It is God's will for us to walk in love and not in fear. However, the enemy uses fear to cripple us and limit our potential to grow in the Lord. Here are three common fears many of us face - and what God has to say about them!
1. The fear of rejection.
It feels good to be accepted.
Before I gave my life to Christ, I was in a relationship. He was a nice guy. Then I found out he was married- separated, but married. We broke up. He said he missed me. We got back together.
(I know what you're thinking.)
The devil took me a lot further than I wanted to go, and kept me a lot longer than I intended to stay. I was in his territory and he made it known. For months, years even, after the relationship ended, I was tormented. In my mind I believed the kingdom of darkness was far more powerful than the Kingdom of Heaven.
In 2012, I gave my life to Christ and I joined the best campus ministry under the sun, Bethel Campus Fellowship. One night - though trembling, crying and completely in bondage - I gave my testimony for the first time. My new brothers and sisters in Christ held onto every word and, to my surprise, looked almost as relieved as I felt, to admit my shameful past. Greeted with hugs, smiles and praises of the Most High- I felt chains fall. Weight floated away. I was free.
Fast forward a couple years. I meet another group of Christians. Eager to share my testimony, I tell the same story. But this time it was different.
It wasn’t received very well at all. I was encouraged to...not share it anymore. I went from being “pure” to being filthy. I mean- who likes an adulteress, right?
My heart was broken. I couldn’t believe it. What about the cross? Am I not a new creation? Are you even a Christian, bro?!
I was rejected.
Rejection hurts. Acceptance feels good. And God gave His only Son, so that we would be accepted. Far too often, however, we become enslaved to fear- the fear that we won’t be accepted. Or that we won’t ever truly belong to a community of people who understand us, people who legitimately love the person God called us to be. It is not uncommon to experience the fear of not being accepted.
As Christians we do not have to be afraid of rejection, because we have a Father in the Lord. A Father who took us in and adopted us when the world left us as mere orphans.
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” - Romans 8:15
2. The fear of being alone.
Admit it- the best thing about an inside joke is the “inside” part. The situation may not even be all that funny, but the fact that you and someone else thought of the same exact thing, at the same exact time, is absolutely hilarious.
Sometimes doing things alone, just isn't quite the same. The fear of loneliness comes in all shapes and sizes. Fear that you’ll never get married or that your current spouse will never understand and appreciate you. The fear that you are too weak and tired to carry on by yourself.
Or the fear that you are alone in your suffering, totally isolated from everyone else.
The more you realize just how huge of a role God desires to play in your life, the less power, the fear of being alone, has over your life. God literally designed our lives in a way that forces our existence to depend on His. Not only does He long to be Lord over every area of our lives, but he sent His Holy Spirit to guide us each step along the way.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9
3. The fear of persecution.
Have you ever made someone mad just by being a Christian?
I remember the Lord told me to work a part-time job while I was in school. He specifically wanted me to be a light at my workplace and to reveal His love to a few co-workers. Ya know, an inside job.
It didn’t take long for me to realize who He had his eyes on. I began testifying of the Lord’s goodness and every day was a challenge. One particularly painful day, God allowed me to overhear two co-workers admitting what they wanted to do to me. It was so violent I couldn’t believe it. Why did God have me here? I was so uncomfortable!
I dreaded work, but the Lord met me in my secret place and I knew He could meet me in a restaurant too. The Holy Spirit led me to fast and pray for a co-worker who was in over her head with alcoholism and promiscuity. I was hungry and I didn’t want to miss meals for her, but by God’s grace, I did.
One day after the fast, I was at work serving tables as usual. I was entering an order when I heard my name, so I looked up from the screen- and that same co-worker was holding an open bible between her hands, and with tears in her eyes, she asked- “Where do I find salvation?”
God didn’t promise we wouldn’t be persecuted for doing exactly what He called us to do. It seems strange, really, when you think about it. The God of peace leads us to do things that hurt. But He knows better than me - and as sweet as they may be - nothing ever grows in comfort zones.
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” - 1 peter 3:14
Fear looks different to everyone. But it always creeps into our hearts in a way that intentionally plays on our individual insecurities and experiences. I encourage you to seek the Lord and rebuke the scary thoughts that enter into your mind daily.
I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.