Fear can be paralyzing. It can keep us from moving forward in life. It can keep us from finding freedom from past hurts, past sins. It can keep us from reaching all the things God dreams for us to accomplish, and ultimately it can keep us from living. Why? Because fears will often make us run and hide.
One author said, “Fear is the silent destroyer of dreams.”
Where this really comes out is if you are pessimistic in your life. Maybe you are always making situations out to be worse than they are, expecting something to not work like it should.
This is one reason I have always identified with the book of Joshua.
The name Joshua means, “God is my salvation.” So, in the name of the book, and my name, is this reminder of where salvation comes from. What is interesting is that God seems to say, “Joshua, fear not.” “Joshua, don’t be afraid.” Always followed by, “For I am with you, I am your God.” It seems to be on every other line of the book. Sometimes it feels like that line is on every other page of my life.
Throughout the book we see over and over how God is with Joshua, keeps His promises and ultimately is his God and his salvation. In chapter 12 it lists the names of the Kings Joshua defeated in battle.
31 kings defeated in battle.
I wonder if we often miss what God has done in our lives. The power He has shown when we don’t know where He is in a situation. I often think God brings us through hard times so they can stack up as a reminder, something to look back on to say, “Remember how God brought us through that before? I believe He can do it again because we didn’t know if He could before. We didn’t know where He was before.”
Then in Joshua 13 it lists what lies ahead for Joshua.
Once we are able to exhibit faith, show our belief in God and not be paralyzed by fear, we are able to move forward and get to work. As long as Joshua is paralyzed, he won’t move forward.
Here are some questions to consider:
- What are you afraid of?
- What do those fears reveal about you?
- What do those fears reveal about what you believe to be true about God?
- As you look at the answer to #3, does that line up with what the Bible tells us about God?
If we aren’t careful, we will allow fear to become the lens through which we look at life. I know I can very easily do it. I can start to make decisions out of fear, live my life and relate to others out of fear.
If you tell a Christian about fear, they will often point you to Joshua 1.
Because God tells Joshua to be strong, to be courageous, to not be afraid.
But why? How is Joshua supposed to do that?
Joshua is supposed to be strong and courageous because God says, I will never leave you or forsake you.
Stop right here.
Many of our fears can be traced back to this verse and our inability to believe it.
What is interesting to me is how Joshua is supposed to know that God will never leave him.
God tells him to look at what He has done in the past. We can see this not only in our lives as we look back to see God at work, how He has answered prayers, rescued us, done things we were unaware of, but also in the lives of others. God tells Joshua to look at the life of Moses, but He also tells him to meditate on His word.
Day and night.
This is more than a simple reading of a verse or devotional thought. This is taking a verse or phrase and thinking on it throughout the day, stewing on it as you turn it over and over in your heart and mind. Asking God to show you how to be strong and courageous (or whatever you are facing).
The antidote to fear is faith, faith through meditating on God’s word. Day and night.