I think we tend to see the Apostle Paul as superhuman—a man that had no flesh pattern or struggle. We think that he operated on autopilot when it came to obeying the Lord Jesus.
He certainly knew the reality of Jesus Christ and God’s great love for him. But Paul also made it clear that he lived by faith and struggled with fear issues just like us. He spoke of his boldness and the courage God gave him many times in Scripture.
In Vietnam, I was in many situations where I was afraid, thinking of all the what ifs of the enemy. But that fear was overridden by the courage demonstrated by those around me.
Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s choosing to do what needs to be done even though fear is all around.
In Acts 18, Paul reached Corinth after being kicked out of several cities, and the Lord speaks to him about his fear.
“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.’” -Acts 18:9
It’s clear: Paul was afraid. And in 1 Corinthians, we learn just how afraid he was.
“I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” -1 Corinthians 2:3-5
Paul knew that even though he was afraid, he had a part he must play. He trusted that God would play His great part through His presence and power. It’s in God’s presence and power that Paul found confidence to speak. His message might not be filled with the most persuasive words, but Paul knew the Holy Spirit would deliver them with power and authority.
Is God with us today? Yes! Over and over again, He says, “I am with you,” but He will not do His part until we choose to do our part.
When we step into our fears, God goes to work. We can trust Him when we go public with the name of Jesus because this is His promise:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” -Matthew 28:18-20, emphasis added
Wow! Let’s go public with the love of Christ this week. Even though fear may blow its horn, doing whatever it can to stop us from acting on our Lord’s promise, we must trust that the Lord is with us and will do His part.
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John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.