Having managed to move past what for some is the most fearful time of year, Halloween, it begs the question “How can we stay free from fear?”
When I was four years old and staying for a couple of weeks at the end of October with my grandma in St. Charles, MN, the doorbell rang. I made the unwise choice of answering the door before she could get to it and there, under the porch light stood two individuals, not much taller than I, in the most grotesque rubber masks (at least I hoped they were masks) shouting “Trick or Treat!!!” at the tops of their lungs. To say I was frightened, was an understatement, but I don’t think I went all hysterical or anything. But that incident did, apparently, leave a lasting impression on me.
To this day, even as an adult, I prefer to walk on the other side of the block or shopping mall away from anyone wearing a mask. I never sat on Santa’s lap, or came anywhere close to an Easter Bunny, and when I had to work at McDonald’s in the ’80’s helping with Ronald McDonald shows, I was good around the actor who became Ronald, but when he was in costume, I was nowhere to be seen! To say that I’m not a huge fan of clowns of any kind, nice or villainous, would be an accurate statement.
As a child, I certainly never thought in these terms, but as I grew and became more aware of my own emotions and thoughts, I realized that seeing someone in a mask was all about lies. I wanted to see truth, the real person, not a fake, not an act, not a lie. I want to know what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s truth, what is a lie, so I can make an educated decision about it and make the right choices for me.
That being said, we live in a world of lies and deception, fakery, and illusion. Our movies and TV programs are filled with it and often they only seek to instill fear. We honor and adore actors who portray heroes and villains for their acting capabilities to make us believe the lies and enjoy the fear — at least for the moment.
But in the real world, there are plenty of fearful things going on and the media plays to that and makes things seem so much worse than reality would dictate. Racial issues, diseases from only God knows where, strife, tensions, financial woes, power struggles — personal and world wide, murders, suicides, kids on drugs, unspeakable evil seems to be rampant. Fear of the future, Fear of lack, Fear of sickness and disease, Fear of loss. As the Apostle John says in one of his letters to the church, fear has torment. Where does it stop, and when?
Well, as with everything, it stops — or at least the hold that fear has on us stops — when we choose to believe what God says, rather than what the world, the flesh (us, our mindsets), and the devil says. Why live in fear when there is a better way? We were created for God’s pleasure and as a way for Him to show us His love and mercy. He is the God of peace, not fear. The reason we get into the messes we do is because we are searching for peace, love and joy in all the wrong places.
Let me share some of God’s words that may help you if you feel fear today (or any time):
“7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” 2Timothy 1:7 Amplified Version
“10 Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.” Isaiah 41:10 Amplified Version
Memorizing Scripture, rehearsing them in your mind, quoting them, putting them in first person — all are great ways of getting the Word of God down in your spirit so that when those times of fear come, you can recall them and remind yourself that God is bigger than any fearful thing you might encounter. He is in control, not your fears.
One of the coolest Scriptures in the Old Testament, and applicable to us all today, in my opinion, is Joshua 1:8, 9. If we would take it to heart, I believe God will keep us safe from the fearful things in this world, and cause us to prosper in every area of our lives.
“8 This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good [a]success.
9 Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Amplified Version
Don’t be afraid….Be courageous and confident in God!