Fear. It can cripple the largest and smallest of men. It is something that we pretend we don’t have, and yet it keeps us from being anything other than mediocre. There is nothing more difficult than standing for God all by yourself.
I’ll never forget it. It is a constant reminder of how I will never back down from my faith again. It was the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college. I had switched schools and needed to catch up on some courses that didn’t transfer. That summer, I took four classes I needed at Ball State University. One of the classes happened to be a speech class. As we were waiting in the hallway for our professor, I noticed some guys, which I later found out were on the football team, talking and laughing about me. Then one spoke up.
“Hey,” he said. “Why are you wearing that ridiculous shirt?”
Now, I can’t tell you what it said, but I remember it was a brown shirt with yellow writing that had a Christian saying on it. I know what you are thinking, “That sounds like an ugly shirt!” It probably was.
I sheepishly said back, “I’m a Christian.”
“A Christian?! You actually believe that junk?”
“I do,” scared out of my mind because they were a lot bigger than me. They had to be 9 feet tall with muscles bulging everywhere. At least that’s what it seems like in my memory.
They just laughed at me along with many of the other students who were in the hallway listening to that conversation. Thank goodness the professor showed up then.
That class started bad and became worse. My degree was in ministry, and I’ve only been a Christian for a few years. Most of our topics had to do with our major when we gave a speech. I later found out through one of my speeches there was only one individual who claimed to be Christian, two who claimed to be Catholic, and the rest claimed to be atheist or agnostic. So you can only imagine the questions I received.
King David, as you might know, had 30 mighty warriors he surrounded himself with during his reign as King. There are a few things that I learned during that class and what we can learn from these men that we find in 2 Samuel 23:
- Following God can be incredibly lonely. Through loneliness, fear can set in. It did for me during that class. I never felt more alone than those moments. If there is a win in there, I didn’t quit the class. I also kept talking about my major and Jesus in every speech I gave. We have to be willing to stand by ourselves if need be. The difference between men of faith or fear.
- Surround yourself with mighty warriors. There were specifically four warriors that stood above everyone else that David had on his team. Why? Because they stayed and faced the opposition or obstacles knowing God was on their side when the entire army of Israel would run. We need to surround ourselves with men (women too) of faith that will stand with us when opposition arises.
So here are the questions you have to be willing to ask yourself:
1. Am I willing to stand alone?
2. Will I work hard to surround myself with God fearing warriors?
3. Am I ready to kick fear in the face and travel the road no one else is traveling?
Mark Batterson, Pastor of National Community Church and author, wrote a book entitled “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.” This book has been written based off of 2 Samuel 23:20-21, which is one of the top warriors for King David. Mark gives us a picture of what we could miss if we aren’t willing to be like David and his mightiest warriors. He says,
“Your greatest regret at the end of your life will be the lions you didn’t chase. You will look back longingly on risks not taken, opportunities not seized, and dreams not pursued. Stop running away from what scares you most and start chasing the God-ordained opportunities that cross your path.”
May you, in the midst of fear, keep praying and living forward. May you be ready to stand alone when the opportunity arises. May you surround yourself with mighty warriors. May you become the man that God created you to be. May you follow, do, and be like the greatest man that ever lived…Jesus!