“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
What happens to our faith when our vision becomes clouded by fear and doubt?
In Numbers 13, the Israelites, having been freed from Egyptian slavery, now stand at the edge of the Promised Land. Moses selects 12 men, one from each ancestral tribe, to explore the land of Canaan. After forty days, they return with samples of fruit – including a cluster of grapes so heavy it had to be carried on a pole between two men. They declared the inhabitants “powerful and their cities fortified and very large.” While Caleb and Joshua declared, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (v. 30), the other ten spies “spread a bad report. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (v. 32, 33) They saw themselves as piteously small against the enemy who lived in this wonderful land that the Lord had promised to them.
I know this one, because I have spent far too many years looking at the giants in my life through the eyes of a grasshopper. I am learning the key to overcoming fear – we have to develop clearer vision. We have to look through eyes of faith.
First we have to have a clearer vision of our God. When I feel the enemy pressing me, I turn to Psalm 18 where I am reminded that God is “my Strength, my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer, my Refuge, and my Shield.” (vs. 1-2) He is a MIGHTY GOD! His power is beyond comprehension. Psalm 66:3 says “So great is Your power that Your enemies cringe before you.” When I recognize the truth that the power of God exceeds the power of any enemy force or circumstance, I can rest my heart – and mind in Him. He is also my Protector and Defender. No enemy dares approach me with the Lord on guard. David said in Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” The enemy trembles and flees at the name of the Lord. Learn His Name and use it!
We also need to have a clearer vision of our giants. The giants you and I fear loom so large and terrifying to us, but how do they compare to our God? David certainly had the right perspective. In the famous battle of David and Goliath, the enemy towered over the Israelites at over nine feet tall with massive armor and weapons. (1 Samuel 17:4-7). Day after day, he taunted the Israelite army,
“This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other. If he is able to kill me, we will become your subjects, but if I overcome him you will become our subjects and serve us. (1 Samuel 17:8-10) And how did the Israelites respond? “On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.” Goliath’s threats had broken the spirit of the Israelite army and they believed themselves powerless against him. Isn’t that just like us? We become consumed with fear as we focus on our enemy who taunts and defies us. But the little shepherd boy David looked, not at the size of the enemy, but at the size of his God. David told King Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” As David approached, with no visible weapon or armor, Goliath cursed him and shouted insults at him. But David responded with spiritual armor and weapons that Goliath could not see, and he said “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me…and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! (1 Samuel 17:45-46)” I am sure you know the rest, “David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone. (1 Samuel 17:50)” I want that kind of faith! I want faith that knows the power of the Lord. I want faith that is confident in God’s promises to defend and deliver me from all the giants in my life. I want faith to meet every challenge the enemy throws at me with my head held high and my eyes firmly fixed on God.
Finally, we must develop a clearer vision of ourselves-as God sees us. If you are in Christ, God has declared that you are “His child (Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:1); sanctified (1 Corinthians 1:2); valuable (1 Peter 1:18-19); chosen (1 Peter 2:9); His workmanship(Ephesians 2:10); His dwelling place (Eph. 2:22); dearly loved (Colossians 3:12); children of light (Eph. 5:8); a holy & royal priesthood (1 Peter 2: 5, 9) – and that is just a small sampling of what the Bible says you are to God. The enemy will always try to make you feel small and defenseless. He will always try to attack you with words of condemnation: “Look at you! Look at the mess you have made of your life! Look at your sin! You are worthless to God, He could never love you!” But you need to know and believe that under God’s loving and protective gaze, you are a priceless treasure, His priceless treasure, and He loves you with an everlasting, never-failing, all consuming love. When God looks at you He doesn’t see your mess, He sees your Messiah.
To stand strong in the face of fear, we must look to our God for strength and perspective. “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes and we looked the same to them.” But how do you look in God’s eyes? Victorious!
Holy Father, the giants are big, but You, Lord are bigger. Help us keep our vision clear and our eyes “fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). God give us eyes to truly see.