(By Ray Gano) I got the following email from a long-time reader that he allowed me to share with you.
I want to thank you for the articles you have written on being a better person for the Lord, especially the servant warrior ones. I really enjoyed your bible studies that you were conducting on that series and I personally grew as a Christian and being a better husband.
There is one area though in my life that I have been struggling with, how to deal with my fear.
In your last article “Awaken O Sleeper” you wrote something very deeply profound, at least it was to me.
“We have been beaten down so much, we have lost the will to fight, but more than that, we have forgotten how to fight and what it means to be in a fight.
In fact, if truth be told, I really do not see us being afraid of the children of Satan, standing up to these degenerates probably does not scare us.
What we fear is the fight itself, because we have forgotten how to fight or what it is like to fight.”
Here is my problem that hopefully you can shed some light on. I am afraid of the fight and because of that fear, I am doing nothing and I hate that fact. Every time I try to not to fear, it wells up inside me and prevents me from taking any action at all. Be it talking to someone about our Lord or taking on some hater at work.
It is like the spirit is willing, but when I take the first step, suddenly, the flesh just crumbles.
I really do not know how to combat this fear that prevents me from taking action. I feel like the coward, but I know deep down I am not.
Please give me advise so that I can stand.
Sincerely – A Fellow Servant Warrior – John D.
I want to thank John for allowing me to share this with the world. See, I know that there are other “Johns” and “Janes” out there that feel the exact same way.
Truth be told, I to feel that way at times as well. What I have learned though is how to press through it and build those “courage muscles.”
Some of you may know that I am a Sci-Fi buff and have been one for a long time. In my college days I remember reading a book by Frank Herbert titled “Dune.” Some of you may have read it and understand it is some quasi-wanna-be messiah sort of story. I thought the first few books were good and then it just went off into the sci-fi deep end and became rubbish.
The one thing that influenced me from this book was the “Litany Against Fear.”
It starts out like this… “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration…”
It then goes into some mumbo jumbo junk that I just choose not to remember. But this first part has stuck with me all these years since college.
Like it or not, for a hokey sci-fi story, this rings true. Fear is a mind killer and it prevents us from acting when the Holy Spirit is prompting us to do so.
We may not see it as fear at the moment, but once we boil that moment down to what it really is, we come to realize that our fear, once again, got the best of us.
John asks… So how do you combat this?
Simple, you practice courage.
But to do that, one must understand what true courage is. True courage is having the internal fortitude to stand up for what you believe is right, even it if means being ridiculed by opposition or possibly facing peril and danger.
Someone is not born with courage, it is something that is developed over time. Your parents have a big role in helping you develop this when you are young, but once you hit your teenage years you start developing it yourself. It is a bar / standard that you maintain. Situations will be placed in your path that will either strengthen your courage or sidetrack you, thus lowering your standards.
We have all seen this take place in our lives. When you stand up to the obstacles, your courage grows, when you give in, your courage weakens.
The great thing about developing your courage is that you can take baby steps with everyday situations.
It is amazing how just saying “NO” helps build your courage.
John Wayne said the following … “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
Mark Twain also defined courage with these words…” Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not an absence of fear.”
All these saying are fine and dandy… Fear is the mind killer, saddle up, and so forth and they are “truth.”
But what they are not, is absolute truth, and that is how we as Christians grow our courage.
They also have one thing lacking, they rely on self or the person and we as Christians KNOW that when we lean on the self, we will probably, if not always fail.
When fear sets in, the mind is in chaos. No matter what “we” do as the self, odds are that the chaos will continue.
So Here Is My Secret To Battling Fear And The Chaos The Mind Creates…
I recite the 23rd Psalm.
I love the 23rd chapter of Psalms. It speaks to me on so many levels. It helps settle the turbulence that is in my heart when I read the horrible goings on in the world. It also helps me to remember that HE, God the Father is still in charge and that HE will see us through.
Knowing that The Lord is my shepherd is comforting. At times the weight of the world sits so heavy on my shoulders. That is when this chapter helps me realize what I really am and who is really in charge.
This is something that all of us need today. The world is so hard and it seems like it is pressing in harder and harder on us daily with all the trials and tribulations that we as Christians endure. I am reminded again of His Grace. It is sufficient for us and is there for us even in our darkest times. He sees us through and restores our soul.
JOHN – you fear because you are leaning on your own self. By ourselves we can only muster a small amount of courage. That is the problem you, me and others constantly face. We are trying to do it ourselves.
We need to stop leaning on our own internal courage, and learn to lean on God’s Courage that is within each and every one of us who claim that we are sons and daughters of God Almighty.
Our own personal courage will take us only so far before we hit that wall where the fear starts to override and the chaos takes hold. That is what you are running up against John.
What we must do is learn to lean on God’s Courage and once you learn how to do that, and it takes time to learn… step by step; suddenly you see yourself doing things that you thought you never would have done before. Standing up to hateful people, putting your foot down to situations that are not right in the eyes of God, having the boldness to proclaim the Gospel to that one person the Lord has led you to speak too.
How you do that is by reciting the 23rd Psalm.
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Every time I feel the world coming down on me I recite it to myself in my mind. I also recite Proverbs 3:5-6.
Both of these ground me and clear away the chaos that our minds like to create when we allow them to think on their own.
G.K Chesterton who was a lay theologian back in the Victorian years once said…
“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.”
Here is some insight. If I did not live my life for The Lord and truly dedicate my life to Him, then the above would be very difficult to understand. But because I have truly dedicated my life to Him, then living my life for Him with all that I have is a possibility. Even if I am called to give the ultimate sacrifice.
JOHN – I guess what you need to ask yourself is” have you truly dedicated your life to the Lord and submitting to Him as your sovereign king. No King but King Jesus.
There are Christians who are sheep, and they are what they are and they love God in their own sheepy way.
But God is sifting and raising up the Christians who are to become His Servant Warriors.
I constantly say “He died for me… My life for Him.”
Those of us who are called understand that we are not perfect, in fact, probably most of us resemble Peter. Who was always wanting to do the right thing, but blowing nine times out of ten.
So, we fall a lot, get dirty and some get really dirty, but what makes us, The Servant Warrior, different is that we always get back up again, still ready to serve despite the many faults we have.
The wonderful thing is that once we get to that point of submitting to the absolute truth, there is a freedom that is hard to explain.
AND… it is in that freedom where the courage lies along with all the other virtues of being part of a very special group of people…. The Servant Warrior.
It isn’t a role John, it is a journey that few of us are chosen to walk. It is an wonderful adventure that my wife and I continue to this day.
The fact that God has called us back to the US is just part of being on that Servant Warrior path.
There are great things in store for us John.
I hope that what I have said has made sense to you and encourages you.
I also hope that one day our paths will cross and that we can share our Servant Warrior stories. Stories that only we who are Servant Warriors will only understand, because we travel on that same Servant Warrior path.
If you or anyone who has read this letter / article have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
We are on the journey together and together we might be able to figure out some of the hard stuff.
Just know that you are not at it alone.
Cheers! – In His Service – Ray Gano – Servant Warrior