We all have fears. Some fears end up helping us to be cautious and take time to consider the situation. While other fears stop us from fulfilling our purpose and accomplishing our dreams. These are the fears that keep us in our comfort zone and whisper limitations in our ear. Most importantly, these are the fears God wants us to overcome and face with Him. Fear is a worldly thing, not a God thing. God doesn’t want us to be afraid. He does not give us the spirit of fear but does give us the spirit of POWER, LOVE and a SOUND MIND (2 Timothy 1:7).
In our Fear Factor session we discussed what we believe God wants us to do when we face adversity. Some of the concepts you might consider practical, while others you might find need a leap of faith.
One of the most famous verses about faith deals with Jesus telling us to have faith “like a grain of mustard seed”. If you’ve ever seen a mustard seed you know how tiny it is. When we read this scripture we have a habit of focusing strictly on the size of the mustard seed, being satisfied with the concept that small faith is better than none at all. And with that all it takes is a little bit of faith for big things to happen. This is all true, but we believe Christ wants us to dig deeper. When you plant a mustard seed, with time and preparation it grows into a huge mustard tree. It’s almost insane to see how something so small can turn into something so big and powerful. As it grows it overtakes everything around it. Ultimately, this is what we believe our faith should look like. Not only small with potential but to grow with the power to overcome adversity. Taking over all earthly obstacles and becoming strong and mighty- evidence to all around. A faith so big that it overcomes fears, doubts, and worrisome concerns. A faith so wide that even when we leap and leave our comfort zones we are still grounded by our faith in Christ.
Major Key #1 – Keep it real
Sometimes before we make the big decisions in our life we ask God for a sign. One that will reveal in plain sight His will and plan in our lives.
In the book of Judges, we are introduced to Gideon who was called by God to defeat the enemies of the Israelites. To regain their freedom from those that oppress them. Despite God telling Gideon he is a "man of valor" because of his past Gideon was hesitant to follow God's request. So he makes a request to God for a set of signs to reassure him that he is on the right path. One of the most famous signs is the one of the morning dew and fleece. Laying the fleece out at night, Gideon asks God to put morning dew on the fleece but not on the grass surrounding it. When he wakes up in the morning, Gideon’s fleece is so wet he has to wring the dew out of it- a bowlful. Gideon asks God to do it again but this time keeping the fleece dry and only dew on the ground. God once again comes through and performs this sign for Gideon.
God doesn't condemn Gideon for these requests as he knows they come from a genuine heart. He knows that Gideon isn’t trying to take advantage but is truly trying to figure things out. We are encouraged to lay out our fears, problems and concerns like a fleece in front of God. To keep it real with God and yourself about all the things you don’t understand in your life. Through faith, we believe that God will reveal Himself and answer the questions for you in His own way. You have to be open and willing to receive the answers.
Major Key #2 – Turn your What If into Even If
Esther 4:16 & Daniel 3:17-18
Sometimes following God requires us to leave our comfort zone. This topic came up as we discussed the two stories of Esther and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Two different time periods but similar stories of adversity. In both stories, our main characters faced a life threatening dilemma. To stay in their comfort zone and be safe, or leave their comfort zone and suffer fatal consequences. In both situations, following God required them to break the law, which was punishable by death. Because of their faith in God they each took the chance and stepped over their fears. Through these acts of bravery God’s will was done and they were all delivered from the death penalty.
These stories remind us trade our “What ifs” for “Even ifs”. Not to think of What if the worst happens but to live a life of Even if the worst happens I’m going to trust God. Even If things don’t go my way or the way I expect them to I’m going to do the right thing in God’s eyes. I’m still going to follow the direction God is taking me because ultimately he knows best.
Don’t let the What Ifs of your life hold you back or keep you from what God has for you. What Ifs are limitations while Even Ifs are the launching pads.
Nicholas Bowden (@nickworldtour) is Co-Founder and leader of The LIFT Project. He Graduated from Seton Hall University and is a teacher in Central New Jersey. He enjoys playing competitive sports, traveling, trying new food, and catching up on comic books in his free time.