For God did not give us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power,
love, and sound judgment.
2 Timothy 1:7 [Holman Christian Standard]
In my youth I was privileged to live in a house on a lake. To me, there has always been something magical about the early morning hours when the sun was just peeking over the edge of the horizon and the mist was still rising off the waters; when no other person was awake, and the only sounds on the lake came from birds and bullfrogs. Oh how I longed to be able to take the canoe out and paddle across that mirror-smooth surface while the mist swirled around me! But I never did. Not once. I lived in that house on the lake for several years, and I never once took that canoe out. Why? Fear. I was afraid. The “what ifs” of life kept me from going: What if I tipped the canoe? What if I was unable to navigate the lake and find my way back to the dock? What if…What if…
To many these seem like ridiculous things to fear and perhaps they were. Even so, they were strong enough to keep me chained to the land and prevent me from moving beyond the end of the dock without company. Chains – that is what is produced by fear, endless links to an ever-increasing set of chains.
Our old human spirit, the one we had before we were born again, was characterized by fear and with good reason! We were doomed to a life full of nothing good and an eternity even worse. Fear was reasonable. But once we gave our hearts to Jesus, when we asked him to come in and reign, he recreated that human spirit. He didn’t just fix it up and make it better. Nope. He totally made it over! Amazing to think of isn’t it? According to His word, our born-again, recreated spirit is not characterized by fear, but by power, by love, and by sound judgment or a sound mind. No longer are we slaves to fear or bound by the restrictions it tries to impose!
So then, why did fear still stop me from paddling that canoe? I was saved. I was a believer. I had a recreated spirit. But I was still chained by fear. What happened? I’ll tell you what happened; it’s the same thing that continues to happen to believers all over the world. You see, when I asked Jesus into my heart, he unlocked all those chains. I was not subject to them any longer. However, the shackles still rested, unlocked, across my spirit until I knew enough to throw them off. We, you and me, need to exercise our God-given authority and toss those chains aside and refuse to let the enemy convince us to pick them back up and refasten them. Jesus unlocked them; we need to throw them off and walk away!
A few days ago, while the sky was still dark, I left my house. I loaded a kayak in the back of the pickup and drove to that very same lake on which I lived some thirty odd years ago. And there in the predawn light with the mist rising off the water and swirling around me while the air exploded with the sounds of bullfrogs and birds I paddled across that lake alone and without a single ounce of fear! Victory! No chains! No fear! No more! Praise God!
What seemingly small things have you never done because the “what-ifs” of fear have you bound? If you are a child of God, you can toss those chains off and move forward! Refuse to allow the chains of fear to keep you from the abundant life your Heavenly Father intended you to have!