- Melinda K. Bowens
Fear Is Not A Factor...Or Maybe It Is
Fear is not a factor…Or maybe it is
For much of the early 2000’s I was mildly addicted to this reality show on NBC called Fear Factor. If you don’t remember the show, here’s a brief recap. Each episode, numerous contestants would presumably complete dangerous/frightening stunts and competitions with the hope of winning a large cash prize. I’m not quite sure if it was the competitiveness, the challenges, or my sheer disbelief that someone would participate in those activities willingly, but whatever the reason—I was hooked! (Let’s keep it honest, it was definitely the competitiveness that kept my attention!)
Now, for the moment, let’s ignore my seemingly questionably taste in television programming. But looking back on the show, there was actually a pretty prevalent life theme; especially for believers in Christ (don’t give me that side eye yet). My favorite one liner would come at the end of each episode after the final contestant had outlasted, out witted and out committed all others. The music in the background would become dramatically louder and a very proud Joe Rogan would look the champion in his/her face and say, “Evidently, fear is not a factor for you.”
Now, how is a show based off of people’s debatable ideas of adventure relevant to the life of a believer? Well, I’m happy you asked!
Much like the contestants of this show, as a believer and follower of Christ we have willingly committed to a life that will include challenges (John 16:33) that others watching may not understand. We also live this life with the hope of a prize (Matthew 24:13) when all is completed (I know that’s not the only reason).
But what happens when evidently, fear is a factor for you?! What happens when you’re looking at the prize with one eye and looking at all the obstacles with the other?! What happens when you see your goals, but the thought of the opposition you might face in the process makes you want to abandon the mission before you even start?! To take it a step more personal: What happens when God has made your purpose through Him clear, but you’re afraid your past will never let you experience His plan?!
(*Side note: Anytime I reference the word past, I mean 24 hours ago, 24 weeks ago, or 24 years ago. Whatever past you’re struggling with is the one I’m speaking about.)
But what do we do when we know the promises are real, but the fear feels real too???
Well, the scripture answer is found in 2 Timothy 1:7 (so, you know these reference aren’t coming from the book of Melinda). It reads, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” [NLT]
Now if you’re reading this blog post, chance are you already know that verse and there literally was nothing earth shattering about that reference to you. But, that’s not the final answer either.
2 Timothy 1:7 is one of those verses that is thrown out so easily when people want to help others; it’s a comfort verse. Much like Philippians 4:13, which is “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” Now, both scriptures are undoubtedly and inarguably true. However, they’re said so often (and sometimes out of context) that they lose their impact to us at times.
I was us to pause and really mull over the “God has not given…” part of that verse.
So if the God who ultimately has our best interest and perfect plan in mind, didn’t give us fear, doubt, second guessing, and self-deprecation, then who did??? (*insert inquisitive face emoji*) I’m going to take a wild guess and say someone or something that didn’t have God’s wisdom, love and/or foresight planted those little unruly seeds in us.
Whose word do we want to believe? The words of the all-knowing, sovereign God or the words of someone who was possibly talking just to hear themselves talk?
It’s our choice. Every time we feel fear, it’s our choice. Every time we sense doubt, it’s out choice. Every time we think negative self-thoughts, it’s our choice.
How are you choosing today?
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Also, the new Lent series #BreakingTheCycle will launch Wednesday, March 1!!! Invite a friend to join you!