Over twenty years ago after sharing a struggle with a friend, he asked a penetrating question,
“Doug, what are you afraid of?”
His question stirred me to think about what I was thinking about. It still does.
Fear controls too many of us. Fear jacks joy, loots love, pilfers peace. Fear fuels destructive anger. We get sick of fear because fear makes us sick.
Irrational fears become phobias usually starting in childhood or adolescence and carrying into adulthood. Whether spiders or snakes, looking down or flying high, being alone or in a crowd, common phobias dog (another top phobia) nearly 20 million Americans, twice as many women as men.
What are you afraid of?
What does it look like to live without fear?
Jesus was never afraid. If Jesus did not master fear, the King of Kings has chinks in His armor and little to offer citizens of His Kingdom.
5 Fears Jesus Never Feared
~ Reputation – Jesus did not fear what people thought about Him because He mastered humility. He was not in charge, He obeyed His Father. Criticism, judgments or opinions never phased Jesus.
~ Loneliness – Jesus did not fear being alone because He mastered solitude. His close relationship with the Father eliminated debilitating loneliness and demanding crowds.
~ Failure – Jesus did not fear failure because He mastered surrender. He knew the Father would accomplish His agenda.
~ Tomorrow – Jesus did not fear tomorrow because He mastered living in Shalom. Jesus spoke from a peace within to a world without.
~ Death – Jesus did not fear death because He mastered trust in His Father’s love. Even though He predicted His brutal death, He didn’t fear death, He faced and conquered death.
How does the fearless leader Jesus mentor followers from fear to faith?
Hear Jesus saying to you, “My friend, what are you afraid of?” In your conversational friendship with Jesus, His Father and Spirit plus you makes a party of four. Together you can peel the onion so each answer draws closer to the real reason behind your fear.
Is it my reputation? Am I lonely? Will I fail (likely connected to reputation)? What if I can’t control tomorrow’s outcomes? Will this kill me (highly unlikely with nearly all fears)? Is death the end of me?
The great Surgeon will identify, dissect and transplant bankrupt fear with faith in the treasure of His Father’s goodness. In these powerful moments He calls us to “repent”, i.e., think about what we think about. Our practice of timely solitude and thoughtful silence with Jesus is the best prescription for excising fear.
Salt your self talk with plenty of grace and space. Confronting fear is a courageous safari across an emotional Serengeti. Consider inviting on your expedition someone who knows and loves Jesus and you. Maybe you’ll be the friend to walk alongside another friend.
On the verge of Peter’s worst failure, Jesus spoke to Peter the same life giving statement He offers us today:
“I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen others.”
by Doug Webster
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Jesus College – Mentoring Apprentices to Master Love
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