Fear; January 22, 2018

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Probably every person alive needs to hear God say this to them at some point. Fear is certainly endemic to the human condition. However, too often we are in such a self-centered tizzy that we can’t hear God. Actually, if we’re relying on ourselves, we have every reason to be afraid! This particular verse is memorably set to music as one line of the hymn, How Firm a Foundation. Just yesterday in the message I was saying that many hymns don’t qualify as praise because they aren’t addressed to God, but they can be very good nonetheless as encouragements and statements of faith. That hymn certainly qualifies as excellent encouragement! A major factor in the fears we all experience is a well-deserved sense of guilt. When we have unrepented sin in our lives, fear is a very logical response! However, we have God’s promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) That is the basis for the boldness I also mentioned in yesterday’s message. (Hebrews 4:16) The world is a very fearsome place, with natural disasters and political turmoil and man’s inhumanity to man. The only way to escape fear of everything else is to fear our Creator, knowing that His power and authority trump everything else, and believing that He loves us enough to send His Son to die in our place. (John 3:16)

The longer I live in fellowship with God, the less fear I have. I do at times have twinges of concern and even anxiety, but lifting my eyes to God is the antidote every time. At this point in my life, my biggest concerns are related to the spiritual health of this church and the physical health of my wife. However, there too I need to remember that those things belong to God rather than to me, and He is more than capable of taking care of them. I am to be submitted and available to Him to use in the process, but He will do all the “heavy lifting,” since I have no real strength of my own. There are those who look at me and call me foolhardy, but they can’t deny I have more peace than they do! I am never to be holier-than-thou, but I am to make it clear that my assurance is in God, who not only created me but who also loves and uses me for His glory.

Father, at times I am very sharply aware that I am nothing without you. Thank You. Help me also remember that with you, I am anything You say I am, so that I will not draw back from anything Your want to do through me, to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) and bring people into Your kingdom, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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