Do not fear

The terrorist killings in Paris this week highlight the power of fear.

“Civilian soft targets are the ultimate symbolic targets,” security expert Wesley Wark told CBC news over the weekend. “In the minds of ISIS and related jihadist groups, the objective is to sow sufficient fear and discord through terror attacks that countries will lose the will to fight back.”

That is Satan’s aim in the lives of believers, too.

He stirs up all kinds of fears in our minds in his effort to render us ineffective.  I speak from experience.

For example, there is fear of rejection if we share the good news of Jesus Christ.  Or, there is fear of what may happen if we point out wrongdoing at work.  Or, there is fear for the future of our children in a tough world.

Using Wark’s words, we can “lose the will to fight back” against these fears.

I know that my worries are often groundless.  As others have said, the fears are often worse than the reality.

We read about the power of fear in Numbers 13.  Moses sends out a team of spies to check out the land that God had promised to the children of Israel .

The spies return, saying that the land is fruitful, but the cities are fortified and the people powerful.  Caleb says the children of Israel can take the land.  But the majority of the spies spread discouraging stories because they expect defeat.

The children of Israel accept the majority report and the Lord is angry with them for doubting his promise that the land is theirs for the taking.

So, how should I as a believer react when I’m faced with anxieties?

David tells me how in Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you [God] are with me.”

In Psalm 27, he says: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

I am called to trust in God.  As with so many other things, I am to have faith that God is in control of things and that he will work things out for my good, no matter what problems may confront me.

Jesus’ great promise to believers in Matthew 28:20 was: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

That gives me confidence.

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