Does fear or opposition paralyze you? Would you like to have more courage in the face of oppostion? How did Deborah walk forward despite her fear and opposition? It was to lead her people into battle against the odds. Look at God’s command in Judges Chapter 4. It says,
10 At Kedesh, Barak called together the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, and 10,000 warriors went up with him. Deborah also went with him. Judges 4:10
So how was Deborah able to add so courageously? Here’s the key. She didn’t just become courageous at that instant. She had becoming courageous slowly and surely throughout her life. Courage isn’t a characteristic that you can just pull out of a hat when you need it. Courage is a habit developed over time by doing the little things courageously every day. Courage is a habit that is developed by repetition, by repeatedly advancing boldly despite your fear. Aristotle wrote this about character, “Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts. We become temperate by doing temperate acts, and we become brave by doing brave acts.” Sometimes we get it reversed. We think, “I need to become brave before I can do a brave act. I need to become courageous before I can do a courageous thing,” but that’s not the way it works. We have to do a courageous act before we become courageous. We are not born brave. We become brave. How? By doing the very things that we are afraid of. Want to know how to become brave? Do the very thing that you are most afraid of. As a result, you become courageous by doing what you are afraid to do and you don’t become courageous a second before you do that. Unfortunately, our natural tendency is to run away from our fears. Or we try to find a nifty way around them. When we do that, when we don’t face our fear, it leads to more fear and more regret and we still have that burden of fear no matter how many times we run from it. We have to face your fears head on and that’s why I love this quote by Robert Frost, “The best way out is always through.” When I take action to confront the area of greatest fear it does two things. First of all, when I confront the fear I will see that its not as bad as I imagined. Secondly, when I confront the fear head on I begin to develop more character and confidence. Don’t avoid it, go through it.
Here’s my challenge to myself. I want to confront my fears. What is your area of greatest fear? What is the area that is pinning you down and enslaving you the most, that you are afraid to move because of that fear? What is that fear? My challenge for myself and to you is to take action. Take the first step toward defeating that fear. Make that your number one thing to do. Don’t walk around another day with that burden of fear that is paralyzing you. Is there a phone call that you need to make? Is there a confrontation that you need to make? Is it a spiritual next step? What is your step to confront that fear? The next step to being wonderful…
Work with Others
Most difficult tasks require someone to help us. God tells Deborah to go to battle and that He will give Israel victory. So she goes to the commander of the Israelite army, Barak, and says—Barak, why don’t you take the army and go fight. He says—I’m not going to go unless you go. This is how Barak responds to Deborah in Judges 4:8-9.
8 Barak told her, “I will go, but only if you go with me.”
9 “Very well,” she replied, “I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture, for the Lord’s victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak… Judges 4:8-9
Barak wouldn’t go by himself, only if Deborah went with him. As a result, he lost the glory for the victory. But Deborah was prepared to go forward and obey God no matter what. That’s what her courage was. That was an exhibition of her courage. She was going to believe God and move forward despite her fears. Now, it’s easy to blame Barak. Right? He messed up. He should have gone forward and the victory would have been his. I really can’t blame him too much because in some ways I am like him. It’s scary to go out alone when no one will go with you. There is a saying, “Life is a team sport, and it’s best done together.” You don’t have to live your life all by yourself. You don’t have to try to be a person of faith and do it all by yourself. There is a church here that wants to help you do that. The best way to have people in life that encourage you and support you is to get connected in a group. When we act in wonderful ways we get to experience wonderful things. Like
Watching God Give the Victory
What is the result of Deborah’s faith?
14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Get ready! This is the day the Lord will give you victory over Sisera, for the Lord is marching ahead of you.” So Barak led his 10,000 warriors down the slopes of Mount Tabor into battle.
15 When Barak attacked, the Lord threw Sisera and all his chariots and warriors into a panic… 16 Then Barak chased the chariots and the enemy army… killing all of Sisera’s warriors. Not a single one was left alive. Judges 4:14-16
When we advance in spite of our fears, God steps in and helps and we become stronger and braver. Today is the day for us to step outside of your comfort zone because remaining where we are does us no good. Fear paralyzes us. When we don’t move, we end up missing out on what God has for us. Don’t be afraid to move forward with your life. Don’t be afraid of what the future holds if you step out of your comfort zone to obey God. What is it that is holding you back? What is your area of greatest fear, where God is asking you to act? Is God is asking you to step outside of your comfort zone in a certain area? Believe what God says and believe that He will provide for you if you will obey. Recognize that your fears aren’t from God, that they are doubts placed in your life to keep you from experiencing God’s best in your life. Then walk forward against the fears by taking action. And then if you have to, venture alone, but rely on your church family and your Connect group to support and encourage you whenever possible. Realize that you don’t have to do life alone. Then finally, expect God’s victory. Decide you are going to take the first step to obeying God and stepping outside of your comfort zone today. God doesn’t want you to live your live cowering in the corner. That’s not freedom, that’s slavery. Join me in living a courageous life where we experience God’s very best for our lives.