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Who Do You Fear? - The Crosswalk Devotional - July 26

Fear is controlling us. Who do you fear today? Or what?

Contributing Author
Jul 26, 2022

The Crosswalk Devotional

Who Do You Fear?
By Aaron D’Anthony Brown

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7)

Who Do You Fear?
Just this week, I had one of those days most of us can understand. From the moment I awoke, a long list ran through my mind, a list of all the things that could be better in life. Work. Finances. Family. Dating. As I mulled over the list of uncertainties I wondered, when will God do something?

Within that question was so much doubt, impatience, and fear. The question reminded me of David in Psalm 13 when he asked, “How long will I store up anxious concerns within me, agony in my mind every day?” (Psalm 13:2)

If God is all-good and all-powerful, why not act? David asked his questions, but by the end of the chapter, he also offered his unbridled confidence in God (Psalm 13:5-6) I had all the questions for God, but none of the confidence. Who did I fear? My circumstances, not God. Does that sound like you? 

For one reason or another, we think to ourselves that worrying causes change. More so than change, we convince ourselves that worrying brings control. If only we believed what Jesus said about worry (Matthew 6:27). Instead of mulling over detail after detail, trying to ascertain control, we’d recognize what’s really happening. Fear is controlling us. Who do you fear today? Or what?

If we look at Scripture, we see too that the Israelites were no strangers to fear. In their journey from bondage to freedom, Egypt to the Promised Land, they had plenty of reason for praise. Yet, that didn’t stop fear from cropping up.

“The entire Israelite community departed from Elim and came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left the land of Egypt. The entire Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!’” (Exodus 16:1-3)

God was guiding them from one place to another, but we also see where fear led the Israelites. Instead of focusing on the Lord, they focused on circumstances. These days when we read their story, there’s a temptation to see ourselves as being vastly different from the Israelites, but are we really? I confess, I’m not. When life is good, God is good. When life is bad, God’s goodness comes into question. If God was good, what reason would we have to fear?

That’s what we think, that’s what I think, but that’s the wrong perspective. We suffer from the same forgetfulness the Israelites did. We forget where God has brought us from because we focus on what we see now. If the issue is forgetting, then the solution is to remember.

One piece of wisdom that the apostle Paul shares is to “dwell” on good things (Philippians 4:8). By training our minds to think about positivity, we alter our perspective. Instead of focusing on the bad, we see God’s blessings. Of course, changing our perspective, especially if we’ve gone through life as a pessimist or cynic, is not easy. However, with gratitude we can accept the suffering that comes our way while taking explicit notice of our blessings. With more gratitude then, will come more remembrance.

God’s blessings are in fact, so grand, so inspiring, and so clear. We just need the right perspective to see.

Intersecting Faith and Life:
Building a sense of gratitude requires time and effort. That’s why we have to remind children so often! When we want to build gratitude within ourselves though, especially as an adult, we can’t rely on others to tell us. Instead, there are other practical ways to remember God’s goodness. Here are just a few.

-Gratitude List
Keep an ongoing list of God’s blessings inside a journal, on a refrigerator, or on a bathroom mirror, anywhere where you will see the list often. By seeing the list, you will be reminded that you have reasons to be grateful. The longer the list, the more reasons, and the less excuses you have to grumble against God.

-Tell a Friend
If you often rely on friends for venting out your frustrations, try a different approach. Express praise instead. Tell someone the good things God has done for you. In turn, they may even share blessings going on in their life. With gratitude can come hope, love, and encouragement. 

-Rehearse Scripture
Make a habit for a week or a month of studying Bible verses that speak directly to gratitude. This will remind you of the virtue’s importance and the benefits you can reap. We feel better, think better, and act better, when we’re grateful. Science confirms such.

In addition to these few practical steps, here’s a prayer to help you remember who you should fear.

I stand in awe of all that you do. From the stars in the distant galaxy to the blades of grass beneath my window, you created it all. If I were being honest with myself at all times, there would be no reason to doubt. Not one. I would stand in fear of your majesty everyday, believing in what you can do, and acknowledging there’s nothing you can’t.

You deserve the honor and the praise, not my fear and worry. Thank you for loving me in a way that I don’t deserve, and please forgive me Father, for treating you in a way that you don't deserve. Please bring peace to my heart and silence my doubts. Help me to always rest and remain in your eternal goodness.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Reading:

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/AaronAmat

headshot of author Aaron BrownAaron D'Anthony Brown is a freelance writer, hip-hop dance teacher, and visual artist, living in Virginia. He currently contributes work to iBelieve, Crosswalk, and supports various clients through the platform Upwork. He's an outside-the-box thinker with a penchant for challenging the status quo. Check out his short story “Serenity.”

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Christianity / Devotionals / The Crosswalk Devotional / Who Do You Fear? - The Crosswalk Devotional - July 26