By Pamela Rose Williams
Transforming Fear into Courage
Fear is one of the most powerful emotions that a human can have. People fear all kinds of things: death, authority, loneliness, other people, animals, commitment, height, failure, rejection, or insert your fear here. Apart from grief I cannot think of another thing that causes humans to do unimaginable things; things that even the people whom are full of fear thought they would never do. Fear is known to cause an honest person to become a liar. It is known to cause an otherwise strong and independent person to become dependent upon things like drugs and alcohol. Fear even caused the very first man and woman to hide from our Heavenly Father in the Garden (Genesis 3:10).
Not long ago I had a conversation with the wife of a police officer. This lady is also a sister in Christ. She has been this officer’s wife for decades and soon her husband will retire from the force. She shared with me how she deals with the fear that lurks at the door every time he walks out into the field where danger abounds. I asked her if she had to define fear, what would be her definition. She simply said, “Fear is paralyzing”. This is a profound statement from my sister. I asked how she gets beyond that and she said that she prays a lot but more importantly, she decided long ago that unless she wanted to be paralyzed, she was going to have to face the truth. The truth is, she said, that she knows the Lord will take care of her should He take her husband home, and that he could go home anytime and not necessarily from being killed in action. This lady is a lovely lady and she looks to God daily for the strength that comes only from Him (Philippians 4:13).
First things First
In the Bible we can find a whole lot about fear, what causes fear, and even the truth that fearfulness is not a spirit that comes from God:
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
From this verse in second Timothy we see that God gave believers what we need to overcome fear. He gave us power, love and a sound mind.
The opposite of fear is courage. To overcome fear we must replace our fearful thoughts with those things that get rid of that spirit of fear. Again, those things are power, love and a sound mind.
Let’s take a look at history to see how some folks were able to overcome fear and how they did it. Notice that none of these folks ever stood paralyzed in fear. Instead they put their faith into action and moved forward in spite of fear.
People Who Showed Fearlessness
DAVID – 1 Samuel 17:34–37 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 37 David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.
In this conversation between King Saul and David the shepherd boy, David is explaining to the king why he would be a good candidate to slay the giant Goliath, even though he was a young man (1 Samuel 17:33). As a shepherd David was totally responsible for his father’s herd of sheep. He LOVED those sheep and like all shepherds he was willing to put his own life in danger to save even one. In his MIND he knew that if he could slay a lion and a bear with his hands that he also had the POWER to slay the giant. He knew this because he had the POWER of God.
ESTHER – Esther 8:5-8 And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king’s provinces: 6 For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred? 7 Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews. 8 Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse.
Queen Esther was a young and beautiful Jewish woman whom the King of Persia LOVED (Esther 2:17). She hid her heritage yet she was obedient to the king and did everything according to custom and protocol. As Queen, when she heard that her people were in danger of extinction, she knew she had to use her POWER to save them. LOVE and POWER are the things that gave her the courage to reveal her heritage to the king and request his help in saving her people, even though she knew she could lose her own life in the process (Esther 4:14).
PAUL – Acts 21:10–13 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. 12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
In this Acts 21 account Luke is narrating a situation where Agabus the prophet is warning Paul not to go to Jerusalem because he will be captured by the Gentiles should he go. Many in this discourse literally begged Paul not to go. Yet Paul’s LOVE for the Lord Jesus and the POWER of the gospel message that he had to share quenched any fear that Paul had to carry on.
PETER and JOHN – Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
This passage in Acts chapter 4 is a great testament to the POWER of the Holy Ghost which was given to Peter (verses 7 &8). The rulers, and elders, and scribes were unhappy that Peter and John were preaching Jesus and Him resurrected from the dead because the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. At this event a man was healed as a sign to the unbelievers and the POWER of that miracle helped Peter and John preach Jesus without fear.
In the Bible we see a continual pattern of God telling people to “fear not” and He always follows that proclamation with the reason why. He comforted Hagar in the wilderness with “fear not” (Genesis 21:17). He promises Jacob and the men of Israel with “fear not” (Isaiah 41:14). God even sent an angel to proclaim “fear not” to Zacharias, Mary and the shepherds in the field (Luke 1:13, 30; 2:10).
How encouraging is it to see that our fear can be transformed into courage when we rely upon the promises of God who gives us the power, love and the sound mind to move forward instead of remaining paralyzed in fear.
[Note: This article was written by Pamela Rose Williams and first appeared in the Jan – March 2016 edition of “Happy Sis” Magazine. Reprinted with permission]
Resource – All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, King James Version. Image courtesy of fotographic1980 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net