There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].
1 John 4:18
Friend to Friend
Not all fear is bad. It is good to be afraid of sticking your hand in a fire, crossing a busy street with your eyes closed, or jumping off a cliff. That is good healthy fear.
Bad fear is fear of present circumstances and future events that may or may never happen. Being too afraid to step out and do what God has called you to do. Being so worried about the consequences that you throw trusting God out the window. That’s an unhealthy fear.
The Holy Spirit will warn you with a healthy sense of fear to protect you, but He will never stir up worry to stymie your faith. I’ve often heard it said that worry is a down payment on a problem you may never have. And it’s true! Rehearsing your troubles before they even happen causes you to experience them many times, whereas you were not meant to experience them but once—when or if they actually occur.
Most of the biggest challenges you will ever face will be the result of things you never even thought to worry about or even crossed your mind. They will blindside you on a Thursday afternoon at 2:00, when you never saw it coming. You will not even have known that you should have worried about the possibility! (Now, don’t let that get you worried.)
We waste valuable time and forfeit the thriving faith when we allow “what ifs” to hold us captive.
What if I’m embarrassed?
What if I’m rejected?
What if I fall flat on my face?
What if I fail?
What if one or all of these things do happen when I step forward in obedience? I’ll live. God will be right there with me.
Here’s the bigger question: What if I don’t step forward in obedience? What if I ignore God’s prompting? I might miss out on one of His greatest blessings of my life.
Do you believe God loves you? I’m thinking you just answered yes. Then why do you worry that He doesn’t have your best interest in mind? He will not allow or initiate any circumstance in your life that is not filtered through His sovereign love for you. You will make it! Life might not unfold as you imagined, but when you place your hand in His and trust in His love, you will survive and most likely thrive.
Paul had an incredible attitude about the “what ifs” in his life. He had the mind-set of bring it on. The Pharisees couldn’t stand him, but they found his attitude made it impossible to stop him. They threw him in prison and he said, “That’s OK. Give me some parchment and ink. I’ll write some letters to the churches. I’ll write to them about how to have joy in all circumstances.”
They chained him to a prison guard and he said, “That’s OK. I’ll tell him about Jesus. As a matter-of-fact, I’ll bring his whole family to Christ!”
They threatened to kill him and he said, “That’s OK. I’ll get to go to heaven and be with Jesus. What could be better?”
Paul faced his fears and booted them out the door with the love of God. What do you do to a guy like that?
Paul wrote: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!” (Philippians 1:21–22).
He wasn’t worried or concerned about his future. Paul was at peace with whatever happened on his faith journey because He trusted in the character and love of God. And with a faith like that, the natural consequence is to live bold. And that’s what we can do today!
Heavenly Father, I will not walk in fear today. I will kick fear out of the door…give it the boot. I know that You will guide me as I walk in obedience today. If my act of obedience appears to result in a failure, I know that it is not, because obeying you is the ultimate success regardless of the apparent outcome. Oh Lord, I breathe in peace and exhale worry.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Matthew 6:25-34. Consider memorizing verse 34.
So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own.
Think of 2 bad things that happened to you during the past year. Did you worry that they would happen before they happened? Or did they catch you by surprise.
Let’s take a poll. Click over to my Facebook page and leave a comment that says either: caught me by surprise or saw it coming.
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion came from my latest book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold. Just as a trapeze artist who grabs hold of a second bar, but refuses to let go of the first, we can get stuck in our faith when we refuse to let go of all that holds us back. It’s time to let go of all that holds us hostage to a “less than” life…and that includes worry about the future and regret about the past. We need to let go of worry and take hold of total trust in the goodness of God! Then we will truly move forward and live bold. Let’s take hold of all that Jesus has already taken hold of for us and placed in us! Check it out at www.takeholdthebook.com where you can download a free chapter and watch a video book trailer. The book also comes with a Bible study guide. Make sure and sign up for my weekly blog to learn when the free on-line Bible study will begin in the fall.