I am a fearful person.
I fear the unknown.
I fear the disapproval of others.
I fear the failure of what I set out to accomplish.
I fear the sacrifices I may have to make if I surrender wholly to God.
I fear what may happen as a result of this confession.
I fear the solution to my fear.
And that is not a good thing.
I know this in my head. How can I know it in my heart?
My spirit tells me that I am chained by my fear and that I must cry out to God for freedom.
But my flesh holds back. Bondage is comfortable in spite of the chains. But freedom will mean I can walk outside of my comfort zone and into the uncomfortable adventures that await.
Fear has a stronghold on my life. It’s a demon that keeps me trapped in its prison.
My spirit tells me to cast it out.
Scripture tells me how:
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
1 John 4:17-19, NKJV
What is this perfect love?
Is it tied in with Jesus’ words in Matthew 5?
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
If I do not want to fear anymore, then I must be filled with love. Love that springs into action even when it’s not easy, even when it may cost you, even when it may be rejected. True love will be accompanied by boldness for the sake of love. Like a mother who risks her life for the sake of her child. When you are consumed with love, fear takes the back-burner.
I must not fear others – enemies or not. I should love them as God does. And when I do, I can speak in boldness what needs to be said in love.
I must not fear what others think, or fear that I will fail. Love is not puffed up, but humble. It doesn’t matter then if I mess up.
I must not fear what God may ask of me, but I must love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. If I truly love Him, and if I truly believe that He loves me, then I will obey Him, and I will know there is nothing to fear.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Tim. 1:7
It’s an interesting paradox.
Love makes us a servant to God and man. But it frees us from the chains of fear. There is freedom in the service that can’t be found outside of it.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). Perhaps the love of the LORD is the perfection of it.
A family friend wrote this inscription for me after my high school graduation: Proverbs 28:1. Which reads:
The wicked flee when no one pursues,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.
Bold as a lion. Be strong and courageous. I will never leave you nor forsake you. If God is for me, who can be against me? Whom shall I fear? We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
This is another edited excerpt from my journal, from May 2017. That was a year in which I meditated many times on how fear was impacting my life, and by God’s grace, I ended the year with much more confidence than I had at the beginning.
To anyone else who struggles with fear and a lack of confidence, my advice is this: read the Scripture, trust in God, believe what He says, and then act!
If you’re hesitating to do something out of fear, just do it! Most of the time, you’ll discover things aren’t half as scary as you think they are.
And when you do mess up, don’t sweat it! Laugh at your mistakes instead of letting yourself get weighed down with embarrassment.
Try to focus on other people instead of yourself, because when you’re focused on loving them in a Christ-like way, you’ll forget to be self-conscious about yourself.
And most of all – ask God to give you courage, and He will!