Fear will either mobilize or immobilize you. After being commended for his military courage, General George Smith Patton, Jr. admitted, “Frankly, every time I hear a gunshot, I realize that I’m a coward. I am afraid to die.”
General Patton had a very good reason for his fear: On one occasion while he directed a tank brigade, he was shot in the leg. But he would not allow fear to immobilize him. According to his biography on generalpatton.com, the general boldly led his troops to liberate or conquer 81,522 square miles of territory in World War II.
Fear was one of the keys to Patton’s remarkable feats on the battlefield – fear of defeat motivated him to win, fear of death mobilized him to capitalize on life, and fear of mediocrity drove him to greatness. Fear inspired him to take action.
When Christians are confronted with fear, we should also take action. But it is critical that we take the right actions. Here are some tactics several authors have suggested:
Trust in God. He is bigger than all real or perceived obstacles – circumstantial, relational, emotional, physical, financial, and social. As we cast our cares upon Him in prayer, He replaces our fear with peace.
Dismiss worrisome thoughts. “Treat frets like mosquitoes. Do you procrastinate when a bloodsucking bug lights on your skin? ‘I’ll take care of it in a moment.’ Of course you don’t! You give the critter the slap it deserves. Be equally decisive with anxiety. The moment a concern surfaces, deal with it. Don’t dwell on it. Head off worries before they get the best of you.”
Don’t forget who you are in Christ as an adopted child in God’s family because of your relationship with Jesus (Romans 8:15-16). Because of this you are accepted (Ephesians 1:6), forgiven (Ephesians 1:7), and greatly loved (Romans 8:35-39).
Are you struggling with fear today? Maybe the fear of criticism or failure has kept you from attempting something God has laid upon your heart. Maybe you are handicapped by insecurity because of too much concern about what others think. Take action by following the steps listed above, and you can live each day with confidence.
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.