An older pastor with some cross cultural experience writes this briefemail to others in leadership seeking to encourage them in practical ways. These subjects could generally apply to any person seeking to glorify God. (By Alan Utting www.firstfruitsministries.org.nz)
One of the giants I sometimes battle in ministry is that of ‘fear’. Having spent many years encouraging pastors and Christian workers I find I’m in good company! Most people called by God have seasons of fear e.g. Abraham, Moses, Saul, David, Jeremiah, Jonah etc. They all needed assurance that God was with them as their ministry was much bigger than what they could manage by themselves. Here are two comforting verses on fear. Memorise them.
‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ Is 41:10
‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ Matt 11:28
- Fear can be a good motivator if it makes us reliant upon God.
- In this world you will always have problems, so learn to accept that fact. Jn 14:27, 16:33.
- Fear can lead to anxiety, which may easily lead to trying to control others. Be aware! Christians have to learn to trust God.
- I grew up learning to worry and found God’s word applied to various situations is a good antidote against that.
- Fearful people may create fearful enviroments where others are on edge.
- Quote: ‘There is a difference between a fearful thought that comes to mind as a prompting to pray for a particular thing, and a tormenting spirit of fear that paralyzes.’*
The way out
- I find that singing with a strong worshipping heart, often using Scripture brings a major source of victory. Jehoshaphat in battle did the same thing 2 Chron 20. This generally takes a step of faith as that is often the last thing we want to do when we feel so discouraged.
- I’m involved in missions where we provide some support for those living in slums in S.E. Asia. One lady I saw lives on top of a clay grave plot in a small very lightly constructed hut with no furniture, and yet she radiates joy. How often people may have the best of material assets and are still not happy. People with a thankful heart radiate joy. Learn to write down every day the good things that have happened and in three months you will be a transformed person. Thankful people are not negative or fearful.
- When praying learn to pray in the opposite spirit. For example if you have a dreaded meeting approaching, or some other fearful situation approaching thank God for the wisdom Col 2:3 and confidence Heb 10:35 which is in Christ.
- Talk constantly with trusted friends. A burden shared is often a burden halved. Who knows they may have had a similar situation and can share how they overcame fear.
- On some occasions a ‘spirit of fear’ needs to be broken, but the above principles still need to be applied, to retain that victory.
- Remember most of what we fear as far as worries of tomorrow go, will never come to pass.
- Commit yourself to helping others as we are then less likely to think about impending fearful situations and ourselves.
‘Significant things happen in our lives when we don’t allow fear to rule the situation.’ * Be bold!
- Some suggested Resources
‘The power of a praying wife’ by Stormie Omartian (*P 82)
‘The Bait of Satan’ by John Bevere.
‘Switch on your Brain’ by Carolyn Leaf.