“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)
Today’s promise is one that I’ve found personally helpful for many years. Who hasn’t dealt with anxiety and fear? They are threatening enemies to face. What is it you are most afraid of? Failure? An economic collapse? Losing your job? Disease? Loneliness? Death? One psychological site says phobias are the most common mental disorder in the United States and documents some 530 different fears. Christ followers are no exception. Even the great apostle Paul struggled with his own fears. He confessed to the church in Corinth, “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.” 1 Cor. 2:3 (NIV) He admitted his fears, but he didn’t let them prevent him from coming. He didn’t allow his fears to control him.
How do you face your fears with that kind of faith? Isaiah offers three insights we can use to prevent our fears from controlling our lives.
1. Recognize that you are not alone! God is with you.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you….” Isaiah 41:10a
2. Be encouraged! God is for you.
“Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.” Isaiah 41:10b
To be discouraged is to take courage away. To be encouraged is to put courage in, to add courage. When we are afraid, we become discouraged and forget that the God who is with us is also for us. He has established a relationship with us. “I am your God.” In writing to the Romans, Paul said, “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 (NIV)
3. Rely on His strength. God is in you.
“I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10c
Fear cripples us because we don’t think we have the strength. When we shift our focus from ourselves to Christ who indwells us, we can rely on His strength. In Philippians 4:13, the Bible says, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
Faith is never passive. It’s intentional and active. To conquer our fears with faith we must realize we are not alone, believe that the God who is with us is also for us and will empower us with His indwelling presence. Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s moving forward despite those fears, trusting in God’s help.