About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Paralyzed By Fear


Years ago I was in a large gathering of believers.  I felt led to speak a word of prophecy but I refused because I feared speaking to so many people.  After a prolonged silence when everyone anticipated hearing the Word of the Lord someone else spoke the exact same message I was afraid to speak. 


From time to time we all experience the paralyzing effect of fear to one degree or another.  It prevents us from effectively serving God.  It drives us to a self imposed prison that deceives us into thinking we are in a safe and secure place, far from harm's way.  In fact, the real harm is not from what we fear but from fear itself. 


Jesus once asked His fear filled disciples, "Where is your faith", or trust (Luke 8:25).  According to Jesus, fear demonstrates a lack of trust in Him, but didn't the disciples have a legitimate reason to fear?  Their boat was being batted around like a ping-pong ball by a turbulent storm.  They could have lost their lives, but Jesus tells them not to fear. 


On another occasion Jesus warned His disciples to not fear those who could kill the body but not the soul.  Rather, they were to fear God who could destroy both body and soul in hell's fires (Luke 12:5).   


Hebrews 12:29 states that God is a consuming fire.  No wonder we are to fear Him.   Proverbs 1:7 says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.  Clearly, there is a healthy fear, and it is the fear of God.  Once fearing God, Jesus said that we could move forward in faith to serve Him without fear (Luke 1:74).  Luke 1:50 says that when we fear God He extends His mercy to us that I believe enables us to serve Him without fearing whatever comes our way in the process. 


The first generation Christians possessed this healthy fear.  Their community grew because as Acts 9:31 states, "They lived in the fear of God."  The Apostle Paul was one such believer.  He had ample opportunity to fear.  In times of being imprisoned, shipwrecked, attacked by robbers, and stoned, he effectively served Jesus.  He, therefore, could confidently encourage Timothy to follow his lead because God doesn't give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and self discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).


Fear is an enemy of faith.  The first step in conquering the paralyzing effect of fear is to take the next fearful step of faith.  Sometimes we just need to sit down, clear our cluttered heads, and have a serious talk with Jesus.  Be honest.  Tell Him that you are afraid to step out and trust Him.  Stay in His presence until He assures you that He will come along side of you as you hesitantly inch your way forward towards and through that which you fear.  Each step is a step away from that what you fear and a step closer to Jesus. 


Of course, this is only accomplished if you have a working relationship with Jesus, but really, isn't this what being a Christian is all about.  A Christian is not one who simply adheres to a body of Biblical beliefs.  He is one who daily engages himself with the person of our Lord Jesus Christ.  


As our culture becomes more anti-Christ in nature, we will be cornered in cultural conflict that will scare us.  Just remember, our real enemy is not that which we fear, but fear itself.  If we fear God during these times we will not imprison ourselves in a place that deceives us into thinking we are safe and secure.  Instead, we will stand firm in our freedom from fear.  We will fearlessly stand our ground because "We did not receive a spirit that makes us a slave again to fear, but we have received the Spirit of being His sons.  By Him we cry, Abba Father" (Romans 8:15 - 16).  The cry of "Abba Father" is certainly a shout of victory over that which we fear. 


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