Functioning with Fear


praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:18-20 NKJV)

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul acknowledges his need to continue to function as an ambassador for Christ. The problem is, he’s in chains because of his boldness and is surrounded by opposition. He needed a little help to overcome the impulse to remain silent. So he asks the church to pray for him to receive inspiration and boldness so he can speak about Christ as he ought to speak.

When we face challenges our natural reactions are either fight or flight. We either attack the source of our fears to save ourselves or we run from our fears to avoid them all together. I’d like to submit a third option; continue to function with fear. Don’t go on the attack. Don’t run and hide. Continue to do what needs to be done even though you’re afraid.

Here is an example from history. Centuries ago people believed the world was flat. Looking out over the horizon, sailors believed if they went too far out to sea they would fall off the edge of the world. Then finally, explorers ventured into the uncharted waters and proved the world was round. I’m sure there were sailors aboard those ships who were afraid. They were able to endure and overcome their fears and carry out their functions even while afraid. They were afraid but still gathered their supplies. They were afraid but they still boarded the ship. They were afraid of falling off the world but still raised their sails.

Paul’s life was in danger for sharing his faith but he still asks the church to pray for him to carry out his mission. Today we can learn from his example and seek the help of the Lord and other believers so we can function in the face of fear. Prayer, support, and inspiration from the Lord can strengthen our hearts in the face of oppositions and challenges. We may fear rejection but still ask. We may fear failure but still try. We fear losses but still take risks. As we move forward with God in the face of our fears, we will realize he won’t let us fall.

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