Do Not Be Afraid
Lessons from Gideon
The first thing about Gideon's army is that they were an army of faith. The whole army was characterized by faith. How do we know that? The invitation was, "Let all the fearful go home." That leaves the believers, those who are not yielding to fear, but living by faith.
Fear is a terrible power that can captivate us and shape our lives. It can shape us as individuals; it can shape whole churches. Fear can dominate your life and affect your decisions; the things you do. In Revelation 21:8 the list of those who are left outside of God's ultimate glory begins with those who are fearful. The fearful are those who would not engage, those who would not open their minds, those who would not give the gospel a chance. John testifies of this when he says, "Many of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him for fear of being put out of the synagogue" (John 12:42).
Standing firm in the midst of fear
Gideon says, "All the fearful go home," but Gideon doesn't go home. Why not? Hebrews 11:34 tells us, "...out of weakness [he] became strong." Fear does not have to be the end of the story. We can step out from our fear, but this means that we must engage with faith. The church is not just for tough-guys who are naturally aggressive. In fact, God chooses the weak things. We find Jesus saying to people in all kinds of ways, "Fear not. Don't fear - only believe." You cannot do both at the same time. It's like an engine that runs on the same track, you cannot be both believing and fearing. Either one or the other is dominating your days: fear or faith. When Jesus says, "Fear not... you are of more value than many sparrows," He’s not just giving a teaching. He knows our frame, He knows our tendency, and He knows our vulnerability.
When Jairus comes to Jesus hoping for his daughter to be healed, and Jesus seems to get distracted with another person, the messenger says, "Don't trouble Him, it's all over." Jesus quickly turns and says to Jairus, "Don't be afraid, only believe. Your daughter will be well." When the disciples were in the storm on the Sea of Galilee, and the boat was ready to go under, and Jesus was apparently asleep, they said to Him, "Lord, don't you care that we are perishing?" Jesus turned and said to them, "Why are you so afraid you men of little faith?!" Sometimes Jesus is amazed that we are afraid. That's because He has committed Himself to us. Knowing this should give us great courage.
Paul says that Abraham was "...fully persuaded that what God had promised He would also perform." We must let God fully persuade us! We must be people who engage with faith, not giving In to fear. When we do this, we too become a part of the army of faith.