I cannot think of anything of significance that I have done in my life that did not have an element of fear. It I let fear control me I would have missed out on the greatest blessings of life. This past week I was reminded that followers of Jesus are called to be people of courage not fear!
One of the truths that have stood out to me as I have been studying King David’s life is that he was a man of courage. This past week as we looked at 2 Samuel 5 we unpacked the need to be a person of courage if we want to be used by God. You can listen to the full message here. 2 Samuel 5, a passage where David is finally made King over a consolidated nation of Israel, shows that he demonstrated courage. Yes, it was something that he had been expecting for a long time, possibly for as many of 15 year. Yet anytime God opens an opportunity to walk by faith it is always accompanied by an element of fear. The question is will we miss those opportunities because fear blocks our path?
The first think that I should mention is that there is good fear and there is, for lack of a better term, bad fear. The Bible calls us to “fear the Lord” which is good fear. We also know that fear heightens our senses when facing potentially dangerous situations, so it can protect us. This too can be good. But bad fear, what I am focusing on, is when we play these hypothetical situations over in our minds, that rarely if ever happen, and let them keep us from going forward in our lives.
Second, this bad fear does not come from God. The Apostle Paul reminds Timothy who was fearful of ministering to a large congregation with its challenges, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7) If this bad fear does not come from God, what is its source? I can think of three: our culture (the world), the Devil, and ourselves (the flesh).
Third, courage that overcomes fear, grows as we let God lead in our lives. David’s courage to be King over God’s people was the product of a lifetime of development. Let me share one instance, when he faced Goliath. When King Saul questions the teenage David why he thought he slay an elite soldier? David responded, “Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”” (1 Samuel 17:36–37) David had learned to have courage because God was on his side. There were probably other smaller instances that David faced that prepared him for facing lions and bears.
So what is the source of fear in your life right now? What is it that has you paralyzed from action? Let me leave with one last verse to think about. “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) I guess when you boil it all down, courage for the follower of Jesus is putting our trust in God and not in ourselves!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson