must remember what God’s word says …
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
So if God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, what has He given us? God has given us (1) a spirit of power to to overcome difficulties and dangers by trusting an all knowing and loving God. We must fully realize that it is God that holds mankind’s future not man; (2) a spirit of love, having the full knowledge that Jesus loved us while we were still sinners and died for us to pay the debt of our sins; and (3) a sound mind to overcome our fears. Meaning, we are not easily driven by our emotions, instead we use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Operating out of your own beliefs can cause you to doubt The Lord. Here is a Bible verse that has continually strengthened me and countless others when our fears have trampled over whatever hope we’ve had remaining. Remember, only God can determine the outcome of the future.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11.