As people of grace, as people of faith, as the people of God, we have a distinct advantage over the rest of the world. We have a real God who can genuinely protect us, but as people of grace we sometimes forget about faith. We have an assurance that He will see us through this crisis. And that is a huge advantage!Nevertheless, but faith doesn’t mean denying the facts.
It doesn’t mean that we just ignore the realities. The realities are that the number of cases and the number of deaths around the world are increasing except for in very few nations. The facts are that apart from a supernatural intervention from God that those number will likely double, triple, quadruple, perhaps even more so before this crisis is over. Those are the facts.
Paul writes about the uncertainty of his life in the book of Acts 20:22-24 - And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
As the people of God, we ought to be like the apostle Paul in this matter. We too should not be moved. We too should be able to stand on the rock solid foundation of our faith in God. But the reality is that many of us are afraid. And understandably so.
We fear the unknown. The uncertainty. We have never faced anything like this before so we have no reference for what we should do or how we should react. We only wait and watch and hope for the best.
In all likelihood, this crisis will continue for weeks, perhaps even months. So what should we do? We should be the people of God. We should be the church. We should reach out and encourage one another. We should pray without ceasing and believe for God’s protection and intervention.
I want to talk to you about fear because if we don’t overcome this enemy, it will be very difficult to do what God has called us to do.
And what has He called us to do? He has called us to be light in the darkness. He has called us to be a source of strength in the midst of weakness. He has called us to point people to Jesus the source of life in the midst of crisis.
I want to give you three ways to reduce fear. Two of them are “spiritual” and one of them is practical. But even the “spiritual” ones I will give you practical means to accomplish.
But first, why is it so important to reduce the fear? Three quick reasons:
“There is no fear in love.”
So on a practical level how can we do this? Let us love one another by connecting with one another. Our care groups have never been more important than right now!
Fear can breed and grow in isolation. This is not the time to be alone and not the time to isolate. We isolate ourselves physically, we should. But we NEED the body of Christ! We NEED to stay in contact with fellow believers!
Our love for one another expressed by contacting, communicating, praying, and encouraging one another is absolutely vital at this time. Do you want to defeat fear in your life? Perfect love drives out fear. Reach out to someone today! Call them up. Message them. Pray for them, encourage them.
The second way we can reduce fear in our lives is through Preparation.
I was watching a Netflix series interviewing several astronauts last week and came across this excellent quote – “The greatest antidote for fear is preparation.“
Think about that! How true is that! (e.g. public speaking, exams, competitions, etc) One of the reasons we’re afraid in this present crisis is that we weren’t prepared.
Proper preparation can greatly reduce our fear level. So, prepare yourself! This present lockdown is most likely to be extended. So what can you do to prepare? The better prepared you are, the less fear you will have. When you need to go out to buy food, prepare yourself with the proper protection.
I think we all need to expect that this will last at least through the month of May at the very least. If it doesn’t, praise God! But if we will prepare ourselves NOW for a lengthy quarantine, then we will be much better off if it happens. I want to encourage every leader right now. Be the church leader or the head of the family. You need to prepare. Don’t just sit and wait. Make some plans right now for a lengthy quarantine. If it doesn’t happen, praise God. If it does, you are prepared.
The last thing we must do—and this could save your life—is to increase and exercise our faith. Faith is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the more it will grow.
Fear and faith CAN somewhat co-exist. BUT they can’t both grow. If fear grows, faith will decrease. If faith grows, fear will decrease.
Why did I say that increasing your faith could save your life? Because it can. In nearly 40 years of ministry, I have seen far too many Christians whose lives were taken far too early due to their lack of faith. And I have seen Christians who literally escaped the jaws of death due to their strong faith.
You are going to want your faith to be strong in these coming days, not just for you but also for your family.
So how on a practical level can you do that?
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