I read the first 12 chapters of Joshua yesterday. It gave me an idea.
The book of Joshua picks up right after the death of Moses. The Israelites are finally ready to enter into the promised land, and their new leader is a guy named Joshua. In the first chapter of the book, God is speaking to Joshua about what is going to happen. God tells Joshua that they will enter into the land, that no one will be able to stand in their way, and that God will be with them. The only condition is that the Israelites need to be courageous and keep the law that was given to them through Moses. If they do so, God tells them they will be successful wherever they go. In verse 9 God finishes this dialogue with “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Italics mine.)
A command to be strong and courageous. A command not to fear or be dismayed. That almost sounds harder than some of the other commands we hear in the Old Testament. Fear is an emotional reaction to something that is often outside of our control. The last time I was afraid of something I don’t remember stopping and asking myself: Do I want to be afraid? I was simply afraid. On the other hand, the command to not murder comes down to a conscious choice: Should I kill that person or not? (No.) Come on God! How am I supposed to not be afraid of something?!
The more I thought about it, though, I realized that God answers that question directly in verse 9. How are you to avoid fear? Because you will know that God is with you wherever you go.
Now here is the idea I had: What if we lived our lives without letting fear govern our decisions? Or, maybe more simply, what if we tried to live just one day without letting fear guide our decisions? What would our life look like then?
Just to clarify, I am not asking what if we just went crazy for a day and drove 100 mph backward with no seatbelt on. No, that is not the type of fearless living I am considering. By all means, continue to be intelligent adults. The type of fearless life I am talking about is the one where we trust that God loves us and there isn’t anything we can do to ruin that, where we understand that everyone around us is broken and that our sins and faults are no worse than anyone else’s, where we are willing to be honest with ourselves and each other about where we are struggling and need help, and where we aren’t afraid of what people are going to think of us. What if we lived a whole day like that? Do you feel the hope building inside of you at the thought of that freedom? Me too.
So let’s do it. This Monday, March 5, I am declaring a Day Without Fear. Challenge yourself to trust God in every aspect of your life. Talk to that person you’ve been meaning to. Tell someone that thing you’ve been meaning to say. Give that donation you’ve been meaning to give. Tell that person you love how special they are to you. Express you love for God in that way you’ve been afraid to. Go to that event you’ve been avoiding.
Ultimately, trust God and trust yourself. If you find yourself holding something back for fear of judgment, step into that fear and ask God to meet you there. The Israelites conquered kingdoms when they were fearless. Imagine what we could do.
Written by Chris Sherman