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From the DayBreaks archive, February 2005:
Did you know that, according to John Ortberg, there are 366 verses in Scripture that essentially say, “Fear not!”? That’s one verse for every day of the year, including leap years! God must have known something, eh? We should note that more often than not, it is stated as a direct command, and usually at the point God is asking someone to do something that will take them so far out of their comfort zone that they’d be nuts not to be at least a little afraid. Yet He tells His servants over and over “Fear not!”, “Don’t be afraid!”
I remember how my little kids would stand on the edge of the pool and I’d encourage them to jump into the pool while I caught them. Their little bodies stood on the edge, their arms held tightly to their little, shivering bodies, often with their fingers near their mouth so they could chew on their fingernails while they debated the invitation. They were shivering – but not because it was cold. It was because they were afraid. There was a titanic struggle going on inside their little hearts and minds, a struggle between the will and the want. You see, they wanted to jump. They wanted to be brave. They figured that it must be kind of fun or people wouldn’t be jumping into pools all the time. They wanted to believe that I’d not drop them or miss them if they left terra firma behind. But the will, oh, the will – it surrenders hard when fear comes around the corner!
In If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, John Ortberg argues that fear is the #1 thing that keeps us from obedience to God. It may be fear that we will be dropped, fear of failure, fear of success, fear that we’ll be revealed as something other than what we’ve pretended to be for so long – it could also be fear of the unknown.
In sin, I think one of two things happens. Either the want says, “God, I want to take the leap with You!”, but the will isn’t ready to jump, or both the want and the will are refusing to go with God. Either way, when fear wins, we lose – but more important than that, God loses, too. When we fail to do what He wants, we have made ourselves unavailable to Him as a servant. And then what happens to what God wants to accomplish? Oh, He’ll probably find a way to accomplish what He wants in the lives of others, but as long as we are blocked by fear, He is blocked in accomplishing what He wants to accomplish within us.
Are you letting fear make you unavailable to God? Consider the Father who is asking you to jump into His arms and see if He isn’t trustworthy!
PRAYER: God, help us to will and to want to leap out with You in faith! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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