“I will fear no evil, for you are with me”(Ps 23:4)
Fear, deception, and intimidation are weapons of the evil one, and if we don’t take action he can effectively use those weapons to derail us from God’s plan. Fear is very real and can manifest in a variety of forms. Fear of the dark, fear of heights, fear of water, caves, animals, disease, change, losing a loved one, losing a job, losing a position or respect, fear of the unknown, and so on…
What did our heavenly Father have to say about fear? Through Isaiah to Israel He said, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.”(Is 41:10 NLT) Through Christ we now also have this promise.
Even though Jesus tells us to not be afraid, still many Christians, including myself, often are. Honestly, I think in my case it’s usually a trust issue, which is also a relinquishing control issue.
On one occasion, Jesus’ disciples observed the miracle of Christ feeding well over 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Surely they must have thought at that point Jesus could do anything, but watch what unfolds. After the meal, Jesus instructed His team to get into a boat and row to the other side of the lake while He dismissed the crowd. They did as He said, but the weather turned rough and they were straining at the oars to get their boat to the other shore. Around three in the morning Jesus went walking by on the water, and according to Scripture, intended to pass them by, but when he saw their fear he came to their aid. “Have courage!” he said, “It is I don’t be afraid. (Mark 6:50)” He then completed the journey with them
Earlier they had witnessed the miraculous feeding of the huge crowd. What a faith builder that must have been to His disciples! I bet the topic of conversation among them as they began their trip was probably filled with emotionally charged comments about what they had just experienced.
Why would they be fearful in the storm after just witnessing such an extraordinary display of God’s ability to change the seemingly unchangeable? Maybe it was because they weren’t in any personal danger from the hungry crowd, but now they were in a different situation altogether, which required a different application of faith. Maybe it was because Jesus wasn’t with them in the boat? Why did Jesus send them into this situation?
Is it possible He sent them into the situation to strengthen their trust in God for future endeavors that would require even more faith and trust? Could He have wanted them to trust Him for deliverance from the storm with the same miraculous ability He had just displayed to them by providing food for well over 5,000 people just hours earlier? Was He attempting to show them He didn’t have to be physically present to provide and perform the miraculous to facilitate His will for those following Him?
I don’t know, but how often have we experienced God’s favor, protection, or provision in some way and yet yielded to concern or fear shortly after to a new change in circumstance? I know I have.
We get intimidated by things we can’t stop or control, and that’s why the evil one uses fear to throw us off balance, hoping to get us to forget that, as Christians, we are under the watchful care of the Maker of all that exists! Our Father in heaven tells us to seek Him with all our heart, devote ourselves to Him, and do not fear anything except Him.
In Psalm 56: 3, 4, David was writing referencing his emotions during the time Saul was attempting to kill him, “When I am afraid I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” David confesses fear, but then relies on God for deliverance of fear.
Satan’s goal is to kill, steal, and destroy; he hates God and hates us. The Bible says the Spirit of God that exists within the repentant believer in Christ Jesus is greater than the evil one who would try to harm us, and that is the truth we must embrace. We should not fear satan, but we should realize he is an experienced fighting foe and has been around a long time fine-tuning his craft of evil. We have the comfort of Scripture that tells us the battle belongs to the Lord, and the devil is no match for the power of God. That is why we must love and trust God alone, for without him we are hopeless prey.
Be on guard, but do not fear! With Jesus Christ as our Lord, Savior, Mediator, and Protector, we have nothing to be afraid of and are actually more than conquers according to God’s Word!
- My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.(John 17:15 NIV)
- The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 NIV)
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
(The “Living the Lord’s Prayer” blog series is based on Craig’s book, The Vigil, available at village2village.co. Proceeds will support mission work around the world.)