Our friends at Potential Church in Wellford, S.C., recently conducted a sermon series that asked the question, “What do you fear?” Pastor Lance Martin says we all need to overcome some type of fear and by doing so we can recapture the joy of serving God.
As believers, we each have a unique role in ministry and we must be about the business of fulfilling God’s call on our lives each day. Fear, however, is a powerful obstacle in the life of any Christian, so let’s look at a biblical episode that shows how fear can cripple God’s people. We’ll also see how overcoming fear brings great rewards from God.
In Numbers 13 and 14, we see Moses has sent out 12 scouts to investigate the land of Canaan, which God promised to His people. After 40 days, the men return with magnificent fruits, saying the land “is flowing with milk and honey.”
Well, that’s the good news.
The bad news is that the people occupying the land are strong, even gigantic, and live behind walled fortresses or are protected by mountains or the Jordan River. Ten of the scouts advise against trying to take the land, and the people of Israel are fearful. “We are like grasshoppers compared to the people there,” these men assert.
Then one man speaks up. His name is Caleb.
In verse 30 of chapter 13, we read: “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it’” (KJV).
As a pastor, I can tell you that our churches need men and women like Caleb — people who have not forgotten the power and authority of our Lord and who are not daunted by circumstances, challenges, disappointments or “giants” they face.
Friend, I have a message for you today: There is nothing in your life you need to fear because God is greater than anything you are facing.
II Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) has this to say: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Fear will hinder our testimony … will prevent us from being a witness for Christ … will keep us in the shadows … and will defeat us and cause us to become slaves to the fear.
Let’s return to Exodus now and we see that, even after Caleb says they can take the land, the children of Israel want to go back to enslavement in Egypt. Moses and Aaron are so frustrated, they fall on their faces before the people.
It’s Caleb’s time to speak up again. And this time, Joshua joins him. They say, “The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.”
What is Israel’s response? They want to stone the two men!
God is on the brink of destroying them all, but Moses cries out to Him. God ultimately has pity on Israel, but the people will never see the Promised Land, except for Caleb and Joshua. What a picture this narrative is on the importance of following God without fear. It seems so easy for us to forget that God has promised to supply our every need.
I want you to do something for me. The next time you are afraid to speak out for Christ, think of Caleb and his courage in believing that God can do ANYTHING for those who will take Him at His Word. Caleb was a regular guy, but He trusted God in amazing ways.
Also, the next time you are facing a great trial that brings fear into your life, think on Joshua and the amazing victories that occurred in his life because he fearlessly followed the Lord’s call. God still works the same way for His followers — He won’t fail us.
You know, I experience fear, like anyone else. But there is so much to be done for Christ at our church and in the Faith Partners ministry. Sometimes it seems daunting to me, but we must continue to plant churches, train pastors, send out missionaries, ship truckloads of food and supplies to people all over the world, persist in sending out the Gospel via the airwaves, take a stand for the unborn, and so much more.
Fear simply cannot be part of the equation.
I Peter 3:14 tells us this: “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.’” God wants to bless you and help you overcome your fears.
I pray that in the coming year that we — together, you and I — will continue to partner together and encourage each other through this ministry as we call people to salvation in Christ. Let us not grow weary or fearful as we seek to magnify the Living Christ in all we do. A hungry world is in need of Jesus.
May God bless you greatly in this new year!
Your Friend in Christ,