Life is scary at times.
We know this; GOD knows this.
Remember how many times Jesus told His disciples not to be afraid.
Continuing the train of thought that I introduced in the post entitled "In Pursuit of Safety," today I examine how we can overcome any fears we may have over where following Jesus may lead us.
Unfortunately, I don't have any magical solutions that instantly remove all difficulty. I can, however, say with certainty that we must trust in our Shepherd, that He will lead us through whatever danger He leads us into.
There are some Bible verses that scare me.
One of those is found in Revelation 21:8.
Here it is in its context:
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
(Rev. 21:6-8 NIV)
The word "cowardly" in verse 8 literally means "fearful."
I don't want to be cast into the lake of burning sulfur. I want to be victorious. I need help.
If we were left to complete the mission GOD has for our lives on our own ability alone we would most certainly fail.
In fact, adults have tried this path at some point in our life and the mess we got into is why we turned to GOD in the first place.
Thankfully, the child of GOD is not left alone, regardless of our circumstances.
Regarding the Holy Spirit, Jesus told the disciples:
7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. ... 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
(John 16:7, 12-15 NIV)
In Acts, we see how the Spirit is promised to those who obey the gospel.
32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
(Acts 5:32 NIV)
The early church prospered because of the Holy Spirit.
31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
(Acts 9:31 NIV)
Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome that being led by the Spirit and enduring the suffering of this life is what enables us to be Sons of GOD.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
(Rom. 8:12-17 NKJV)
Similarly, Paul wrote to Timothy, encouraging him regarding the power of the Spirit GOD has given us.
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.
(2 Tim. 1:6-8 NIV)
It's okay to be afraid, as long as we turn to GOD for help and seek Him as our deliverer.
David understood this very well:
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame. ...
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
(Psalm 34:4-5, 15-22 NIV)
So, as our Shepherd leads us through the dark valley of death, let us remember to:
- Know His heart.
- Trust His leadership.
- Call upon Him in our troubles.
- Suffer patiently while we await His deliverance.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
(Psalm 23:1-6 NIV)