Conquering Fear through Christ (Part 3 of 3)
Throughout this blog series, it has been my sincere intention and heartfelt desire to communicate the crippling power of fear towards believers. Within this third entry, I plan on providing practical recommendations on how believers can conquer fear in and through their reliance on Jesus Christ.
One of the most prominent themes found within the Bible is about placing our trust solely in God in order that we are then free to live fearlessly for His Glory. In order for us to surrender to God and trust Him more fully, as highlighted in part 2 of this series, we need to continually die to self through repentance by taking up our crosses daily and following Him. When you become a Christian, this is not an option as much as it is a command which is also why Jesus Himself commands those who are interested in following Him to first count the costs of discipleship as plainly seen in Luke 14:27–28:
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
The Christian Life is certainly not an easy one, nor has Jesus intended it to be, however it is the most eternally-rewarding life one can possibly ever live. To all those who have given their lives to Jesus, He promises to seal and gift them with His Holy Spirit.
Because God knows first-hand what it is like to live in a fallen world with all kinds of pain and sufferings, He has filled all His followers with His Holy Spirit(Jn 14:26) Who acts as our Sanctifier and Helper. In part 2 of this series, I described the importance of the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit as follows:
Since the Holy Spirit drives the whole engine of the Christian life, we need to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-controlled in order to walk in the fullness of God’s Plan.
Without God’s Holy Spirit, as Christians we are powerless and destined to fall. Therefore, it is essential we die to our fleshly-selves through repentance so that we can be filled with the precious gift of the Holy Spirit. It is then and only then that fear will have no choice but to depart from us because “…there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear(1 Jn 4:18)! In a supporting way, Galatians 5:22-24 teaches us about the fruit yielded by those who are filled with the Holy Spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
In a seemingly paradoxical solution, the only successful way by which we overcome fear is by throwing up the white flag of surrender to our fleshly desires and submitting ourselves to our Mighty God. He is the Only One Who has the power and the desire to fulfill our greatest need, that is victory over the dominion of sin, and even victory over death itself. Once we have become reconciled to God the Father through Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit will sanctify us inside and out. Fear will no longer have a place of authority in the life of the Christian, for just like the other fleshly impulses, fear too will gradually be put to death as readily as spiritual growth and maturity happens. Likewise, in 2 Timothy 1:6-7, we are instructed to do the following:
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Clearly, God does not intend for the Christian to live with a spirit of fear. In fact, according to this passage, living in fear is the complete opposite of the life which God purposes for His followers.
Inconvenient Truth of the Christian Walk
I am not going to be the one who falsely tells you that the Christian Walk is like a “bed of roses” where everything just seamlessly falls into place without any obstacles, sufferings, tribulations and the like. If I did, then I would be teaching a false gospel message and providing false hope. Whether you are a believer or a non-believer, the reality is that we live in a very fallen and corrupt world, so no matter what, the “storms” will always come. It should never be about what we can do to somehow eliminate these storms from emerging in the first place, but, rather, it is invariably about to whom or to what our hope is anchored in. Although the storms will inevitably come and try to destroy humans, to the Christian who has their foundations firmly rooted in Jesus Christ, they are unshakeable! Interestingly, the beautiful thing about these sufferings is that they are really molding us more and more into the image and likeness of Christ. Now, we have the supernatural ability to rejoice in all things, including all our present-day sufferings, because we know that what doesn’t kill us will make us more like Christ! Isn’t our sanctification the goal of our Christian faith, anyway? Ultimately, we are called to be like Christ as Christians and this can only happen if we walk like Jesus walked, which is along the narrow road marked with suffering.
While I would hate to end by sounding overly-pragmatic, here are a few recommendations, which I believe are helpful for walking fearlessly in Christ with the supernatural help of the Holy Spirit:
1.) Saturate Your Life in God’s Word- I cannot stress this enough. Hearing God’s Word being preached once a week on Sundays is not enough! There is a spiritual battle to be fought, and we need to keep the Sword of the Spirit(God’s Word) sharpened at all times. This can only happen by spiritually feeding yourself with the Words of God. Personally, I find mornings work best for me. Allocate a specific space of time to do this or else it will never happen!
“Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings (Isaiah 51:7).
In the book of Isaiah, as God addresses Zion, He reminds His people to listen to Him and to not fear the reproach of man. How can we listen to God if we don’t even hear what he is saying through His Divinely Inspired Word? Today, God’s Word is available to virtually everyone. Advances in modern technology makes it profoundly easy to access the Bible so there are no excuses. All we need to do is open the Bible and incline our spiritual-ears to hear what God has to say. Don’t forget that the majority of the battle we face occurs precisely in our minds. You may not know this but it is through the mind that the devil gradually makes progress in the hopes of gaining a foothold. Every impure “…desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin”(Jam 1:15), which always starts in the human mind! Those negative feelings and thoughts of doubt, inadequacy, insecurity, grief, hopelessness, self-pity, despair, guilt and, yes even fear itself, are not of the Spirit, but they are of the flesh which originate from the devil himself. The lesson is to saturate your mind (see Philippians 4:8) with the richness contained in the very Word of God and we will be equipped to gain victory over fear, as well as so many other fleshly strongholds.
2.) Get Connected with A Strong Christian Community-God created Christianity to be a relational faith in that we need one another. Please do not believe the lie that you don’t need others during your walk of faith. Take it from personal experience, you need to be plugged into Christian Community! You simply cannot thrive spiritually, let alone lead a fearless Christian life without the help of fellow believers in Christ. God has designed it this way for a reason. He wants those who are a part of His Holy Church to be there for one another and to work harmoniously as partakers of His redemptive story. The lesson here is that through building these relationships and co-labouring with brothers and sisters in the Lord, we are empowered to live fearlessly and boldly for Christ.
3.) Pray Unceasingly– Pray, pray, and when you’re unsure if you have prayed enough, pray some more! Prayer is key to living fearlessly for Jesus and it is what binds everything else together! Without a healthy prayer life, we will fail and gravitate towards our default fleshly state, which is away from God. Prayer is the supernatural means through Jesus by which the believer communes and fellowships with God directly. The power of prayer is unparalleled and it is the primary means by which God’s supernatural power is able to be unleashed in the life of the believer! God wants to work in your life and the lives of others around you radically but how can this happen if you don’t pray to Him? Prayer isn’t about getting what you want but rather it is through prayer that our hearts and wills are re-shaped to be in alignment with that of God’s so that His Perfect Will is accomplished. Plus, as we pray to God, we get to know Him and we develop a deeper relationship with Him. You cannot get to really know someone, unless you communicate with them, especially with the God of the Universe! Who wouldn’t want to talk with God face-to-face? This is what happens in prayer. The lesson is that as we pray, God will work mightily through His Spirit to enable His followers to walk fearlessly in the fullness of what He has already ordained.
I pray that this final entry as well as this entire blog series has been a blessing to all those who have read it! May you all be inspired to live fearlessly for Jesus as you deepen your understanding of Who He is.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Thank-you to all my readers who have been patiently waiting for this final blog entry!