Has fear ever prevented you from doing something you wanted to do? Has fear been an excuse not to do something that you needed to do? If you are human, then the answer to both those questions is a resounding "Yes!" Yet you may be waiting for an absence of fear before you act and that will never happen. You need to learn to function in the midst of fear if you are to be a person of purpose. Let's go back to Gideon's life this week to see how he handled his fear to become a hero of the faith.
When we first meet Gideon, he is hiding from the Midianites, trying to eke out some food for his family in the midst of their oppression:
The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior" (Judges 6:11-12).
God identified Gideon as a mighty warrior, yet Gideon saw himself as a poor farmer who was working for minimum wages. The first lesson in how to deal with fear is: You can't always trust the perspective you have of yourself. The way out of that problem is to learn to trust what someone else sees in you, such as a friend, mentor or coach.
Then Gideon uttered the standard complaint when confronted with a seemingly impossible task: "But Lord," Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family."The Lord answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together" (Judges 6:15-16). The second lesson is to remember that you are not alone. You and God constitute a majority no matter how many people oppose you.
NIGHT TIME RAID
So then God gave Gideon his first assignment to tear down his father's altars to a false god. Gideon obeyed, but notice how he did it: "So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime" (Judges 6:27).
Gideon did what he had to do, but he did in a way that worked for him. He went at night because he was afraid. The important thing, however, is that he obeyed. That is the third lesson: He acted even though he was afraid. He didn't wait for his fears to go away; Gideon did the best he could to obey the Lord and God helped him.
This leads me to ask you the questions: What are you afraid of? What is hindering you from moving forward to fulfill your dreams and purpose? What can you learn from Gideon that can help you this week to do something, even if it's at night or in a way that is less than noble? The important thing is that you learn how to act even though you may be afraid, for fear is not a good excuse to disobey what God has put in your heart to do. Take courage this week and see what you can do in spite of your fears.