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Power Over Fear
by Mark Nickles
3/25/2020 / Christian Living
Fear. It can keep us from acting in our best interests, or the interests of others. It can keep us from taking risks which lead to better understanding of ourselves, our friends and family, and most importantly, God. Fear can immobilize us. And, right now, we are vulnerable to this immobilization, due to the Covid-19 virus. And, while it is wise to take precautions to protect our health and the health of others, in Christ, there is no reason to live in fear.
In Isaiah 41, God encourages the Israelites, even as they are about to go into exile for rebelling against Him. He reminds them that His love for and dedication to them remains strong. Verse 10 reads, “…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.” The Hebrew word for fear means, in part, to be in dread. I believe many today are dreading the future, either because they assume a terrible end, or they don’t know what to expect. For the person without Christ, uncertainty can be as troubling as a known future. However, surrendering our lives to Him puts us in His care, and He knows how to care for and encourage us in difficulty.
To be dismayed is to be looking around in confusion, unsure of what to do or how to proceed in a given situation. When God tells us not to be dismayed, He is saying, “Just keep your eye on me. Listen to me. Trust me. I will guide you in the way you should go.” In this time of uncertainty, followers of Christ can still experience a life of clarity that is not ruled by fear. That’s a fantastic truth!
Another great verse for combatting a life controlled by fear is 2 Timothy 1:7. Here, the Apostle Paul is encouraging Timothy, a young pastor, and reminding him of his spiritual heritage in Christ. He says, “…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Translated, this verse tells us that God gives those who follow Christ miraculous ability, heart-felt affectionate love for others, and self-discipline. Ask yourself, how would society improve if more people demonstrated these qualities in everyday life, let alone the situation we’re in right now? Miraculous ability to weather the storms of life. A deep, sincere, sacrificial love for the members of the body of Christ, as well as our neighbors. In light of some of the hoarding that is going on in our nation right now, what a great testimony that would be! The self-discipline (or “sound mind”, as some translations say) to stay in the word and in prayer, as well as continuing to witness, during an unusual time. Just think: what kind of headway might the church make into society today, if we were to concentrate on realizing the truth of this passage, ESPECIALLY now? How many might see the hope offered by Christ, in a time when the world offers so little?
In Christ, we can face even the most difficult times with strength, encouragement and a knowledge that, at all times, God is in complete control, and working in the lives of His people. As a follower of Christ, take time to meditate on these verses, and ask God how He would like to use you to change a life, during these unprecedented times. Or, if you would like to have that kind of life, call on Jesus as your Savior and Lord, TODAY.
Mark Nickles is a husband, father of three, and a pastor in Northeastern Oklahoma. Copyright, Mark A. Nickles.
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