Fear is uncomfortable. Because it is uncomfortable, we want to get rid of it. This means when we act, we have a desire to execute on whatever comes to mind first, in hopes that it will get rid of that feeling of fear. As a result, we may choose the wrong path. We may react in a way that is destructive. This is why, for the Christian, Jesus should be the foundation upon which we build our ability to face our fears. As Christians, we should always be turning to Him first. However, as Christians, we’re also sinners. Because we’re sinners, sometimes we don’t do as we ought. Here’s a great example:
And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. – Genesis 20:2, ESV
It’s easy to pile a lot of scorn on Abraham. After all, he basically offered his own wife on a half-truth for another man to take. He did it to preserve his own life. In this act, Abraham showed no trust in God. How could Abraham do this? Abraham could because he was a sinner, just like you and I are.
But Abraham is also the man who, in relatively old age, left his family and everything he knew and went on a journey with God. He obeyed God even though God didn’t provide a final destination, much less a detailed itinerary. He showed great acts of worship of the Lord God and it is obvious that Abraham had God as a priority in his life. In other words, Abraham could be looked at as among the best of us. Yet still he stumbled.
In this particular situation, God bailed out Abraham and Sarah. Or more appropriately, God protected Abimelech. God kept Abimelech from sinning because of Abimelech’s faith in God. This indirectly preserved Sarah and kept Abraham from regretting his decision. But just imagine how things would have turned out if Abimelech wasn’t a godly man. Abraham and Sarah both would have regretted the violation of their marriage. And Abimelech and his people would have regretted the punishment delivered upon them because of their leader’s sin.
A potential chain of events like in this example is why Jesus should always be the first place we turn when we feel the tendrils of fear. Fear unchecked causes us to do things we wouldn’t do when we aren’t under its effects. If Abraham wasn’t consumed with fear, would he have made the same choice? We would hope not. This is why building a strong and active relationship with Jesus is so important. This, coincidentally, is why Bible reading and memorization is crucial, too. The Words of Scripture are weapons against fear. The Holy Spirit can bring those words to our minds so we know that a path we are heading down because we are afraid is not the correct path to take.
Don’t rely on your own. When you feel fear, turn to God. Tomorrow, we’ll look at how to start this, through prayer. But before we can get to the point of turning to God first, we must overcome our own desire to react to fear the way we do. We must be willing to be uncomfortable for a time in order to pursue the godly path.