Monday, September 16, 2013
Victory Over Fear
By: B. Espinoza
Black Bart, who robbed 29 Wells Fargo stage coaches between 1875 and 1883, managed to strike fear in the hearts of his victims. Bart used his evil demeanor to ignite fear in anyone unfortunate to be on or around a Wells Fargo stagecoach during a robbery. Bart used fear to get his victims eyes on their circumstances. He knew distracting his victims from what was true was his only hope for a successful robbery and get away. The truth about Black Bart was in the 29 robberies history documents; he never once fired his gun or took a hostage. I wonder if the victims of his later robberies would have been as afraid, when robbed, if they had just set their mind on that truth. Like Black Bart, Satan uses fear as a tool to distract us from what is true.
Satan's understanding of who we are in Christ is evidenced by his repeated attempts to get us to submit to fear. When we are fully aware of the truth of who we are in Christ, we will not be afraid. The only thing Satan can do is to distract us from this truth. He does this by attempting to re-direct our focus, from our riches in Christ, onto our seemingly fearful circumstances. Satan knows he can't rob us of our riches in Christ, so he has no choice but to encourage us to lose sight of all we have and all we are in Christ.
Though we may lose sight of this, at times, God continues to prove Himself faithful in our lives. Remember when the Armenian army surrounded the Israelites camp? (2 Kings 6:15-17) A fear struck servant came to Elisha with the disheartening news. However, Elisha assured the servant. So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16 NKJV) Elisha prayed and instantly the servant's eyes were opened to see the hills, all around, covered with horses and chariots of fire. The truth was that God had provided the Israelites more than enough protection from the Armenians. Elisha's eyes were on what was true while the servant's gaze had been distracted by the surrounding enemy. I wonder if the servant would have seen God's army from the start had he not allowed the enemy to distract him from what was true.
Though, in Christ, I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), on occasion, I allow intimidating circumstances distract me from this truth, and I submit myself to fear. Just as the turbulent waves of the sea distracted Peter from Jesus' invitation to walk on water, causing Peter to be consumed by the waves, when I focus on the waves in my life overwhelming feelings of helplessness rob me of doing the impossible through Christ. Like Peter, when I fix my eyes on Jesus I am able to confidently rise above my fears and miraculously walk to Jesus, by faith, on what previously were my fears.
All throughout the Bible, God instructs people to not fear. Though we may feel sometimes this is easier said than done, it is no coincidence that when you add up all the instances in Scripture where it is instructs, "do not fear," "fear not," and "be not afraid" they total 365 occurrences--one occurrence for every day of the year. Perhaps this is God's way of telling us never will we face a day that we will ever have a valid reason to be afraid.
May our faith in Jesus shine so bright, extinguishing all ungodly fears, that those who don't know Jesus will marvel at our boldness and know, as the Sanhedrin did after witnessing the boldness of Peter and John, that we have been with Jesus. (Acts 4:5-13)