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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Courage And Fear Can Go Together

Fear and Courage
When God calls us to some new work or venture for him, fear and doubt are natural. But that doesn't mean we can't be courageous as well as fearful.

Courage and fear are not the opposites they look like at first sight: we may think that a courageous man would not be fearful and a fearful woman could not be courageous. 

Fear and courage are friends.

The example of Gideon
Gideon is a great example of Fear and Courage working side by side. God called Gideon to impossible tasks. First, to destroy the idols in his own village and second to deliver Israel from the hand of the Midianites with a military imbalance  of 32,000 vs 135,000 men (which would eventually descend to a laughable 300 vs 135,000). Gideon was fearful of undertaking these great tasks.

By nature he was timid - the result of personality and true humility. But he gets on with the task anyway.

Those who are naturally timid need to be mindful of the depressive dangers of timidity. We find Gideon responding to God's call to defeat the Midianites in the depressed tones of self-doubt: "My clan is the weakest in Manasseh and I am the least in my family" (6:15) (read "I'm rubbish". Oh Dear!)

God knows our fears and makes allowances for them
But God knew and loved Gideon! God knew that though he was a brilliant warrior, he had a real tendency to fear and self-doubt. And more wonderfully still, God took this weakness into account. God called Gideon a "mighty warrior" (6:12)  and told him to fight with the strength he had (6:14) - this must have been a great comfort to Gideon, to know what God thought of his gifts, even though he thought little of them. Then God reassured him that he was with him (6:12,16) and was sending him (6:14).

God even makes provision for our fears!
Most comforting of all for a timid soul, God met Gideon's need for confirmation. God gave him a fiery sign that it was the Lord commissioning him (6:21), and twice performed a miracle on a fleece (6:36-40). Even more than that, God actually created a special sign for his timid servant - without Gideon's request. God told him that if he was fearful (he didn't have to take up this sign), he could go down to the Midianite camp where he would hear a message that would fortify his heart! And you guessed it, Gideon took up the sign!

This is wonderful care for a fearful soul.

Fear did not prevent Gideon accomplishing the mighty things he was called to do. Courageously in fear he went into battle and defeated the enemy.  Fear need not prevent us from fulfilling our calling for the Lord. 

And so to You....
What is God calling you to do? Is your heart fearful? Do you wonder if you have it in us? Do you wonder if God is calling the right person? None of these questions and emotions are unusual. God knows our fears and instead of despising us for them, he gently encourages us on to obedience.

The important thing is not our emotions, doubts or fears, but our resolution, God helping us, to obey him.

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