Fear and presence

When you are in real and immediate danger, fear is inevitable. Not only is fear a real part of our experience, but we can also easily be controlled by fear. But as a child of God, we are to be in control, not fear. 

As the Israelites were about to enter their promised land, they were filled with fear. This entire generation grew up in the wilderness and never learned war. Everything was new and fear of the unknown can have a paralyzing effect. 

Joshua was appointed as the leader, but he also was in the same predicament as the rest of the people. He was not trained for war and was in no way capable of leading in the situation. 

Yet he was instructed to “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

In this instruction, I see a threefold pattern. There is a view of yourself, others, and God. We often look at ourselves and others but fail to look at God. But even the way we look at God is certainly skewed. 

First, we’re to see ourselves apart from how we feel. Take the stance of someone who overcomes. Even before entering the conflict, learn to be strong and courageous. 

Second, learn to take a predetermined stance of fearlessness. Dread and fear often arise in the midst of conflict. Yet even before the situation, set your mind on fearlessness. It’s more of a mental state rather than a physical reality. 

Third, accept God’s promise of presence as a reality. That promise was evident in the garden of Edan when Adam and Eve sinned. Later, it was repeated by Jesus to his disciples as he gave them the great commission. 

These three steps will keep us from being controlled by our emotions. Emotions are real, but they don’t need to control us. Situations can be dangerous, but they don’t need to have the upper hand. Stay in control because God is with you. 

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