In today’s crazy world where it seems there is so much to be fearful of, have you ever wondered, what fear actually is? It’s an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain or harm. Note that the word there is threat, that means it is based on the possibility of danger, pain or harm. It’s built on the basis of us assuming certain things will happen, guessing how a situation will play out.
Fear is a big deal, and it’s something that we all experience at various times. It could be fear of a person, a place, a situation, an illness, a phobia, or even simply just failure! And even when you overcome one fear there will be others waiting for you to face at various stages of life. There’s a reason the bible says “Do not fear” 365 times – that’s once for every day of the year!! That kinda sucks that God has to tell us that often, but the good news is that you don’t have to be dominated by fear.
I love this story from an old Cherokee tale, about two wolves: “One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, there is a battle between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’ The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’ The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’
I love this story because it holds so much truth. We can feed our wolf of fear by assuming the worst, by losing hope that change will come, by allowing our current feelings to consume us. Or we can starve the wolf and focus on what victory looks like. I remember as a kid on family holidays in Cornwall, I would have such irrational fears of being eaten by a shark whilst we were snorkelling. I would convince myself that I was most definitely going to be eaten and my dad would have to spend ages coax me to come further out into the water. But it was all in my head, I was filling my mind with thoughts of the film Jaws rather than looking at the facts of how sharks were never spotted in that area, and even if they were I was never going to be deep enough to be anywhere near them! I was feeding a wolf. The wrong wolf.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 Jesus wants a relationship with us so that he can live within us. Do you know what that means? That you don’t have to face any fear alone. When I’m feeling scared that’s one of the times I really cling to my faith the most, because there are times when I know I can’t deal with this situation in my own strength, I just don’t have the solution in me! But God is love, he created love and he wants to show us love. And guess what? Love is greater than fear. Love is more powerful than fear. Love can break fear.
“His strength is made perfect in our weakness!” – 2 Corinthians 12:8 Do you know what He is telling you? “When you feel weak, I am already fighting for you!” So we can rest easy knowing that God is totally in control. And the wonderful thing about His love is that it doesn’t just take out the enemy, but it breaks chains, bears fruit and it is limitless. This stuff can’t run out on you. The more you need it, the more you just need to feed it. Fill yourself with the word of God, and find the faith to believe in his promises even when it seems hard.
“And the peace which transcends all understanding will guard your heart.” – Philippians 4:7 That’s the peace you can have even when it looks crazy to the outside world. It goes beyond understanding, it comes from faith, and God loves your faith!!