Fear can take all shapes and sizes, and changes form for each person it tempts. Did you know that fear is actually a temptation? It isn’t just a fluctuating human emotion, although it’s often passed off as such, but something Satan uses in a very real way for everyone. Like pride, this temptation can take a whole lot of guises. “What will people think of me?” “What if I fail?” “What if I’m not good enough?” “What if I misjudged, and everything’s going to come crashing down?”
It seems like it takes all that is in me to conquer my fears (and even then I’m not that great at it), and one thing that I think is dangerous is the fact that it seems justifiable to feel fear. Everyone feels it, so what’s the problem? It’s admirable to be able to live courageously, but it isn’t necessary for the professing Christian to be the same way…right? If you think about it, it actually starts to sound like those familiar excuses we all use in our sin – just shuttling away the problem into a dark little corner with our intensely human excuses. “This is a little sin. It won’t matter.” “Look at them – they’re far worse than me!” This is more of a I-call-the-shots attitude than a humble one that sees sin as it is. (I have the same struggles; I’m not trying to preach here, but actually show what I’ve realized about the sins I commit.)
So, back to fear: it’s actually a weapon of the Deceiver, and therefore there must be some way to conquer it. “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13b Every believer has the power (granted by Jesus) to resist temptation. That verse is one of my favorites, because it reminds me how powerless Satan is over me because of my faith in Christ. Because Satan uses it to tempt us, and God always provides a way out of temptation, there must be a way out of fear. Impossible sounding, I know…
One of the things that really inspires me is watching other people with their fiery spirits for serving the Lord. It tends to (momentarily) banish my fears by observing their own fearlessness. Even though this can be very inspirational, there is even another, better, option. We can watch God at work. If fears are the work of Satan, than God’s work will be the complete opposite. Seeing how God moves (sometimes by stepping out in complete faith to do something out of our comfort zone) can…and will…start a different kind of fire in our hearts – one that won’t ever go out, as long as we stay true to Him.
“…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” – Ephesians 6:16