Is fear controlling your faith?

by Kyle
published March 17, 2013


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“You can do this. You have a harness, a rope and a helmet. We’re not going to let you fall.”

Often, that’s all it takes.

I used to be a facilitator for a team- and leadership-building Boy Scouts program called COPE, or Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience. It’s one of those weekend courses that involves exercises like the trust fall. Another part of the course involves a high-elements obstacle course. Imagine a 33-foot-high, 200-foot-long zip line preceded by a 27-foot high, 30-foot long log you have to cross to get to it.

The problem is that not everyone enjoys the elements. Some of them get stuck, paralyzed by fear. Most of the time, to put their fears at ease, it takes only a simple reminder of the facts: Despite appearances, we have every safety measure in place to prevent anyone from falling or getting hurt.

Each participant wears a harness, a helmet and gloves. For every participant going through the element, there are at least two people devoting 100 percent of their time and attention to that participant’s safety. While it certainly isn’t safe to do it alone, the participants have tremendous resources dedicated to keeping them safe. There is no reason to be afraid at all.

A reminder of that simple truth usually enables a participant to be effective and accomplish the task.

Sometimes, though, a participant will become so paralyzed with fear that they are incapable of even seeing the great lengths we’ve taken to ensure their safety. They are so consumed by the distance below them that they cannot see the rope above them.

Others never even get off the ground.

Is your faith like that?

In my own life, something may come up that absolutely terrifies me. The ground is so much more inviting than the challenge before me, and often, I have shied away in fear. I have become so blinded by the thing in front of me that I can’t see God at work around me.

God, I am sorry for the times when I’ve done that.

Sometimes I forget that I have survived everything that has happened in my life so far. And if I don’t survive, “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

If you have trusted in the work of Christ on the cross, you have all the safety you need. In John 10:28, Jesus says, “I give eternal life to (my followers) and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” The key words there are “eternal” and “no one.” Your life in Christ will not end, and no one, not even you, can change that if you have trusted Christ to restore your relationship with God.

If you are saved, you are safe in Christ.

Can I remind you of a few more verses?

In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says if we make serving God our first priority, there is nothing we need to worry about. Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who is against us?” Just a few verses later, Paul reminds us that nothing can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

The fact is, the point of COPE is not safety. It is about personal growth and, frankly, fun.

Maybe the point of life is the same. Maybe God wants to see you grow in faith and enjoy his grace. Maybe, just like in COPE, being paralyzed by fear ruins the whole thing.

Did you know the phrase “do not be afraid” occurs in the Bible 365 times? God is clear in his Word that you have no reason to fear anything in this world.

So are you stuck on a zipline? Are you paralyzed by fear? Does that job change, or that bill, or that ministry you feel God tugging you toward seem too big for you? Are you afraid?

Don’t be.

What do you think?

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