Recently I was with a team of Christian brothers at a meeting and at the close of the meeting a parting question was asked to all of us, and it was this, “What would you do in life or for the kingdom of God if you had no fear?” As I pondered that and reflected on my own life’s experiences I thought I’d write out my answer to that question in the hope that it will cause you to think of this question for yourself and to also encourage you to believe the promises of God and get the results that God has intended for your life. In no order of importance I’ll share what I would do, and did do, when faith triumphed over fear.
Marriage Many marriages fail. The result is heartache, heartbreak, dashed dreams, disappointments, financial setback, emotional trauma, and more. If I was afraid of this, I’d have never gotten married. But I did get married, at age 20, and I’ve been married for 34 years. Going God’s way in the marriage takes fear out of the equation. 1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Children It is often said by Christians and non-Christians alike, that “we don’t want to bring children into this messed up world.” The world has its problems, but God is bigger than these problems. Then we hear “how do you clothe and feed them, and what about braces and college, how can you afford that? What if you lose your job? Better to have one or two kids at the most…” Well, we have no fear in this area. We determined to let God have his way with us, and the result is we have eight kids. And guess what, all have gone to college, all gotten braces (who needed them), we’ve traveled all across the country and half of the kids have travelled overseas. So what’s to fear? God says it’s a blessing to have children. Psalm 127:4-5 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
Career In my experience I have found that there is nothing to fear in the world of employment and making a living. There are umpteen principles in the Bible that if followed will lead to success and prosperity in the working world. When I got married the economy was a mess. Today the economy is a mess. What is to fear? I am not depending on the economy, my faith is in God. Taking on risk and responsibility is not for the fearful, and even though others around me were smarter, quicker, faster, and went to better schools, I became the manager and then vice president, because God was with me and I was not fearful. Colossians 3:23-24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
Ministry I’ve always attended good churches with good leadership. There are opportunities to serve. One can be fearful and sit in the corner pew or you can square your shoulders and step up and see what the Lord will do in and through you. In my church past I’ve participated in street evangelism, teaching, preaching, drama, jail and prison ministry, ministering at homeless shelters, and more. Let the Good Lord use you in His service. I did, and I was not afraid, for I knew the leaders were good men and I knew God was with them and thus He was with me. Acts 18:9-10 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: 10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
Giving The fearful hoard all that they have, they consume it all upon themselves. Today many are broke and struggling, and the thought of giving to others or to the cause of Christ is something they are afraid to do, lest they don’t have enough for themselves. God has blessed my wife and me with a giving attitude. We have given away tens and tens of thousands of dollars over our life, much to our local church, much to the prison ministry, much to the poor, much to the stranger in our midst, must to friends, and much to other ministries over the years. We were not afraid to give, and we did give, and to this day we have plenty. Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
Home Ownership Presently there are many people in America who owe more on their home than it is worth. This is a shame indeed, and it is a grief to many. Yet America has learned from this mistake and markets are correcting. When I bought my home interest rates were very, very high. Rather than be fearful, we moved forward, looked a lot, studied, and a blessing came our way and we bought a home at a favorable rate and we paid off our 30 year mortgage in 22 years and live today without a mortgage. We counseled, kept our eyes open, and God made a way for us. He’ll make a way for you. Don’t be afraid. God will provide all that is needed. Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Leadership Being a leader makes one a target, a target of criticism, slander, and blame, to name a few. Who needs it? Look at any political figure, regardless of their testimony they are abused in word and print. If I was afraid of any of this, I’d just sit back and let things happen and do my own thing, take care of me and mine, never get involved, and for goodness sake I’d never want to lead. But fear is not my lot, nor is it the lot of any number of leaders I work with and know. Let the fearful hide in the bushes, but let the Christian community believe the promises of God and go forth and make a difference in work, home, community, and ministry, thinking clearly, making plans, rallying the forces of good, regardless of the cost. 2 Timothy 1:6-8 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.
Extra Work The Lord brings opportunities our way, we can take them or be fearful and reject them. The college I graduated at offered to me to teach a part of a course and I accepted. I worked day and night to prepare, and taught it. Then I was offered other parts of the course to teach, and I took them. Then I asked to teach more parts, until I was teaching the entire course. I learned a lot, studied a lot, and worked hard and was able to teach at this college for 10 years, teaching various courses and making some side income as well as improving my own technical as well as presentation skills. Look for opportunity and jump in with both feet, providing it’s congruent with who you are and your priorities are in line. 2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
Prison Work For 34 years I’ve been going into jails and prisons. Jails and prisons are no garden party. Yet our ministry team and our army of volunteers carry the Good News into jails, prisons, and juvenile institutions multiple times a week, week after week, year after year. It’s not a place for the fearful. There are things to be afraid of, but we place our trust in Christ Jesus, not fearing any man. If I was afraid I would not go into a high-risk environment like a prison, a place that has often been called the devil’s playground. Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Foreign Missions In America polio, malaria, and other diseases are eradicated. This is not the case in other parts of the world. In America we are ruled by law, not so in other parts of the world. In America we have clean water, immediate medical care – the best in the world, not so elsewhere. Add to that our prison ministry team goes to the hard places, places like Rwanda that had the horrific genocide in the 90s. We go to the Congo, where Goma City is the rape capital of the world, where we watched a UN helicopter gun ship fly over the prison courtyard we were ministering in. We go to Burundi, the poorest country on the planet, and we minister there amidst armed soldiers at checkpoints outside of the capital city. Then there is India, a beautiful country, but one that takes a toll on the emotions, the spirit, and the body. We go to the hard places, and I go to the hard places, because we are not afraid. Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Lest anyone think there is nothing I’m afraid of, let me list some things for you I am very much afraid of…
- Sin. Now this is an area where I’m scared to the core. Practicing sin, when you know it’s sin, and doing it anyway, ought to scare the beejeebers out of anyone. You should know that when you sin you will reap a harvest. Plant corn, grow corn. Sow to the wind, reap the whirlwind. Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
- I’m afraid of being undisciplined and losing my way; of being unaccountable and thus of no use to the work of the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
- Another healthy fear I have is of breaking the law. Romans 13:1-2 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
- I’m afraid of those that can influence me toward evil. Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
- I am afraid of buying into the world’s system and world’s way of thinking, that evil is good and good is evil, and then behaving in an immoral manner and thinking all is well with my soul. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
- Debt scares me greatly. Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. Proverbs 22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
- Irresponsibility is something I am afraid of. All I have worked for can be lost with a careless and irresponsible attitude. Proverbs 6:15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.
It is my belief, based on over three decades of serving God that the best thing a man can do for his family is to love Jesus Christ and serve him with his whole heart. This also goes for a man in the workplace, in the market, on the streets and in the community, and in the church and ministry. It has been said that there are over 10,000 promises in the Bible, yet too many in the Christian community live in fear, doubt, discouragement, depression and anxiety. Too many have not allowed the Holy Spirit to change them – they come into the kingdom of God with a background of gossip, laziness, apathy, selfishness, unforgiveness, revenge, and they go their entire Christian lives the same way. They never grew up. They never allowed the Word of God and the Spirit of God to change them. They remained as they were, including fearful.
Pity the poor Christian who gets to heaven one day and learns of all of the things their Heavenly Father wanted to do in and through them while they lived on earth, but couldn’t because the person didn’t allow it. The person would rather read pornography, drink and smoke and do drugs, watch things not unto edification, cheat on their taxes, lust after another man’s wife or property, continue to tell dirty jokes and use dirty language, find fault with any and everything, especially those in ministry and ministry leadership, and generally take up space but not advance the cause of Christ themselves.
The nation of Israel was getting the rod of correction, and they were being taken captive in Babylon. Not a happy time. The glad-handers prophesied that all was going to be well, that all was good, and that God was going to deliver them. But it was 70 years under the heel of the Babylonians. There was a real prophet in the land, Jeremiah, and he spoke the Word of God and said in Jeremiah 29:8-11 For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. 9 For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the Lord. 10 For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
God is the giver of good gifts, and wants to bless his people, you included. But when we sin and call our own shots we can expect that we’re going to get our brains beat in by the enemy of our soul, and the end result is ruin. I tell you from experience that if you live for Christ, operate within the borders of his commandments, and do right that great blessing will come your way and follow you all the days of your life. You can face anything. You can rise up and be the head and not the tail. God is well able to make a way for you and yours. Consider these All Things verses. All things doesn’t mean some things or for some people. These promises are for you – be not afraid!
- Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
- Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
- Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
- 3 John 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
- Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Even those few verses above should cause faith to rise up within you to dispel fear! What are you afraid of? Are you afraid to get married, to start a family, to embark on a career or make a career change? Are you afraid of taking responsibility? Are you afraid of ministry work, or giving, or taking a risk? What is it that you cannot do with God’s blessing upon you? Think about it! Four times in Genesis 39 the Bible says “The Lord was with Joseph.” Yet Joseph was sold into slavery, falsely accused, years in prison, and during all this time it sure didn’t look like God was with Joseph. Yet when you commit your life to God, then God is always with you, even through the trials, the dark times, the discouraging times, the uncertain times. You will know his presence. And because he is with us we can be bold as a lion. We can participate. We can stand at our battle stations in the kingdom of God and fulfill our calling.
Let not fear keep you from anything God is doing. Jump in. Find your giftings. Get busy. Enjoy the challenge, purpose, destiny, and joy of the real Christian life – a life where you are a participant and not a spectator. A life that is changed and is changing, a life that makes a difference, a life that knows what it’s like to have the Spirit of God dwelling within it. Don’t miss out because of fear. Be not afraid, for God is with you whether it’s family matters, or career, or ministry, or education, anything. Be not afraid!
So back to the original question, “What would I do in life or for the kingdom of God if I had no fear?” I would say that I would do just what I’m doing now, because I learned early out, and it’s been strengthened over time, to believe God’s promises, and I’m not afraid to move into uncertain territory, for God is with me. I am also persuaded that God is with you, and you too can live a life free from fear. Go for it beloved!