Facing Our Fears

Learning to face our fears and overcome challenges bring great rewards. Jesus promises us a rewarding life, not an easy one.

Facing Our Fears

May 7, 2020

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.– Eleanor Roosevelt

Teacher Appreciation Week officially began on Monday. When asked to share about my favorite teacher, I immediately thought of Mr. Blubaugh who taught Physics at my high school. 

After I bombed the first test of his class, I worried my grade point average would tank and limit my college scholarship chances. So I decided to drop Physics and replace it with Chemistry. 

But Mr. Blubaugh refused to approve the switch. He simply would not allow me to drop his class just because I was “less afraid of Chemistry than Physics”. He promised I would earn an “A” if I stayed in his class.

Everyday, he met with me in the Student Commons and patiently rehashed the lessons and guided me through the assignments.

I can’t say I developed a love for Physics, but Mr. Blubaugh taught me a life lesson which has served me well: facing fears and overcoming challenges bring deep rewards.

As I thought about this time in my life, I couldn’t help but draw a comparison to the Christian walk. 

In the gospel of Mark we meet a man who received a special invitation from Jesus. This young man asked Jesus something we all have wondered: what must I do to obtain eternal  life?”

Jesus responded with a partial list of the commandments:

You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not cheat others, honor your father and mother.’” (Mark 10:19 NIV)

The young man quickly claimed to have followed these commandments since his youth. Although Jesus did not contradict him, He did, in love, point out what the young man lacked:

Jesus looked at him, loved him, and said to him, “There is one thing you lack: Go, sell everything you own and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” 

But the man was saddened by these words and went away in sorrow, because he had great wealth. (Mark 10:21-22 NIV)

When I first read this passage, I couldn’t help but wonder if Jesus calls all of us to such a radical challenge? Over the years, I’ve gained some perspective.

Many Bible scholars point out the commandments kept by the young man focus on relationships with other people. But when Jesus asked the young man to let go of his wealth, and to trust God, he couldn’t. He failed to love God more than he loved his wealth. 

In the end, he chose the security of the life he knew over the challenge to follow Jesus. In reality, the young man feared following Jesus more than he feared losing eternal life. Because of this, he also lost the rewards:

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for My sake and for the gospel will fail to receive a hundredfold in the present age—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, along with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29 NIV) 

While Jesus may not ask us to physically give up our wealth and possessions, He does ask us to place our security in Him, and only Him. This will mean different things for each of us, depending on where we find our security.

Jesus often leads me out of my comfort zone where I can no longer depend only on the talents and gifts He gave me. He leads me to places where I risk failure, which is what I fear most of all. 

I’m grateful Jesus has never allowed me to retreat from a challenge, but has always called me to follow Him through it. Because of Him, I’ve experienced success in areas I never dreamt possible. Spiritual growth and a deeper relationship with Him are great rewards for obedience.

Although He promises to reward us for following Him, He also tells us there will be persecutions. Translated from the greek word, diōgmós, persecution refers to being hunted down in an effort to suppress or punish convictions. 

Jesus makes it very clear: when we follow Him, we will experience our share of hardships and challenges. But He promises it will be worth the trouble. Jesus calls us to a rewarding life, not an easy one. For this reasons:

Never let fear chase away a challenge.

Wherever following Jesus leads us this week, I pray we can face our fears, overcome the challenges, and experience the rewards. 

Facing Our Fears

May 7, 2020

Learning to face our fears and overcome challenges bring great rewards. Jesus promises us a rewarding life, not an easy one.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.– Eleanor Roosevelt

Teacher Appreciation Week officially began on Monday. When asked to share about my favorite teacher, I immediately thought of Mr. Blubaugh who taught Physics at my high school. 

After I bombed the first test of his class, I worried my grade point average would tank and limit my college scholarship chances. So I decided to drop Physics and replace it with Chemistry. 

But Mr. Blubaugh refused to approve the switch. He simply would not allow me to drop his class just because I was “less afraid of Chemistry than Physics”. He promised I would earn an “A” if I stayed in his class.

Everyday, he met with me in the Student Commons and patiently rehashed the lessons and guided me through the assignments.

I can’t say I developed a love for Physics, but Mr. Blubaugh taught me a life lesson which has served me well: facing fears and overcoming challenges bring deep rewards.

As I thought about this time in my life, I couldn’t help but draw a comparison to the Christian walk. 

In the gospel of Mark we meet a man who received a special invitation from Jesus. This young man asked Jesus something we all have wondered: what must I do to obtain eternal  life?”

Jesus responded with a partial list of the commandments:

You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not cheat others, honor your father and mother.’” (Mark 10:19 NIV)

The young man quickly claimed to have followed these commandments since his youth. Although Jesus did not contradict him, He did, in love, point out what the young man lacked:

Jesus looked at him, loved him, and said to him, “There is one thing you lack: Go, sell everything you own and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” 

But the man was saddened by these words and went away in sorrow, because he had great wealth. (Mark 10:21-22 NIV)

When I first read this passage, I couldn’t help but wonder if Jesus calls all of us to such a radical challenge? Over the years, I’ve gained some perspective.

Many Bible scholars point out the commandments kept by the young man focus on relationships with other people. But when Jesus asked the young man to let go of his wealth, and to trust God, he couldn’t. He failed to love God more than he loved his wealth. 

In the end, he chose the security of the life he knew over the challenge to follow Jesus. In reality, the young man feared following Jesus more than he feared losing eternal life. Because of this, he also lost the rewards:

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for My sake and for the gospel will fail to receive a hundredfold in the present age—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, along with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29 NIV) 

While Jesus may not ask us to physically give up our wealth and possessions, He does ask us to place our security in Him, and only Him. This will mean different things for each of us, depending on where we find our security.

Jesus often leads me out of my comfort zone where I can no longer depend only on the talents and gifts He gave me. He leads me to places where I risk failure, which is what I fear most of all. 

I’m grateful Jesus has never allowed me to retreat from a challenge, but has always called me to follow Him through it. Because of Him, I’ve experienced success in areas I never dreamt possible. Spiritual growth and a deeper relationship with Him are great rewards for obedience.

Although He promises to reward us for following Him, He also tells us there will be persecutions. Translated from the greek word, diōgmós, persecution refers to being hunted down in an effort to suppress or punish convictions. 

Jesus makes it very clear: when we follow Him, we will experience our share of hardships and challenges. But He promises it will be worth the trouble. Jesus calls us to a rewarding life, not an easy one. For this reasons:

Never let fear chase away a challenge.

Wherever following Jesus leads us this week, I pray we can face our fears, overcome the challenges, and experience the rewards. 

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