I was 3 ½ years old when my father taught me my first Bible verse—in the King James version. Maybe he liked the sound of Elizabethan English coming out of the mouth of babes. It is the version that has stuck with me: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
This verse has grounded me throughout my life. I was often afraid. Anxious. This fear affected my mind and spirit.
I gave in to fear, little by little, inch by inch, until it defined who I was. Fear became part of my character. Fear became a major factor in how I made decisions.
But I kept coming back to the verse reminding me that fear is not from God.
When fear begins to swirl around me, I hear this verse in my heart. I hear Jesus saying, as he did to disciples in the storm, “Why are you afraid? Don’t you have faith?” (Mark 4:40)
I do have faith, so I need to live my life as if I do. Little by little, inch by inch, I have felt the fetters of fear release me until fear no longer defines who I am. Yes, anxiety still creeps upon me, but I am no longer “an anxious person.”
The Christian life is not stagnant. We are always growing, moving, becoming holy. I don’t want just to be a person who is not as anxious as I once was. I don’t want just to be a person who doesn’t make decisions out of fear. I want to be fearless.
I want to learn to depend on God and to surrender to him in such a way that I truly walk out in faith. I want fearlessly to move to new places in faith that God has been wanting to take me but I have been too frightened to go.
I am not speaking of being without fear or awe of the Lord; we are called to that. I am speaking of being without fear of failure, of mistakes, of persecution, of rejection. I’m speaking of ultimate surrender to Christ and tapping into the power of the Spirit.
I’m not even sure what that looks like, but I am willing.
Jesus, may I not be afraid to surrender to you, to your will, and to your desires for me. May I rest in your love and walk forward, fearless in your truth.