Most leaders in the Bible had a problem with fear. Not only has it at times been my experience, but I have supported many walking through very fearful situations where they feel their lives and ministries are hopelessly falling apart. Maybe you are in that situation now!
Corona virus has also created fearful attitudes now paralysing individuals, cities and countries as a whole. How you react to that epidemic will influence your ministry circle of people, friends and family alike. What a responsibility you have! The ‘fear of God’ is good, as it shows respect, but I am not talking about that fear.
Scripture reminds us, ‘So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded’. (Hebrews 10:35). Sometimes by faith we genuinely need to portray confidence even when we don’t always feel it. I like Kris Vallotton’s remark, ‘But true confidence in God’s work in our lives shields us from the flaming arrows of fear, terror and torment. The goal of all enemy assaults is to scare us out of our divine destiny’.
We need to keep matters in perspective even though we may walk through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’. This puts faith to the test! Here are some reminders on how we can do that.
The word ‘Fear’ appears 274 times in the Bible showing it’s a significant subject.
For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7 KJV)
‘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’. Isaiah 41:10
The importance of hope in counteracting fear:
‘but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:41. (Thank you Lord).
- I have discovered that most spiritual growth occurs through challenging and fearful experiences. It forces us to rely more upon God. Don’t waste these maturing experiences.
- S. Lewis makes an interesting observation after the loss of his wife. “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid”.
- During the storms of life Jesus often appeared to his disciples declaring ‘PEACE’. His peace does not come through trusting a formula but in knowing Him personally! ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you’! He is the author of peace. Do you know Him?
- Memorisation of Scriptures endorses the above truth and as a means of standing against Satanic opposition. These Scriptures to memorise sometimes come to me through daily reading of Scriptures. I’m so glad that as a youngster I learnt this discipline at Sunday school. I will memorise one phrases at a time and then repeat the whole verse regularly, claiming its meaning by faith throughout the day. That way it goes from my head to my heart.
- A burden shared is a burden halved (see Gal 6:2) and refers to the importance of bearing one another’s burdens. Who do you share with on a deeper level? Be a friend to those who have no one.
- As ‘perfect love drives out fear’ (1 John 4:18) pray God’s blessing upon those causing you genuine anxiety. It not only will help them but yourself as well. Sometimes difficult situations need to be confronted directly rather than left to fester.
- If plagued by fearful attitudes, try and regularly take your mind off the situation. That may mean going for regular walks providing good exercise, read good books, have coffee out and enjoy your friends’ company etc.
- It’s easier said than done, but why worry! Jesus tells us ‘So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them’ Matt 6:31,32. Most of the things we worry about never eventuate anyway.
- Lastly, we need to take obvious precautions when it comes to combating Corona virus. These include regularly washing hands well with soap and if culturally appropriate when greeting people give them a gentle pat on the back instead of shaking hands. Also try and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid panic buying but stock up on necessary food items. Depending on the severity of the situation it may be advisable to avoid large crowds. If large worship gatherings close, try and connect online or meet in smaller groups within the home. Country restrictions may vary but obey those restrictions otherwise it may bring your work into discredit.
The Bible deals comprehensively with this subject.
‘Spirit Wars’ by Kris Vallotton
Fear and anxiety by John Piper – https://www.desiringgod.org/topics/fear-and-anxiety