Fear is a distressing emotion that is triggered off by our feelings, thought or imagination of impending danger, disaster, terrorizing evil entity, health crisis, shame or failure. Generally, fear is always expressed in the intense anxiety, worry or thought because the individual strongly assumed of not being able to victoriously control or conquer the reality of the future occurrence. That is why the people formed an acronym for the word FEAR—False Evidence Appearing Real. True to this acronym, fear is a false evidence at the moment of the expression because it had not occurred at all. Different people express their fears in a different form of emotional reactions. Some are so fearful that they think the way to confront their fear is to succumb to its overwhelming emotion. As a result, they decide to kill themselves before the actual manifestation of the occurrence. Some suffer panic disorder when they lost control of their minds and action in the process of expressing their fear.
When you’re fearing a situation or facing emotional challenges, have you really envision what God saying to you? First of all, the Creator of Heaven and Earth is on your side. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you go through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:1-3) The phrase “fear not” is used at least 80 times in the Bible, most likely because our Heavenly Father knows the enemy uses fear to torture and decrease our faith and thereby limit our victories. No matter who leaves you during your difficult times, rest assured that His promise and His compassion are steadfast and will never depart from you. When friends, family members or co-workers disappoint you, he’ll never turn you down. “The LORD Himself goes before you; He will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
This is what God said to Joshua, a man full of fear of his inabilities, who, at one point in time, he was called and commissioned to lead the people of God to the to the Promised Land.
Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:6-9)
We may begin to wonder why God specifically address this problem like this. Obviously, the All-knowing God knew that Joshua was afraid to lead the people of God because of his various categories of his inabilities and lack of confidence. ‘Be strong and of good courage’ is the key word in the above passage. People that need to be courageous are the fearful people or people that does not possess power and courage of their own to confront their fears. The passage is also pointing to us that there is good courage and there is bad courage. Even if the fearful person has courage at all, the courage may be a bad one.
Bad courage includes not exploring the resources and strength that God had given us. Growing up as a student, one of the common saying of my lecturers in the college in his attempt to encourage us to work hard was, “a decision not to make a decision is also a decision.” Therefore, bad courage is doing nothing by not exercising the power and the grace of God that we have. Remember the parable of a man that was given one talent and he bury the talent instead of attempting to put it to use. He received condemnation.
Bad courage includes relying on wisdom and power of self to confront your fear. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Perhaps you are wondering about the relevance of this passage. In the ministry of Joshua, the Jericho wall stood between the purposes of the inheritance of the people of God. Jericho was a very fortified city. The wall of the city was very thick and strong, at the same time, was very high. The city wall of the city was the confidence of the great army of the city of Jericho. They believed that no external army can break through the strong barrier. In addition, there were sharp shooters with their bow and arrow on top of the wall. Joshua did not depend on his wisdom to attack the well-fortified city of Jericho. He listened and relied on the battle logistic of Almighty God that commanded him to circle around the city once each day for six days and the seven times on the seventh days. At the seventh time they should let out a loud shout and the wall of Jericho will fall flat. Joshua did not consider the battle plan as nonsense, he implemented the logistic battle plans of God and he had his sweet victory.
A good courage is reading and meditating upon the revelation of the word of God and seeking to consistently dwell in the knowledge of God. This was the recommendation of Almighty God to Joshua. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein.” (Joshua 1:8) This was also the declaration of David in the Psalm. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or set foot on the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding its fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither, and who prospers in all he does.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
Bad courage is not tapping into the God promises of wisdom. God is the foundation of all wisdom and He is the giver of wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5) If you or the group of people that you are leading possess wisdom on how to approach a difficult task, you will not lose anything by putting it into consideration, especially when the wisdom is subjected to the divine guidance of God and it is applied in the light of the word of God.
Bad courage is not applying fervent prayerful strategy to fortify and empower the weapons of our warfare against our fear. We are told in the scripture that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds,” (2 Corinthians 10:4) especially when we fortified this weapon with prayer. “He shall call upon me [in prayer], and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.” (Psalm 91:15) When we pray unto God, we are customizing and shaping our divine help from above according to our own brand of desired victory over our fears so that brilliant decoration of praises unto God may be unfolded in our testimonies upon the manifestations of our victory. If you are strong in the Lord and apply good courage against your fear according to the revelation of the word of God and as had been enumerated in the discussion above you will be victorious in the day of your fear in Jesus name, Amen.
Prayer: O Lord God of my Strength, I look up unto you in the day of my fearful battle. Endow me with the spiritual confidence that is empowered by your divine strength and good courage. Take away the spirit of fear from me and replace it with spirit of love and boldness in your truth, which will ascertain my victory in the fearful situations of my life, in Jesus name, Amen.