Psalm 23:4b I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Wouldn’t it be handy to have a gadget that could measure the fear in our lives just like a thermometer measures body temperature? Whether we use the thermometer typically depends on how bad the symptoms are. If you have an active child and all of a sudden you find them curled up and quiet a first response might be to feel their head to see how hot it is. If it’s hot, we find the thermometer.
There are recognizable symptoms that let us know when we are sick. Some are serious and some are not so serious, but there are symptoms none the less. Likewise there are symptoms of fear. Unfortunately, fear can be such a normal ‘companion’ in our lives that we don’t recognize that we are ‘sick’ – read afraid.
I have written earlier about being angry in a classroom discussion at Grad School and was oblivious to my anger – until the instructor interrupted and pointed it out. I had become so accustomed to it that it appeared normal. Unfortunately, those closest to me suffered for it. Thankfully, God’s grace enables us to repent and change.
Some of the fear symptoms that occur to me are worry, anxiety, anger, annoyance, impatience, lying, deceiving, complaining, selfishness, rebellion, immorality, jealousy, envy, and the list could go on. These can be indicative of other problems as well, but they are part of the mob that accompanies fear. What kind of fear? Well there are lots of them, but to name a few:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of what ‘might’ happen
- Fear of what ‘might not’ happen
The antidote to fear and the negative behaviors associated with it is walking in God’s ways. The verse preceding today’s verse says, “He guides me in paths of righteousness…”
Even when our journey takes us through the “valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for (God) is with me.”
If you ask, “What are the paths of righteousness?” The answer is they are the paths you walk in order to be a follower of Jesus. They are defined in Scripture. Unfortunately, the term Christian has become so broad that in the minds of many it includes all manner of behaviors that a true follower of Jesus will not and must not do. These are all identified in Scripture.
The Holy Spirit and Scripture are our ‘thermometers’ to detect the fear in our lives. Likewise those who love us can help point out where we’re not where we are supposed to be. Ultimately, fearlessness is rooted in God. The more we follow Jesus, the more ‘fear-less’ we become, because He is with us.