Challenge of the Week: Be Courageous!

I've heard before that the one thing people fear more than death is public speaking. I've also been told that grape jelly tastes good on chicken. Whether either of these things are true, I am not sure - I will note that I'll never test the latter, though. Grape jelly on chicken? Seriously?

Anyway, back on topic (or, time to get on topic): whether it is true that people fear public speaking more than death or not, it illustrates how difficult we humans find many situations in our lives. As a Christian we can often find ourselves is the midst of fear. Fear of rejection when witnessing, fear of telling someone about Jesus, fear of making the wrong choice in a hard situation, the fear of appearing weak in faith to fellow Christians or friends...

We have a lot of things we can be afraid of. One of my biggest fears is misquoting the Bible - using the Word of God to suit my purposes, rather than God's. I also am always afraid when witnessing. There have been many times where I have felt the Spirit telling me to tell someone about God, to talk to them, and I have walked away, giving myself one of many excuses like, "Well, the person looked busy," or "That's a girl. I can't witness to a girl."

I've also been afraid when the world seems to be boxing me in. Bad stuff just keeps happening. I can't get a job. My grandfather just died. I get a huge bill from my student loan in the mail. Some of my old friends want me to hang out with them again, those friends who were a part of my life before I changed. When stuff like tis happens, it just always seems to feel like the world is crashing in on me, that someone or something is out to get me. When all this happens, my first reaction is to blame someone else. God is an easy one to blame, "God, why do you let all of this happen to me!" Or I blame my parents, "If they had raised me better, given me more chances, this wouldn't be happening!"

You know what I've found blaming someone does? It distracts me from overcoming my fear, from getting past those issues or problems in my life. It takes my focus off God, and His Word; the one book that has the answers I need.

During Wednesday night worship at my church we sang the song, "I Will Lift My Eyes" by Bebo Norman. The chorus of the song starts out with these lines:

I will lift my eyes to the Maker of the mountains I can't climb, I will lift my eyes to the Calmer of the oceans raging wild...

When we come to a situation that we fear, such as witnessing or making an important choice, they often are like huge, rocky mountains that can't be climbed. When things start happening in our lives and just keep piling up, and we have not idea what to do, and it seems like we are being boxed in from all sides; that's like being in a boat in the middle of an ocean, and it is raging wild - the boat is tossing and turning and we don't know what to do - we are afraid.

Pslam 16:8 says, "I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

All of the mountains in our lives are smaller than God, no matter how big they may seem. When we put the Lord before us - when we focus our eyes on Him (by staying in the Word, praying and worshiping), He we lead us through those mountains. Whether He does so by moving the mountain, taking us around it or showing us the way up the mountain, He will get us past that feat, that mountain in our life (Matt 17:20).

In Mark 4:35-40 we read how Jesus calms the storm on the sea of Galilee. In the same way, God has the power to calm any storm that is causing the sea to rage in our lives. And sometimes the storm won't calm all the way, but Jesus will keep us safe until the seas settle once again.

If you are going through times of trouble, or find a fear in your life that looms above you like a giant mountain, focus your eyes on God and follow the path He sets for you. Know that as a Christian, He is always with you.

In Christ's love,

Anthony DiGeorgio


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