Of late, one of my favorite Christian songs has been “Fear is a Liar” by Zach Williams. I like how this song tells it like it is. It’s a message that every one of us needs to hear because every one of us struggles with fear. Every one of us listens to the lies spun by our fears. Every one of us is missing out on something good (or on many good things) because we stay stuck in fear. Every one of our neighbors is also missing out on how we could bless one another if only we faced our fears!
Our fear problems stem from an even bigger fear problem. God has created us to fear, love, and trust in Him above all things, but at the root of our every sin is our failure to fear and love and trust God. Fearing God means respecting and revering God as our Creator and Lord. We fear Him because we are ordinary creatures and because He is Almighty. We fear Him because He is our rightful Judge. But we also love and trust God because, in Christ Jesus, He first loved us (1 John 4:19) and because His will for us is that, led by His Spirit, we would believe in His Son, the Savior He has sent for us (John 6:29).
When God’s creatures first failed to fear, love, and trust God, sin infected all of God’s creation, including you and me. One of the immediate impacts of sin is described in Genesis 3:10. Fear lies to Adam, telling him to run from God rather than running to Him. Our fears have been stoking similar lies in us ever since.
Each of us struggles with fear. From Genesis to Revelation, Scripture acknowledges our fears. But praise God – the end of fear is coming soon! As Jesus appears to John in the visions of Revelation, He says “Fear not, I Am the First and the Last and the Living One” (Revelation 1:17-18). He pictures the coming day when all the effects of sin and all of Satan’s lies will be no more:
“Behold, the dwelling placeof God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
Fear will pass away, because all the lies and hurts that spark our fears will be undone!
About twenty years ago, I got to choose my own confirmation verse. Teenage me gravitated immediately to Psalm 23:4. I suspect I picked these words because they sound so dark and dramatic! But I’m confident that God’s Spirit was also leading me toward these words. I even went with the old King James Version: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”
What teenager uses words like “Yea”? That’s why I believe God led me to Psalm 23! He’s used these words to lead me through some dark spots, and He will continue to do so, because His Word is accomplishing His will (Is. 55:11).
As we begin the Lenten and Easter season, we can count on the evil one doing what he does – distracting, deceiving, and discouraging us, and fanning the flames of our fears.
So … “Resist him, standing firm in the faith!” (1 Peter 5:9). You can bet he is prowling around at a time such as this. Christians are preparing for special worship services, more intentional devotions, and even for fasting. Satan is preparing too: preparing fears and worries and other tempting darts to fire at us.
So … “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might! Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Eph. 6:10-11).
Brothers and sisters in the Lord, though we fall into many dangers, toils, snares, and fears, the Lord’s strength is unabated! Paul makes the point several times in Ephesians 6 that you CAN stand against the schemes and fear-mongering of the devil!
How is the devil afflicting you this week? How is he distracting you? What fears is he stoking in your heart? To quote the old hymn, “Take it to the Lord in prayer” … “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.” (Eph. 6:18-19).
If we focus on anything in this Lenten season, let it be this: Pray at all times in the strength of the Holy Spirit. Pray through your fears and hurts. Face them in the strength of the Lord’s might! Reach out and stand shoulder to shoulder with your brothers and sisters in this Body of Christ! And “Give no opportunity to the devil” (Eph. 4:27).
Lord Jesus, You reign over all things, including my many fears. Help me to face and overcome them in the strength of Your might! Bless our observance of the Lenten season as we await the celebration of Your resurrection. Open our hearts and ears to listen to and trust Your promise, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19), and “I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4). Amen.