Sharon Brown, pastor and award winning author used to tell us never to act on fear. I think these are most wise words and I wish I would have taken them to heart and really ingrained them in my heart and mind into my life. She’s echoing what scripture says again and again, “Don’t be afraid,” said to be the most frequent command of all. We aptly can call them loving directives as from a father, but they’re also commands. That is how we’re to live even in this world as God’s holy and dearly loved people. Dearly loved by God of course. God’s perfect love meant to cast out all our fear (1 John 4). When we are afraid, we’re to put our trust in God who will dispel our fears (Psalm 56).
Our fears often cause us not to think straight, indeed to think irrationally. It is one thing to have some healthy tension or nervousness about certain things we have to do. It’s quite another thing to be struck sometimes to the point of paralysis or perhaps more often in a way in which we feel and out of that feeling think we have to do something. We’re far better off, in fact we’d best learn not to act on that feeling at all. The thoughts woven around it are most often not coherent or have a serious problem in one way or another. This is when we need to become rationalists and apply some cold hard reason. But more accurately we need to get at the underlying issue here: likely lack of trust in God. As we refuse to go there and commit ourselves to trusting him, true thoughts will eventually come into place and we can then be at rest.
It is a sure sign of the enemy’s working, by the way, when fear comes on us (see 1 Peter 5:8-9). That reminds us of the spiritual battle we are in as spelled out in Ephesians 6. We are to be strong not in our own strength, but in the power and might of the Lord. We’re to put on the whole armor of God and hold our ground. We need every part of what is made available to us in Christ, perhaps most notably in this context the shield of faith with which we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. But we need them all for this battle.
For us in Jesus it’s either fear or faith. Or more realistically faith when we are afraid. Which means prayer and refusing to yield to those fears. Perhaps getting someone else to pray for us as well as praying ourselves. As we learn more and more to trust in the God who loves us and is for us all the way, in and through Jesus.