Fashioned by God: Living Without Fear
“22 Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, ‘That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. 23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? 27 Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 29 And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. 32 So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.’” (Luke 12:22-34 NLT)
Life can get real—and get real, quick—when we see a debilitating pattern in our children. It is heartbreaking to witness, and we long to do something, anything, to break the cycle. I’ll never forget the sound of horrifying fear in my 6 year-old’s voice and the look of sheer terror in his eyes when he first realized that he was going to be locked in place while experiencing a long-awaited amusement park ride. Up until that point, it never occurred to him that he was unable to leave the seat for that short two minutes. It never occurred to him, that is, until the announcer said, “Sit back and relax while we lock you into your seat for safety, and please, enjoy the ride!” I am sure his screams could be heard by the strangers walking by on the park grounds outside, because no one even heard the audio track that was part of the fun of that particular indoor ride. The fear that had so gripped his little heart and mind, because of the announcer’s promise to lock him in, caused his tiny little 6 year-old voice to present higher on the decibel level meter than the auditorium’s special effects soundstripe that is supposed to induce shock and awe to all its listeners. But there was nothing to be done for the next two minutes. The ride’s launch sequence had already begun, so we were all forced to hear his panicked screaming for the duration of the ride. And truth be told, even when the constant outcries ended, the fear in his little heart continued. He dealt with other fears as well: fear of loud noises (smoke alarms and classroom fire drills would send him fleeing into the street at a moment’s notice), fear of open flames (he refused to be in a room with a birthday cake, even his own, if it had lit candles on top) and more.
Fear can seem powerful. It is a force to be reckoned with. In our humanity, fear may not seem to be easy to overcome, but it is possible. You may need to say that last phrase to yourself a few times, and then again in a few hours, and then again tomorrow and next week and (well, you get the picture). It is possible. To become confident in this fact, you may need a bottom line truth to hold on to. Knowing and declaring that your God is bigger than the most demonic fear that has ever walked the planet is a good place to start.
You have to make a choice to leave fear behind. It is part of your past, and you must make a choice to leave it there. You can learn from the past, you can share your past glory story that has been redeemed, but you no longer need to dwell in the past. Don’t live there. Reflect on this question for a moment: How do you know that you are no longer a slave to your past? What would that look like, sound like, feel like, act like, be like, etc.?
God’s Word says, “So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6 NLT) I love the fact that this scripture in the New Testament, is a quote from the Old Testament scripture found in Psalm 118:6. It was relevant 6,000 years ago, it was relevant 2,000 years ago and it is relevant today. Notice the word confidence. You can confidently declare your decision to say no to fear, because of the complete work of the cross.
Before we continue, let’s answer one important question: What is fear anyway? In my experience, it is the dreaded feeling that comes with the fact that we are walking into the unknown. But here’s the caveat: the thing about the unknown, is that it has not yet happened. So basically, fear is a human emotion that you feel about something that has not happened. That’s why it’s such a diabolical tactic of the enemy. Through fear, he is able to coerce humans into submission to his will, through feelings about something that has not taken place, and honestly, may never happen in your lifetime. So based on that description of fear, think about this next question for a minute. How does it make you feel to know that fear is simply a feeling regarding a nonexistent happening, or as I like to describe it: an un-happening (yes, I know that’s not a word, but I’m hoping you’ll give a girl a little grace here because it makes my point way better than unlikely happening)? What does that do to your understanding of faith?
To combat fear, you are going to have to fight. You have already established the understanding that you can’t just sit down in the midst of your pain of the past, decide to live there and subsequently fear the future. You have got to get up and take steps forward in faith, no matter how small they may seem to you or others. Taking steps forward is advancing in the right direction. It is walking out the journey toward your divine destination. So get up and start fighting. How is that possible? Let’s revisit our key verse where Jesus is telling the disciples how to literally transform their mind so that they will be effective in combating worry and fear. What better battle plan to draw up, than the very words of Jesus Christ?
- Don’t worry about daily life issues (food, possessions) because there’s more to life than eating, and you are certainly more than your outfit or your car.
- Have you noticed how many birds thrive because God feeds them every day? You are abundantly more valuable to Him than all the birds on the planet.
- Can you add an extra second to your life by worrying? (Rhetorical question that is always answered by a resounding, “No!”) So if all the worrying you could do in your entire life is not able to do something as small as just add one tiny second to your life, of what use would it be to worry about big things?
- If the feeding of the birds isn’t enough, look at the millions of flowers that are alive on earth each and every day. They don’t have clothes or get dressed, but they are flat-out gorgeous!
- So if God so beautifully adorns the flowers every day, that may or may not last until tomorrow, He is most definitely going to take care of you. Why is your faith so small?
- And don’t worry about your next meal, because that’s what unbelievers do. They don’t know much about the character of God, but we as believers know that our loving Father already knows what we need, even before we do.
- Search for the Kingdom of God more than anything else, and He will take care of every single need that you have.
- So you should not give in to fear because your Father loves to give you the Kingdom.
- Give everything you can to those who have needs and this will ensure that you will accrue treasures in heaven. And heaven’s pocketbook never expires or contains leaky crevices. Your piled up treasures are safe because there is absolutely no stealing or destruction there.
- Remember that where you find your treasure, that’s where you will also find your heart’s desire.
Wow. Just wow. The words of Jesus put everything into perspective, don’t they?
- Refuse to worry
- Rest in the love and character of your loving, heavenly Father
- Give to those in need around you
- Confidently expect an abundant reward on that glorious day when you finally arrive in heaven
My son has learned to overcome his childhood fears. He loves any and all amusement park rides, and has no qualms with seatbelts whatsoever. He is a drummer, so not only is he not rattled by loud noises, he intentionally creates raucous sounds on his own. And he is not only able to be present in a room with an open flame, he lights candles and firewood with his own two hands. He has definitely overcome past fear. But it is an ongoing process. He still deals with relationship anxiety from time to time. He sometimes second-guesses his choices and feels insecure about making adult decisions. But he keeps fighting. He keeps telling himself the truth. He keeps going back to the fact that he was created by a kind Father who loves him and wants the best for him. He is confident that God loves to give him good gifts, and is excited to bless him with the rewards of the Kingdom.
Take a minute to pray with me for wisdom right now in this moment.
Thank you, heavenly Father, that You have given me the tools to combat fear and worry, right inside Your Word. As I meditate on these truths, continue to transform my mind and soften my heart. Give me senses that see, hear, smell, taste and feel this life the way You do. Teach me to always seek Your Kingdom above all else. Remind me to reach out in love to others as I meet the needs around me that I am able. Use me for Your glory, as I choose to rest in the fact that You are taking care of my daily needs. In the loving name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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