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Growing up, I wanted to be a superhero—fearless and strong. Now I am a pastor, not a superhero, but, with God’s empowerment, I have found it possible to live above fear and be strong in Him.

Fear is an inevitable part of life for every person, and being a leader or a pastor does not exempt us from it. It is how we handle fear that affects our lives. On one hand, we can allow fear to paralyze and stop us from moving forward in the plans of God. On the other hand, even though we are afraid, we can rise above fear to keep following Jesus and see the greater power of God move. Though we probably cannot be completely free from fear, when we understand the depth of Jesus’ heart for us, we can rise above and overcome fear to experience His power and faithfulness.

As a leader/pastor, it may be hard to admit that we have fear. We may understand that everyone has it, but, at the same time, we may feel somewhat defeated because we are pastors who have taught people not to be afraid and to trust Jesus. 1 John 4:18 reminds us that “perfect love casts out fear” (NKJV), and it also poses a greater challenge to us.

In response to that scripture, we may think: “I know Jesus loves me, but I’m still fearful. Does that mean I do not know and believe the love of Jesus?” Perfect love casts out all of our fear, indeed, but it requires us to learn and know “perfect love,” as well. Simply hearing and knowing that Jesus loves us may not be enough to drive fear away.

First, let us remember all of the pain, suffering, bleeding, humiliation and loneliness Jesus went through. That and His death are proof of the extent of His love for us, showing that there is nothing He will not do for us. Next, I would like you to think about something. What do you imagine Jesus thinks and feels when He looks at the scars on His body? Do the scars bring Him back to grim memories of pain and suffering, and make Him want to look away?

I believe that, when He looks at those scars of the cross, He is proud of them, and they bring Him a great sense of joy and satisfaction. For Jesus, they are like trophies, reminding Him of the victory. They represent the eternal life His beloved children will be able to have. I also believe that, when Jesus looks at His scars, it makes Him smile. He smiles because He knows they are the signs that bring people into eternal relationship with Him. 

As we look ahead, we should realize that we cannot avoid experiencing fear in the coming challenges and trials of our lives. However, we can all overcome fear by remembering Jesus’ great love that was shown on the cross. He has power to keep us and bring us into eternal life. So, when you are facing fear that seems to paralyze you, you are OK. Just remember to take it to the cross, and look at His scars of love and His smile for all He has accomplished. The love of Jesus is and will always be there for us, and that is what casts out fear!

Prayer Points

  • Pray that you will embrace the reality of fear and bring it to the feet of Jesus.
  • Pray that the Lord will give you a deeper understanding of His love.
  • Pray that those who are in fear will understand more of Jesus’ love so that they can overcome fear.

Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.

is the national leader of The Foursquare Church in Japan.

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