Week of May 25
Why Are You So Afraid? How do you respond to fear? Do you run and hide, withdrawing into yourself? Do you try to distract yourself from fear with activities? The correct response to fear is not to surrender to it or to ignore it, but to overcome it with faith in God and absolute obedience to His Word.
Scripture tells us, “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7,8).
Many people trace their fears back to a loss of control. We experience fear when the stock market fluctuates. We experience fear when we cannot fix our relationships, health, or careers. So what do we do? We try to control the situation. We work long hours to accumulate wealth, in search of financial security. We develop unhealthy jealousy in our relationships. We try every new health fad in search of the fountain of youth. Yet none of these methods bring us contentment or peace.
When we realize that the God who created us, and who redeemed us, is still actively working in our lives today, we can find rest in Him, no matter what storm is raging. Jesus told us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
When we comprehend that God is in control of our lives and surrender our circumstances to Him, we will find security. “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed’” (Isaiah 28:16).
Simply knowing God is faithful and trustworthy is not enough. We must enact this belief in our daily lives. Faith is like a muscle—when it is neglected it atrophies, but when used consistently it builds up and becomes stronger. We continually need to exercise faith to conquer and overpower fear. The Lord told His children through Isaiah, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all” (Isaiah 7:9).
When Jesus rebuked His disciples during the storm, He asked, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26). Notice: the disciples’ faith was “little” and they were “so afraid.” Their faith was in inverse proportion to their fear. When faith is at 100 percent, fear is at 0 percent. When faith is at 60 percent, fear is at 40 percent. Yet when faith dips to 20 percent, fear will soar to 80 percent.
However, no matter how we fail in our daily trust in God, fear can never damage or destroy our saving faith. No matter how we give into our fears, our salvation can never be taken away from us. Nothing can snatch us away from God’s unending love: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39).
God does not want His children to live a fearful, defeated life. No matter how terrifying our circumstances, God wants us to live victoriously in Him. “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children” (Romans 8:15, 16).
If you are experiencing fear today, acknowledge it to the God who cares for you. Cry out, “Abba, Father.” Ask for His supernatural peace to fill your heart. Draw on the presence of the Holy Spirit. Seek confidence in His loving purpose. Commit today to trust and surrender completely only to God, and not your fears.
Don’t be tempted to toss in the towel and give up running the race. Shore up your confidence in God, today. Michael Youssef explores this topic in our free resource this month—”Don’t Lose Your Confidence.” Download it today.
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No matter what leadership arena a person serves in--whether leading a family, a church, a civic organization, a company--adopting the leadership example of Jesus will make that person more effective and productive. Leadership is influence, and no leader has had greater influence on the world than Jesus Christ. The lessons of His leadership style are practical, learnable skills that anyone can apply today.
Michael Youssef, who has executive experience in worldwide ministries, has examined the leadership Jesus modeled and suggests Christlike qualities every leader needs. But he doesn't stop there. With Jesus as the standard, Dr. Youssef considers how to deal with the temptations and pressures leaders face, including ego, anger, loneliness, criticism, the use of power, and passing the torch to others.
Men and women in search of excellence in developing their leadership abilities will find much to aid their quest in this close-up look at Jesus--the greatest leader who ever lived.