Fear has always been a battle for me. For many years, I wondered, Am I sinning because I feel afraid? Maybe you've wondered that as well. If so, my prayer is that this blog post will encourage you.
When the angel came to Mary, she was greeted with, "Grace to you, young woman, for the Lord is with you and you are anointed with great favor!" (Luke 1:28). I'm guessing Mary felt afraid. Imagine an angel suddenly appearing at her side with a loud greeting! I think it's safe to say that Mary probably had a minor freak-out moment! After all, Mary was likely only around 14 at the time. The angel went on to say, "Do not yield to your fear, Mary" (Luke 1:30b, TPT).
I've been thinking a lot about those words recently. I don't believe the angel was rebuking her for feeling afraid. I believe he was challenging her not to give in to her fear.
In your life and mine, there are going to be fearful moments. Moments when we feel the emotion of fear. That's not wrong—it's simply an emotion—and it can be useful. For example, if I see a snake, I will feel fear (which is an understatement). That fear will motivate me to not get too close and to move in the other direction. Fear can be a great motivator to run from danger, call for help or change my course of action. However, fear becomes a problem when we yield to it in the context of what God's calling us to do. God clearly called Mary to carry the infant Jesus and mother Him until the time that He stepped into His earthly ministry. The angel was, in essence, saying, "Mary, I know this is overwhelming and scary, but I need you to mother God's Son. And, oh, by the way, the Holy Spirit is going to overshadow you, and you will become pregnant, and people will talk and misunderstand."
In your life and mine, God doesn't call us to mother His Son. But He may call us to do other scary things that cause us to give in to fear.
What it Means to Yield to Our Fear
We yield to our fear when we put up walls and don't allow ourselves to love because we're afraid of getting hurt. Christmastime is often a time to gather with families. Most families I know have hurt. The easy thing to do is to build a wall around your heart and think, I'm not going to get too close—I don't want to get hurt again. Jesus says, "Don't yield to your fear. Love others as I do."
We yield to our fear when God calls us to give and we hold back—afraid we won't have enough to pay our bills. God doesn't call us to be foolish, but He does call us to live generously on His behalf. The Christmas season is a great time to nurture a generous spirit. I'm not talking about going into debt. I am talking about asking the Lord where He wants you to give money. If He calls you to give, boldly step over your fear and give generously.
We yield to our fear when God calls us to mentor or disciple another and we hold back, thinking, I have nothing to offer. Discipling is the job of every believer. Be willing to give of your time and wisdom to journey with one another. I know many young people who want to be mentored, but they can't find anyone to spend time with them. Take a risk. Step past your fear. Invite someone younger to coffee and just begin to pray for them. Much of the mentoring process is simply being available to listen. Don't give advice—just listen, ask questions and pray.
God will call you to do some things you're afraid of. Don't yield to your fear. Instead, step past your fear and do the thing God has called you to do. He'll give you the confidence you need as you go!
Becky Harling, an author, certified speaker, leadership coach and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, is an energetic and motivational international speaker inspiring audiences to overcome their greatest life challenges and reach their full God-given potential. Her most recent book is How to Listen So People Will Talk. Her husband, Steve Harling, is the president of Reach Beyond, a nonprofit organization seeking to be the voice and hands of Jesus around the world. Connect with Becky at beckyharling.com, Facebook or Twitter.
This article originally appeared at beckyharling.com.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.