One of the scenes in the bible that I find so fascinating is when Jesus prays on the Mount of Olives before He is taken prisoner and crucified. The thing about this that is the most intriguing to me, is how we see Jesus’ humanness so clearly in this moment. Personally, this is one of the few moments where I feel like I can relate to Jesus. I have never had to face such a daunting test of my faith as the cross, but I can imagine what He might have been feeling. Like so many of you that are reading this, I have been in situations where I knew God’s will, but I simply wished it was not His will. I have faced those times where the right thing was certainly not the easy thing. There is always a sinking feeling that hits my stomach when I am faced with one of these situations, because I know that there is going to be some worldly pain associated with making the right decision. However, the real question is not whether or not I am willing to go through that pain, the real question lies in whether or not I have enough faith to believe the pain is worth it.
One such fear for me personally came very soon after I gave my life to Jesus. I felt the Holy Spirit lovingly trying to pull me away from some things that had become strongholds in my life. I had some sin issues that were holding me back, but at the same time had become part of my identity. People knew me as the person who was always partying, who was living for the moment, and who was chasing after the things of the world. I drank too much, cursed too much, and had a very vulgar sense of humor. I want to be very clear in pointing out that God was not condemning me for these things, or making me feel like I was going to hell if I did not stop doing them. God was simply showing me that as I overcame these things that I would find more peace, more of His presence, and more purpose in my life. At the same time, the enemy was instilling fear by telling me that if I gave these things up that I would be missing out on fun experiences, that people would think I was weird, and that some people closest to me might not want to be around me any more.
The question that some people might have asked in this situation is, “Will all those things really happen? If I choose to step out for God, will I really face some of those painful experiences?” However, the question that it really came down to for me was, “If I do, unfortunately, have to face those painful experiences, will it be worth it? If they all come to pass, and I experience that hurt, will God show up the way His word says He will?” By the grace of God, I was able to remove some of those sins from my life. Did I experience some pain? Yes. Did I miss out on some fun experiences? Yup. Have some people made comments about me being weird and different? You better believe they have. But the most important question is, did God come through? A simple yes does not even do justice as an answer to that question. Not only has God brought more peace, joy, and love than I can ever explain, but He has also provided new lifelong friendships that can withstand any trial and He has allowed me to have experiences that are far greater than those that I missed out on.
In that entire experience, there was never a point where I was not fearful of losing something. I was scared. You can ask anybody who watched me go through it, and they would tell you that I was completely distraught at times. In the end, I chose to believe that God was good, that He loved me, and that He had a plan and a purpose for my life that was greater than anything I had for myself. I want to encourage you today by reminding you that we are all faced with fear. My question to you today is, “Is your faith bigger than your fear?” In whatever situation you are facing right now, are you willing to take that small step of faith that says, “God, I believe in your promises more than that fear!”
For I am the Lord your Godwho takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you (Isaiah 41:13).
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).