If you are reading this, and you have a pulse, and you are breathing…most likely you are human. And if you are human, I would bet that you have experienced fear in one way, shape, or form. Now, there are common phobias, such as Arachnophobia – the fear of spiders, Acrophobia - the fear of heights, or Cynophobia – the fear of dogs. But those aren’t the kind of fears I’m speaking of. I’m talking about fears that keep me from my greatest potential.
Satan uses the spirit of fear in many different ways. He sometimes causes me to worry, which makes me miserable. When I’m miserable, I’m ineffective, preoccupied, and I don’t take any risks. Satan likes to hang my past sins over my head and use the potential for failure to keep me from stepping out. He gets a thrill out of reminding me of my weaknesses, and causing me to fear the criticism of others. These presumptions cloud over my view of God and His plan for my life. Lately, the devil has been placing seeds of doubt in my mind…and yes, you can call it fear…fear of what the future holds.
I turned to the bible to investigate just what it had to say about fear. I was amazed to find an abundance of passages that spoke directly about it, but one in particular really caught my eye. Isaiah 41:10 states, “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.”
The first things that jumped out at me were two distinct “I am” promises. First, God says, “I AM with you!” Second, “I AM your God!” Wow, what a simple, but awesome realization! God promises to be with me and I don’t need to worry because he’s my God…he’s got it all under control! Hebrews 13:5 says that God will never leave me or forsake me!
There are three more promises that come next. First God promises STRENGTH in any situation. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH.” Remember, he is the God that can accomplish even the impossible…so we don’t have to fear! When I feel like I just don’t have the strength to go on, I can look to God to get me through.
Next, God also promises HELP. How is it, that sometimes I don’t think God is helping me? Sometimes my pride keeps me from even asking for help. Sometimes I ask for the wrong reasons or with selfish motives. James 4 verses 2 and 3 state, “You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Sometimes I ask with the right motives, for the right reasons, but I lack the faith. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does,” (James 1:5-8). The key here is to believe and not doubt!
The third promise from this one small verse tells me that God will HOLD ME UP with His righteous right hand, a hand of power and of salvation (Psalm 20:6). Psalm 89:13 tells of how God’s arm is endued with power…how his hand is strong, his right hand is exalted. Now those are the kind of hands that I want to be in!
God promises to strengthen us, help us, and hold us up all in one verse! God can bring us victory in every situation, if we only allow him to. We are reminded of this in Romans 8…nothing can separate us from the love of Christ…not our financial struggles, not our troubled marriages, not even cancer! So why do we continue to allow the fear of the past, the fear of the future, the fear of what others think of us, the fear of failure, the fear of our present circumstances, to keep us from experiencing God’s best for our lives?
I had a vision recently. I was actually in prayer for a friend of mine who needed a breakthrough. As I was praying, God showed me a picture of someone with arms full, holding on tightly with clenched fists. This person was in anguish, holding on with all her might…until finally she released her grasp. Dropping everything, she opened her hands toward heaven and was able to receive a precious gift. I believe this picture was meant for my friend, but I also believe it is a valuable lesson for you and me. As long as we are clenching our fears tightly in our grasp, we cannot experience the full potential of God in our lives. It is not until we let go, that with open hands we can receive the precious gift that awaits us. We need to start recognizing that God is greater than our need. His assurance is promised to us, but only through letting go of our fears with an obedient heart.
I like to picture Isaiah 41:10 as if God has me totally surrounded. He is over me (I am your God). He is beside me (I am with you). He is within me (I will strengthen you). He is all around me (I will help you). He is underneath me (I will uphold you). So if God is everywhere, then, whom (or what) shall I fear? 1 John 4:18 says that there is no fear in love, perfect love drives out fear. God is perfect love, therefore; He cannot co-exist with fear. It is time to stop defining my future in terms of my fears and start defining it in terms of my God.