Most of the time living a fearless life seems impossible. Things go wrong, plans fail, we start second-guessing. We sink into confusion and worry and shamefaced retreat when the troubles of life come upon us. At some point, they always come, the Lord even said, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). Our tribulations wear many faces. They may look like cancer, or an empty bank account, or your name slandered because you spoke for righteous morality.
In the not so distant past I weathered a time when confusion and worry reigned supreme. My troubles were lurking on every side and colored everything in view. I could see no apparent solutions. I started to dread the friendly question, “How are you?” because my options were to lie and say “fine,” change the subject, or admit to someone who merely asked a casual question, that things weren’t going so hot.
All of this confusion drove me to the Word where I read about times much more troubling than my own, and yet God’s people were still supposed to live with strong trust in their God to save them and care for them. “Fear not,” said Moses as the people of God heard the thundering chariots of Egypt hemming them in by the sea, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14:13). I also saw the confidence of the Psalmists prayers, ” In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion” (Psalm 71:1).
Whatever the physiognomy of our troubles, God’s Word is clear that, “He will never allow the righteous to be shaken” (Psalm 55:22). Trials will come and the righteous will not be shaken. These are unarguable truths. So, why do we feel so shaky?
There are two things I’ve found that bring on a trembly frame of mind.
First, we simply don’t believe God when He tells us we are secure.
He says, “you will never be shaken” and we continue wallowing in worry and anxiety with every nervous breath declaring to the world that God is a liar, that He cannot be trusted. We are sincerely afraid that the Lord will leave us and forsake us, that everything does not work out for the good of those who love Him, and that He will not provide for all our needs according to His riches in glory. We just don’t believe it. We live out our unbelief with every restless night spent in sleepless anxiety over our circumstances, and with each hour of the day given to fretful worrying. The answer to this problem of wayward feelings is, of course, to repent and believe praying, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.” Believe that the Lord is righteous and true, that His word will never fail, that He will accomplish all that concerns us, and that His lovingkindness is everlasting. Then, perhaps we can say with David, “He has made me bold with strength in my soul,” (Psalm 138).
Second, feelings of insecurity and fear can flow from disobedience to God’s Word.
Our personal obedience to the commands of God isn’t complete or perfect and does not buy our eternal security, only the blood of Christ can do that. Obedience, however, does flow out of the work of Christ in our lives. 1 John tells us,
The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.
Rejecting the commandments of the Lord turns our feet toward stumbling. The moments we reject the commands of the Lord, choosing our own way, are the same moments our ankles take to weakness and turning. Feelings of insecurity, in this case, are a blessing. They warn us to return to the righteous way of the Lord where He will protect our steps and keep us from falling. When we are standing in a place of obedience to the faithful Word of God, we are always standing in a secure place. We do not have to spend our lives cowering in fear that we will come to shame and ruin if we spend them loving and doing the commands of the Lord.
We live in a culture that knows not right from wrong. They are so confused by their vanity and pride, they can no longer even tell the difference between man and woman. Following the ever-changing “truths” offered by the world will not firm up the ground beneath our feet, it will only cause our foundations to crumble. Our God, however, was and is the same. The truth of His Word is everlasting. We need not live in confusion and fear if we will simply trust and obey. If we are to have confidence in this life, it has to be all about Him, and He has given us Himself and His Word. This should assuredly give us boldness with strength in our souls.
What gives boldness and strength to your soul? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.