Perhaps at this point you cannot even fathom dealing with the peril ahead because you are consumed with your own personal trial. It may even be the fear of something that God is calling you to do. However, the Scriptures bear witness that the battles we face are common to all men. There is no temptation that is unique to you, including the temptation to give in to fear.
I remember when the Lord called me to leave my secure employment, my retirement plan, everything I had accumulated and worked for—all in order to pastor a group of 17 people who were meeting in a hotel. It was insane in the natural, yet I knew that God was leading me to do it. I clearly remember having to fight through the fears. What about my children? What about their education? Will I really be able to fulfill all that God has called me to be?
Even the apostle Paul expressed this common struggle when he said, “For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears” (2 Cor. 7:5). Paul was saying, “Listen, I had to fight fear. I came up against furious opposition with things seen and unseen. There were times when I could identify the opposition, yet there were other times when it just seemed as if hell with all its fury was fighting against me.”
When Paul said, “without were fightings and within were fears,” he was referring to those fears that are common to all men: Can I get through this? Do I have the strength to keep going? What if I fail? Although the temptation to be fearful was constantly knocking on the door of Paul’s heart, we see in the Scriptures that he refused to draw back from what God was calling him to do. Even when he was warned that there would be tribulation and afflictions awaiting him, he was able to assert, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
Yes, you may have a deep sense of foreboding today because of world events and society’s depravity. For those who are without God, indeed there is a legitimate reason to be fearful. But for those who know God, what the world sees as catastrophe, we will be able to embrace in some measure as an opportunity for God to give us His grace to endure. It will be a grace not just to walk through it, barely making it to the end, but rather grace to take full advantage of the tremendous opportunity for men and women to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So prepare yourself now. This is the time to get spiritually ready to face whatever is going to happen in the coming days. The world is quickly unraveling, and things will continue to degenerate. Every person in Christ will face opposition from within and from without. Yet, in the midst of it all, we must be able to hear the word of the Lord to His church: “Fear not.”
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