How to Face Your Battle with Fear Courageously
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand’” (Isaiah 41:10).
It’s an admonition repeated often in Scripture as God encouraged His people to take control of their emotions and overcome them. “Fear not” is neither an accusation of cowardice, nor gaslighting in a dangerous situation; it is the assurance that God is present, and therefore, all will be well.
True, our fears can be baseless and irrational:
What if eating that cookie makes me gain 10 pounds?
What if I get sucked into the airplane toilet bowl when I flush?
What if the elevator door won’t open and I suffocate?
What if there is a monster under my bed waiting to pounce on me when the lights are turned off?
Fear can also be real and rational when actual facts pose reasonable potential outcomes:
The company is laying people off . . . what if I’m next?
I found a lump . . . what if it’s cancer?
We’re constantly fighting . . . what if we divorce?
This is a giant obstacle . . . what if I fail?
Whether our fears are childish and irrational, or real and quite rational, God wants us to face anything that paralyses us and may possibly prevent us from fulfilling what God wants for us.
We All Must Fight the Battle of Mikmash
“One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, ‘Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.’ But he did not tell his father. Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left. On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez and the other Seneh. One cliff stood to the north toward Mikmash, the other to the south toward Geba. Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, ‘Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.’ ‘Do all that you have in mind,’ his armor-bearer said. ‘Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.’ Jonathan said, ‘Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.’ So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. ‘Look!’ said the Philistines. ‘The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.’ The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, ‘Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.’ So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, ‘Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.’ Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre. Then panic struck the whole army — those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties — and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God” (1 Samuel 14:1-15).
In 1 Samuel 14:1-15, King Saul and the army of Israel were engaged in a war against their archenemy, the Philistines. The Philistines had amassed an arsenal of 3,000 chariots, 6,000 charioteers and “as many warriors as the grains of sand on the seashore.”
Moreover, the Philistines had many spears and swords, but the army of Israel had just two, one owned by Jonathan, and the other owned by his father, King Saul. Most of the people were hiding in caves or fled to other lands, fearing for their lives; only 600 soldiers remained by Saul’s side.
Because of this major military disadvantage – the very real, very dangerous situation facing them at Mikmash – fear had gripped the hearts of the entire Israelite nation. Prince Jonathan saw this and decided to take action to overcome fear and become mighty for God.
And like anyone who becomes mighty for God, we must power up with the tools necessary to defeat fear.
Have Faith in What God Has Given You
People who fulfill their God-given purpose realize that what God has given them is more than enough to get the job done, and to overcome any obstacle the enemy puts in their path.
Jesus told the disciples to give 5,000 men and their families dinner. The disciples assumed they didn’t have enough money to accomplish that. Philip, however, in a moment of faith, said well, there is a little boy over there who has five barely loaves and two small fish.
But then it appears fear kicked in and he said, But what are they among so many that everyone could get even just a little?
Jesus took the bread, held it up to the Father, gave thanks, and broke it for the disciples to distribute. Everyone ate till they were stuffed, and the disciple collected twelve basketfuls of scraps. What they had was more than enough to get the job done.
Which brings me back to Jonathan.
At that time in history, the Philistine army had cornered the blacksmithing market in the region, so that the only way an Israelite could get a sword was to go buy one from the Philistines.
It’s the way the enemy fights; first he disarms you. And the only way he can disarm you is if you allow him to take the weapons God has given you! “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds…” (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Don’t let him take your integrity and godly character.
Don’t let him take your prayer life or connection with your church.
Don’t let him take your hopes and dreams.
Don’t let him take your joy and praise life.
So the Philistines had many swords and Jonathan had one. The Philistines had chariots and charioteers, and Jonathan had to climb up using his arms and legs. The Philistines had many men, Jonathan had his armorbearer. But Jonathan had faith in what God had given him, and the two men killed twenty Philistines and kicked off Israel’s unlikely victory over the Philistines at Mikmash.
Like Jonathan, what God has put in you and entrusted to you, is not “just enough,” it’s more than enough. Fear is no match for what God has given you!
Have Faith in Godly Friends
“Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, ‘Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few’” (1 Samuel 14:6-7).
Jonathan didn’t have a lot of support to do what he knew had to be done. The army was not acting, the people were hiding. He could have felt lonely, betrayed, or be left wondering why there weren’t more people supporting him in his time of need.
Some people are meant only for a season of your story, some are sent to interrupt your story, and then there are those whom God will send to shift your story!
Jonathan had just one of those – just one person he could lean on, who would stand by him and fight with him.
Jonathan had just one person that would encourage him, help build his faith, and had his back.
What the Battle of Mikmash also teaches us is that you don’t need a lot of people with you. You only need the right people, the God-sent people, who have your same values, same morals, same love for God and same objectives. By these traits you can know and have faith in your God-sent friends. Remember, “can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
When Jonathan faced the dangerous situation at Mikmash, he was encouraged and had faith in the friend that God had sent with him. And after they won the battle and Israel had hope restored that they could indeed prevail, the rest of the people in the caves came out and joined the fight. Jonathan went from loneliness, to lots of “friends”!
Take a Step of Faith
“’All right, then,’ Jonathan told him. ‘We will cross over and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Stay where you are or we’ll kill you,’ then we will stop and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come on up and fight,’ then we will go up. That will be the Lord’s sign that he will help us defeat them.’ When the Philistines saw them coming, they shouted, ‘Look! The Hebrews are crawling out of their holes!’” (1 Samuel 14:8-11).
In the natural, this is not a good military strategy – let them see us. It’s not safe nor smart, but it is a step of faith. Jonathan must have remembered the words of the prophet Samuel:
“Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, ‘If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.’ So the children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only” (1 Samuel 7:3).
But the Word that Jonathan heard did not look like the world he saw. Fear stood in the way of the promise that God gave, so he had take a bold stand and walk by faith to defeat that fear.
Fear is no match for a step of faith, and it always initiates the response of God.
You can overcome any fear when you count Him as faithful! God wants to intervene, God wants to deliver, God wants to save, God wants to show up, God wants to show himself strong. But in order for God to step in we must step out!
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
This verse goes to the heart of who God is. Indeed, it could be better translated, a person that comes to God must believe He is faithful, and to those who believe He is faithful, He responds.
Don’t lose hope when things look bad, or when life takes a puzzling twist. Don’t lose hope when what you see around you has gripped you in fear.
Don’t lose hope – because He that promised is faithful. When we step out in faith, God will respond and free us from the fear of our scary circumstances.
“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
That means, fear of calamity, persecution, hunger or lack is no match for the faithfulness of God. And fear of danger, death, or the devil himself is no match for the faithfulness of God.
Neither fear for today or fear about tomorrow, whether real and rational, or childish and irrational – no fear is a match for the faithfulness of God!
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Massonstock
Frank Santora is Lead Pastor of Faith Church, a multi-site church with locations in Connecticut and New York. Pastor Frank hosts a weekly television show, “Destined to Win,” which airs weekly on the Hillsong Channel and TBN. He has authored thirteen books, including the most recent, Modern Day Psalms and Good Good Father. To learn more about Pastor Frank and this ministry, please visit www.franksantora.cc. Photo by Michele Roman.