When I was little I was afraid of the dark. This isn’t a huge revelation as most kids and even some adults are afraid of what happens when the lights go out. Shadows get cast on the wall, GI-Joe action figures seems to look at you, the wind is just a little louder than you remember it, even your dog with sleep apnea can become a little creepy in the still of night you. Sometimes all you can do is just tuck the covers over your head until the fear subsides or you pass out from lack of oxygen.
Fear is not just relegated to the time when your eyes switch from using cones to rods. It is much less about physiology as it is with psychology. Our eyes know that the FatHead sticker on the wall is just Andy Daulton from the Bengals. But something inside us makes us question that fact and we start to think he may be a red haired, ginger, alien trying to attack us while we sleep. It’s as if our mind is playing tricks on us and then convinces our heart it’s true so that we freak out…and possibly wet the bed.
Life can seem fearful too.
Difficult things happen to us on a daily basis. From stressful bosses at work to bullies in the halls to difficult spouses in our homes our lives are in a constant state of adjustment based on what is happening. Life will often throw you more curveballs than fastballs which always keeps you off balance. I know so many people that live just waiting for the next bad thing to happen as if it was as inevitable as junk mail. President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “The only thing to fear, is fear itself.” Well if that’s true then it is a miracle we see anyone on the streets at all! Let’s face it, there are things to be fearful everywhere we turn. We could easily succumb to these fears, stay in our house, watch The Bachelor, and wait for the police to come and reposes our house, but God didn’t design us that way.
Proverbs 29, although not completely about fear, does have underpinnings of the effects of it. There are several examples such as dealing with spoiled people (v. 21), an angry person (v 22), fools with rage (v. 11), unfair government officials (v. 4-5), and even concerns about raising chidden (v. 15,17, 21). Yet as Solomon nears the end of this piece we read these words:
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
This is the release our souls need.
You see fear is easily one of the “go to” techniques of Satan that keeps us from truly living. Have you ever noticed that our fear is typically at it’s worst when we are considering doing something for God? All of a sudden you become acutely aware of your past mistakes, weaknesses, empty bank account, meager abilities, lack of time, and all kinds of things that you normally don’t even think about. He wants to bring those things up so that you become more focused on them and less about the promises of God. Promises that tell you that you can do “all things through He who strengthens you”. (Phil. 4:13) On top of all your shortcomings Satan will bring about fear of man issues too. He will start to seed your spirit with ideas like, “No one will listen to you”, “They will turn on you if you do that”, or “I’m sure the boss will fire you if he finds out.” Even though God is the creator of all things including man, we still place what other people say above what God says and we start to let fear choke us. We start to let it squeeze the life out of us like a Boa Constrictor. I call this Fear Failure. This is losing before the game even begins. We let fear get the best of us and slowly steal our life.
As Believers, we need to shake ourselves loose from this man made fear. Solomon tells us that man’s fear will be a snare to us, but trusting in God will keep us safe. That doesn’t mean that life will be easy or that we will never have fear sneak around the corner again. It means that even if we do start to feel the butterflies rise up we have the reassurance that God is with us. His love for us will quickly smothers any fear flame from growing. Since Jesus died for our sins and took the sting of eternal death we truly have nothing left to fear. The rest of life becomes a roller coaster adventure complete with our hands up in the air and smile on our face trusting that God is in control.
There are too many people reading this that fear has taken over your life. You are keeping yourself from following God’s lead and you are stifling the plan God has for you. I want to encourage you to take your foot off the brake and let God put the pedal to the metal in your life. Don’t let the voice of your past keep you from the future God has in store for you. Dream big! If God has placed it on your heart he wants you to transfer it to your hands. Come to love the feeling of being almost out of control for the things of God and see where He takes you.
God has great things stored up in you so throw open the gates and let them rush out for His glory! Don’t let Fear Failures keep you inside any longer. Get out there and start living for Him!