When I find myself in fear of anything, I am reminded of a Swedish adage which says: "Worry gives a small thing a big shadow."
Fear has a way of gripping our lives; therefore, paralyzing us from any movement. It was Edmund Burke who wrote, "No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear."
Every one of us has some phobia. Whether it is the fear of rejection, failure, commitment, or loneliness, we all struggle with some haunting fear. No one is exempt or immune to fear. The question is not whether you have fears, but how will you respond to the fears in your life? It is one of Satan's most powerful tools.
The reason that fear is so powerful is that it keeps you from trusting and depending on God. Many people refuse to trust God and will either not risk any movement in their life or find ways to make this life work for them.
It is interesting that the most quoted command in the Bible is "fear not." More times than any other command, God realizes what fear does. He gives you this command because he understands that you will face fear and that fear will cripple you if you don't trust in God.
A well-known example of this type of fear was an occasion where the disciples of Jesus were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Storms in this area approached fast and furious, and while the disciples were rowing their boat, a storm begins to rage against the boat. Matthew tells us that in the "fourth watch of the night" (3 to 6 a.m.) Jesus came to them while walking on the water (Matthew 14:25). The disciples thought that Jesus was a ghost, but Jesus speaks to them saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid" (Matthew 14:27).
It is interesting to me that the thing that frightened the disciples the most was the thing that Jesus was walking on. You have nothing to fear in the presence of Christ.
The greatest reason that you have nothing to fear is because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. You are not alone.
The term Holy Spirit is the word "comforter." It is a legal term which refers to a lawyer or legal assistant who "comes alongside of you in your need of help." When you trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit immediately comes and dwells within you. You know what that means? You have the very presence of God with you at all times. He will never be caught by surprise by the events in your life. He is never caught off guard. He knows every situation that you are facing. He is with you all the time.
Unless you have a clear understanding of who the Holy Spirit is, you will misunderstand his role in your life. The person of the Holy Spirit is introduced in the first few verses of the book of Acts because Luke wants you to understand the connection between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Both work in concert together.
"Until the day when he (Christ) was taken up to heaven, after he had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom he had chosen" (Acts 1:2). Jesus tells his disciples that the Spirit will now play a key role in their lives.
Luke is telling us that there is a close connection between the ministry of Jesus and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. What Jesus began to do and teach in his physical ministry he will continue to do through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
God has called you to worship him, serve him, and tell others about him. He has not left this task to you to accomplish all alone. No! He has given you his very presence to help and aid you. When you are sharing the gospel with someone and you feel that you will not have the power or words to explain the message about Christ, the Spirit is right there with you and he will guide your every thought and word. All you have to do is pray and ask him.
Donald Kirby is the pastor at North Hills Baptist Church in Marietta. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Janet Gossett at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if a Thoughts of Faith column is written at the writer's convenience and sent to The Times, it will run the first available date.