Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God He it is that doth go with thee: He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Deuteronomy 31:6
Moses regretfully spoke of God’s refusal to permit him to enter the Promised Land. Yet he encouraged the people that God Himself would still protect them and fight for them. Instead of Moses, Joshua would lead the people into battle. Moses reminded the people that God had promised to remain with them, to protect them, and to fight for them. Moses was denied to enter into the promised land because he had allowed the people to make him angry enough to disobey God’s instructions. Joshua was going to be the new leader, but although Moses would no longer be their leader, he was reminding them of the God they serve and who it would be to lead them as well as protect them from the enemy.
Many times as we try to go forward spiritually or pertain to the goals we have in life, we have an adversary that will try to influence us with fear, and doubt to keep us from reaching to go forward with our walk with the Lord as well as our personal goals. As we progress on our spiritual journeys, we discover that God has a life purpose for each of us. We also come to know that this purpose is unique and extraordinary in scope. Often we can’t begin to imagine how we can muster the courage to tackle a God-size life purpose, but the good news is that we don’t have to muster anything. Courage, is a gift from God, to receive it, we need only show up and rely on God’s complete faithfulness.
In the book of Matthew, the writer describes the step of taking courage as a directive from Jesus, that means Jesus commands us to be fearless. This is not to say that God can never use us to accomplish His purpose if we’re afraid. It also doesn’t mean if we take this step of courage all our fears will vanish. Taking courage is a determined act of our will that helps us release our fears and enables us to move forward. Taking courage begins with our understanding that the Lord God has called each of us by name and promises to be with us. Jesus illustrated His love and protection towards His disciples as they were at sea one stormy night, the disciples were on a boat that was being tossed about by violent waves. Jesus appeared to them on the water, and the already frightened disciples became terrified that He was a ghost.
Jesus responded by saying “Take courage, don’t be afraid” (But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid -Matthew 14:27). It’s comforting to know that Jesus is the one who encourages us as He did with Peter the night of the storm. He calls us to step out of the boat and walk on the water towards Him, knowing He will reach out His hand to catch us when we start to sink under the fearful pressures of life. Jesus is the reason we can be fearless. Whether our fears vanish or whether we press on towards our goal even though we are afraid, we will receive courage as we obey God and experience His faithfulness. We can be immobilized when wrapped in layers of fear that causes worry. Sometimes we have fear of flying, abandonment, public speaking, heights, rejection, loneliness and so forth have prevented us from being all God designed us to be.
Fear blocks creativity, productivity, and relationships. When we face our fears by grasping onto God’s courage, we regain our capacity for experiencing things as we live out our life purpose. As we obediently take courage, our view of God’s faithfulness and power will increase. God wants to calm our fears so that our relationship with Him will be more trusting and intimate. The more we trust Him, the more we will live with the assurance that He is in control. As our relationship with Him deepens, we will become more and more willing to be entrusted with bold and difficult opportunities to serve Him. Fear of failure is viewed as some sort of deadly virus, life-threatening, devastating to the point its too sad to discuss. We will fail, but God graciously will offer to forgive us for our shortcomings. We should place our failures in perspective and keep walking forward in spite of them. Since God forgives us, why not take courage and forgive ourselves for our mistakes, past, present, and future? No matter what our fears, the only way we can create a place secure from fear is to do nothing and go nowhere.
To walk out of fear, we have to choose to break out of the self-defeating box that limits us and our perception of God. God is always with us, His love is unconditional, He’s with us to give us directions and instructions. He has given us wisdom and knowledge for both the natural and spiritual things in life, so if we fail, all we have to do is start over again, and ask God for His instructions.