Fear can hobble us in life. Facing fears with God’s help can make us grow in ways we cannot imagine.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
I don’t know about you, but just reading that quote scares me, mainly because it involves stepping outside of my comfort zone on a regular basis. I like my comfort zone. It’s safe, it’s cushy, and it’s really comfortable! But former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was definitely onto something.
Some fear is good (say, the kind that makes you put on running shoes when you stumble across a mama bear and her cubs in the woods). But most of us don’t experience that kind of fear on a daily basis (and if you do, maybe you need a new job).
We can grow in this perfect (here meaning “mature” or “complete”) love for God that John talks about by trusting Him to see us through our fears. The Greek word translated “casts” means to throw or to send. It is an action—a choice we need to make!
Giving God our fears doesn’t mean we won’t still feel them, but it does show God that we are willing to work with Him to move past the things that limit us in this life. That way we can have more energy to devote to developing the character He wants each of us to have.
I don’t know about you, but I think I have a particularly thick skull when it comes to growing in spiritual wisdom, so I ask God to spell things out for me with neon flashing lights so that I can get it. I had one such “well, duh!” moment recently after hearing a statement someone made on a television program I was watching: Praying for faith doesn’t mean God will give you faith; it means He will give you opportunities to exercise your faith.
We know that faith is a gift God gives us through the Holy Spirit. But obviously, faith is only meaningful when we put it to use. And God also gives us plenty of opportunity to exercise our faith.
Every day is full of opportunities to face our fears. Doing so allows us to examine a situation or an action in the light of truth—and not with the distorted thinking generated by fear. Once we do that, we discover that there is something better at the other end: growth and an abundant life (John 10:10), not to mention a deeper relationship with God. Courage is needed to do the right thing even when you feel afraid.
Just doing one thing, every day that makes us afraid—while praying for God’s help—brings us that much further down on the path of peace, contentment and spiritual maturity.
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