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All of Israel waited anxiously at the edge of the wilderness. Moses had sent out 12 spies to scout the Promised Land (Deut 31)and now everyone wanted to hear the report. The spies reported it was just as God had said. A land filled with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8) and fruit so large that a cluster of grapes had to be carried on a pole between two of them.
But, 10 of the spies also reported that the people of the land were strong with large, fortified cities. The descendants of the Anak were there; descendants of giants. And so were the Amalekites and a whole host of other peoples that were stronger than them. Compared to the people of the land, the Israelites looked (to themselves) like grasshoppers.
Whenever this story is told, we focus on the incredible unbelief of the first generation of Israelites that came out of Egypt. But the underlying cause of their unbelief is fear. The Israelites were afraid to tackle the inhabitants of the land and it cost them the Promised Land. They had forgotten that with God’s help; they had already fought the Amalekites and won. They’d forgotten who God was and how powerful they were with Him on their side.
Fear is the one thing that will stop you from fulfilling your purpose. It will cost you your Promised Land. Once you start intentionally going after your purpose, you’re going to be confronted by fear. It will manifest in several ways:
- Fear of man: some people might not understand when you pursue God’s calling in your life. You may face criticism or be seen as a rebel especially if God asks you to leave a traditional path to pursue something unconventional.
- Fear of failure: this often masquerades as perfectionism or procrastination. It tells you that you are “doing it wrong” or that you don’t have what it takes to do what God has asked you to do.
- Fear of the unknown: God never gives you the full picture and many times you will have to step out of your comfort zone into the unknown. He might ask you to leave an area where you have years of expertise for something completely new.
- Fear of lack: this often comes with the fear of the unknown. It causes you to believe that God will not provide for you as you step into something new. E.g. God might ask you to leave a lucrative job to start your business or to go into full-time ministry.
The antidote for fear is God’s unconditional love. That’s why having an intimate relationship with Him is so important. His Perfect Love cast out fear. Knowing that He loves you unconditionally removes the fear of disappointing Him or “getting it wrong”. God is not waiting to punish you for your mistakes. He won’t abandon you. He’s right there with you and will course correct you when you make a mistake.
After 40 years, when the next generation of Israelites returned to the edge of the wilderness Moses encouraged them to Chazak! That means to be courageous. He reminded them that God was with them. Moses also told Joshua to be strong and courageous and in Joshua 1, Joshua is again encouraged to be strong and courageous; twice by the Lord Himself and then by the leaders of the tribes of Israel.
You do not have the spirit of fear. You have a spirit of power, love, and self-control. Don’t let the spirit of fear rob you of God’s promises.
PRAYER: Father, help me not to succumb to the fears that would keep me from fulfilling your calling on my life. Help me to trust You; to be strong and courageous. When I am fearful, help me to remember that You are with me and You promise never to leave me. With You, I can do all that you created me to do.
P.S If you haven’t yet signed up for the 7-Day Praying for Purpose Challenge, you can sign up here.
Deborah Ruck @ As Bold As THE Lion blog