The most frequent command in the Bible is to “Fear not.” Fear stems from trusting in ourselves, rather than God. When we operate in fear, at least three things happen: we become weak, we hate what we fear, and we fall apart. Whether inside the lines of athletic competition, in a heated argument, or a marketplace conflict, tight muscles slow us to a screeching halt as we under-perform from how we have been trained and how God designed us to be effective.
The Apostle Paul was well acquainted with fear. He experienced fierce governmental and religious backlash as he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. While imprisoned, Paul reflected on his persecution when he wrote his final letter to his disciple Timothy: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear paralyzes. Faith catalyzes. Faith in Christ leads to the indwelling of His Holy Spirit who transforms our weakness into power, our hate into love, and our brokenness into the Spirit’s restorative control. He truly makes us new again, ready to face any conflict or competition in our life, including advancing the cause of Christ in the hearts and lives of those we encounter, regardless of the resistance that surrounds us.
What conflict has paralyzed you in fear? It might be a match-point serve, a crucial free-throw, a speech, a counterpart in a legal battle, a difficult person, boldly sharing Christ with a friend, or even a suspension bridge. Move from fear to faith. When you are weak, hateful, and falling apart, become a catalyst to those around you, rallying them to move toward your common, worthy goal. Memorize the acronym FAITH: Forsaking All I Trust Him. As you deeply inhale and exhale, recite these words to yourself and take your next best step. All the while remember: Fear paralyzes. Faith catalyzes.