We might be changing careers, getting married, having children, leaving all that’s familiar for the mission field, going back to work after 20 years as a homemaker, becoming serious about diet and exercise, and so on. Our minds fill with excitement, yet we think: What if? What if? What if?
Any time we step out to do something new, especially for God, we almost always—and almost immediately—face a negative circumstance that tries to discourage us or convince us we cannot do what God asks of us. Something will come up to tell us it is too hard, does not make sense, or will not work; or that we are not qualified to do it. The enemy uses such words and thoughts to discourage us, hoping fervently we will never accomplish what we set out to do.
Revelation 12:4 gives insight on how the devil tries to plant fear in us before we even get started: “And the dragon stationed himself in front of the woman who was about to be delivered [give birth], so that he might devour her child as soon as she brought it forth.”
The dragon (who represents Satan) had stationed himself in front of her so he could devour her newborn child. This scene represents a dynamic that often happens in our lives as believers. Every time God puts a fresh new idea in our hearts or gives us a dream, vision or new challenge for our lives, the enemy will be there to oppose us. I am not referring simply to the times we want to do “big” things for God; the enemy is not selective.
When we receive Jesus as our Savior, that’s a new level. When we begin to move into a deeper walk with God or begin to pray bolder prayers, those are new levels. When we begin to give time, money and energy to God’s kingdom, we are moving to a new level.
God constantly calls us to new levels. Some seem big and important; others seem relatively small or insignificant. Whatever the case, when we reach a new level with God we face a new level of opposition from our enemy, the devil.
Along with opposition, however, comes opportunity (see 1 Cor. 16:9)—but God is always with us, and we have no need to fear. Some things may seem too great for us, but nothing is impossible with God. He is not surprised or frightened by anything.
If you are determined never to give up on your dream, then you have to take chances; you have to be courageous. When you face situations that threaten or intimidate you, you do not need to pray as much for the fear to go away as for boldness and courage so you can move ahead in spite of the fear. I can promise you, fear will not go away. It is not something you can get rid of, so you must learn to overcome it.
The spirit of fear will always try to keep you from going forward. The enemy has used fear for centuries to try to stop people, and he is not going to change his strategy now. But you can defeat fear; you are more than a conqueror through Him who loves us (see Rom. 8:37).
Courage is not the absence of fear; it is pressing forward while the feeling of fear is present. I want to encourage you to be determined to face fear when it comes against you. Stand firm, trusting God and knowing He is always with you.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers. She has written more than 80 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind, and her most recent, Never Give Up! Enjoying Everyday Life (all FaithWords). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide.