Heart pounding. Dry mouth. Hands shaking. Words fumbling. Anxiety at its finest. The first time I spoke in front of an audience about God was a total flop by earthly standards. I rushed through as fast as possible so I didn’t have to stand up there alone for one more second. I had let fear take over and drive me into failure. Or so I thought.
I went home and cried.
Why did God call me to write, speak, and encourage others in His name if I couldn’t physically do it? Didn’t He know I wasn’t capable of this? Didn’t He know I’m comfortable hiding right here in front of my computer?
He did know that, but He also knew I needed to learn an important lesson before moving forward. That none of this– the failures nor the wins– are about what I am capable of alone. It’s about Jesus working with me for my good and the good of others as we step forward in faith.
It’s about Jesus working with me for my good and the good of others as we step forward in faith.
After seeing their beloved Jesus die on a cross, I imagine His followers were confused and afraid. Maybe they even felt abandoned in the faith they were once so sure of. Jesus, knowing every one of their fears, showed Himself to His disciples to encourage their faith and to instruct them.
Some followers believed when they saw Jesus, others needed help believing.
“And when they saw Him they worshiped Him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:17-20 esv).
When faced with fear, followers of Christ have a choice to make — will we doubt His presence? Or believe Jesus is truly with us in the struggle? What we choose determines if we can overcome our fears.
Many times I’ve doubted in my life. I’ve believed I was alone in parenting struggles, marriage lows, job crises, health scares — and most recently the first time I stood in front of an audience. Somehow I got the idea that God was here for the overall picture but not the day to day ugly. Wrong.
I poured over Matthew 28:17-20 thinking about how Jesus tells to go out boldly in his name. It struck me that before Jesus asks His disciples to go, He tells them all authority in heaven and on earth belongs to Him. This is important, not just because it allows us to trust that we have a powerful God, but because of the words that follow.
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” If Jesus is with us, that means His power is too.
If Jesus is with us, that means His power is too.
As a language teacher I know words cannot be translated perfectly. I wanted to know exactly what that meant that “I am” would be “with” us “always”. So I looked up the original Greek to better understand these important words of our Savior.
Here’s the gist….
The word here for “I am” is “ego eimi” which is the same name Jesus refers to himself when He says “I am the way” in John 14:6. Interestingly, the Greek word for “with” in this passage is an active with. It’s a “with” that means Jesus is working in us, not just standing by watching as we labor solo . Lastly, “always” means each and every part of the total. Each moment that makes up our entire lives. Not just the pretty ones.
Putting this all together, Jesus promises to work with us every time He calls us to step out of our comfort zones.
Knowing this breaks down my fear when I step out in faith. Believing Jesus is working behind the scenes every time I put myself out there in obedience grows my confidence and propels me forward.
We’re not alone, but when we feel as if we are, let’s remember Jesus’ promise. The great I am will be working with us in every moment, always.
Let’s connect! How have you seen the great I AM at work in your everyday life? Comment below or on FaceBook and read more about overcoming fear with Jesus over at www.Whollyloved.com.
Or better yet, attend an upcoming Bold and Brave conference!