The 90s saw the beginnings of beach and surf wear becoming all the rage. Before Billabong and Quicksilver came onto the scene in a big way, there were Maui, Ocean Pacific and my personal favorite, No Fear.

I used to love the No Fear logo because it made me feel like I could be invincible. Those red eyes and the deathly stare suggested that no matter what happened to me, no matter who or what I came up against, I could be like that logo and not have any fear. I liked it so much in fact, I had a big decal made and stuck it right down the sides of my very first car. What an immature young boy I was.

But for many of us, we have that ‘something’ we always do to psyche ourselves into overcoming jitters and butterflies. Whether it be deep breathing or meditation, we have our own ways of coping with fear and anxiety. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could eradicate fear from our lives completely? Well, with time, experience and faith, we can. Let’s see why.

“The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25

During the second world war, Japanese Kamikaze pilots had a ritual of sorts that they would go through before they took off for what would be their final mission; and it involved drinking and a photo of the emperor.

You see, they were about to give their lives by nose-diving their planes into enemy targets, so I am sure that there would be more than a few butterflies in their stomachs before they did that. In order to psyche themselves for their impending doom, they had to find a reason to justify their sacrifice, a reason why their deaths would be meaningful; and ultimately, a reason why they had no need for fear. And what was their reason? Death in the service of king and country.

Now, I am not suggesting that we tie bandannas around our heads and drink to photos of our leaders before we drive ourselves to our deaths each time we are afraid. But we can learn a thing or two from those pilots; because when we are afraid, when fear creeps in, when troubles start to swirl around us, keeping single-minded focus on the fact that

“…whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25

Will certainly help.

You see, when you are afraid of someone or something, what do you do? Primal instinct dictates ‘flight’ or ‘fight’. But if you haven’t already realized it, both those options do not lead us into the solution. First of all, running away just delays the inevitable and it doesn’t really solve the problem. Let me show you why.

We have a conscript army over in our part of the world and my grandfather, being the doting gramps that he was, was afraid that life in the army would be too tough for his precious protected grandson. So what did he do? He hatched a plan in which I would be adopted by my aunt’s family who had emigrated so that I could renounce my citizenship and avoid serving the nation. Creative wasn’t he?

But think about the consequences. Conscription happened at 18. So that meant that I would have to leave the country, and my family, way before that. And since doing that amounted to desertion, I could never again step into my home country, because I would be arrested at the checkpoints, even though I had become the citizen of a foreign country. That was just the way things were here.

So that was ‘flight’. And in truth, though it solved one problem, it would have created a whole host of others for the rest of my life, wouldn’t it?

Now, let’s talk about ‘fight’. I had a colleague who, like me, got hot under the collar a little too easily. When we were in school together, we had a rubbish Principal. Being the way that he was, he would get into regular fights with the Principal that often ended up with furniture being broken. In the end, he still had to face up to his worst fears of being graded poorly; and to make things worse, he had to face disciplinary action for his actions. So ‘fight’ doesn’t really solve problems either, does it?

So what then? Let’s take a lesson from Paul.

Paul had a habit of being thrown into prison.

“One day, on our way to the place of prayer, a slave girl ran into us. She was a psychic and, with her fortunetelling, made a lot of money for the people who owned her. She started following Paul around, calling everyone’s attention to us by yelling out, “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!” She did this for a number of days until Paul, finally fed up with her, turned and commanded the spirit that possessed her, “Out! In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of her!” And it was gone, just like that.
When her owners saw that their lucrative little business was suddenly bankrupt, they went after Paul and Silas, roughed them up and dragged them into the market square. Then the police arrested them and pulled them into a court with the accusation, “These men are disturbing the peace—dangerous Jewish agitators subverting our Roman law and order.” By this time the crowd had turned into a restless mob out for blood.
The judges went along with the mob, had Paul and Silas’s clothes ripped off and ordered a public beating. After beating them black-and-blue, they threw them into jail, telling the jailkeeper to put them under heavy guard so there would be no chance of escape. He did just that—threw them into the maximum security cell in the jail and clamped leg irons on them.” Acts 16:16-24 [MSG]

What injustice. It wasn’t even his fault and he got thrown into jail. But was he afraid? No. Was it because Paul had no emotion? Clearly from the excerpt, far from. So what was his coping mechanism? Was it ‘fight’?

“Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose.
Startled from sleep, the jailer saw all the doors swinging loose on their hinges. Assuming that all the prisoners had escaped, he pulled out his sword and was about to do himself in, figuring he was as good as dead anyway, when Paul stopped him: “Don’t do that! We’re all still here! Nobody’s run away!”
The jailer got a torch and ran inside. Badly shaken, he collapsed in front of Paul and Silas. He led them out of the jail and asked, “Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved, to really live?” They said, “Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you’ll live as you were meant to live—and everyone in your house included!”
They went on to spell out in detail the story of the Master—the entire family got in on this part. They never did get to bed that night. The jailer made them feel at home, dressed their wounds, and then—he couldn’t wait till morning!—was baptized, he and everyone in his family. There in his home, he had food set out for a festive meal. It was a night to remember: He and his entire family had put their trust in God; everyone in the house was in on the celebration.” Acts 16:25-34 [MSG]

Not even close. In fact, Paul brought the saving grace of our Father to the very people who jailed him. And it wasn’t ‘flight’ either because even though he could have run, he didn’t, twice.

“At daybreak, the court judges sent officers with the instructions, “Release these men.” The jailer gave Paul the message, “The judges sent word that you’re free to go on your way. Congratulations! Go in peace!”
But Paul wouldn’t budge. He told the officers, “They beat us up in public and threw us in jail, Roman citizens in good standing! And now they want to get us out of the way on the sly without anyone knowing? Nothing doing! If they want us out of here, let them come themselves and lead us out in broad daylight.” Acts 16:35-37 [MSG]

Not only that, he even had the guts to demand what was tantamount to an apology from his captors. So how is it that he had no fear? Because beloved, he remembered that Jesus had said,

“I’m speaking to you as dear friends. Don’t be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.” Luke 12:4-5 [MSG]
Indeed, when we fear man, “The fear of man brings a snare,…” Proverbs 29:25

Because “Fearing human beings is a snare;…” Proverbs 29:25 [CJB]

Since “The fear of human opinion disables;…” Proverbs 29:25 [MSG]

There is no coincidence that the expression is ‘frozen with fear’ because if you have ever been thoroughly petrified, you will know that even moving your limbs is impossible.

Yet, if we think about it, why need we fear the things we do? So the bank forecloses on your property. There are always shelters. So your boss kicks you out of the company with a bad report. There are always other companies you could work for. So the doctors think your cancer is terminal. Remember,

“For we know that if the earthly tent [our physical body] which is our house is torn down [through death], we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 2 Corinthians 5:1 [AMP]

So instead of fear, we should say,

“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8

Really thing about it, what is the worst thing that those whom you fear and those which you fear could ever do to you? Especially now, when you know that because you have put your faith in Jesus,

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

And not only that, by that act alone, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross has become, for us, of full effect in removing our sins,

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

So now, not only does God, your Creator and Author of your life, have no reason to be upset with you, much less smite you; God your Father, who sacrificed Jesus for you, is smiling at you with love. So really, what is there to be afraid of?

Beloved, remember.

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Don’t let this world distract you with fear. Focus your attention on the truth of His love for you. Picture the intangible reality that He is smiling at you and remember,

“Fearing human beings is a snare;
but he who trusts in Adonai will be raised high [above danger].” Proverbs 29:25 [CJB]

For Adonai has promised,

“I’ve been carrying you on my back
from the day you were born,
And I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old.
I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray.
I’ve done it and will keep on doing it,
carrying you on my back, saving you.” Isaiah 46:3-4 [MSG]

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