Do Not Be Afraid :: By John Lysaught

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

I get scared a lot regarding my walk with Jesus: that I’m not doing all that He wants me to do. It troubles my heart. I feel that I’m still missing something with my walk with Jesus. Maybe it is doing something more for Him instead of hiding behind a computer screen and writing as I am doing now. I think that maybe, I need to witness more to people.

This is a challenge to me because I am generally a shy person and find writing much easier than talking. Plus it is easier for me to write than talk because I can think through my thoughts and organize them better than I can when I speak to someone. By writing, I have the luxury of taking my time utilizing the Internet to find that perfect verse that is applicable to what I am trying to convey to people. When I speak to people regarding Christ, I get lost and begin to ramble, for I don’t know the Bible well enough to be able to turn to the right verse or recite a verse that is applicable to the discussion I’m having.

Don’t get me wrong, I do speak about Jesus and give my testimony when people ask me about my faith. At my desk I have my Bible, a couple of books about Christ and I have a verse (Galatians 2:20) printed out and sitting in front of my keyboard. I use these as an opening for someone to ask me a question about what these things are and it opens up a conversation I can have about Christ. When I do speak, I speak from the heart of how I feel and what I know about Christ and His message of Salvation. I’ve never approached a stranger to talk to them about Christ except when I help pray for people at the end of a church service for the altar call. I just pray that what I’m doing is enough. I want to be a better disciple for Christ.

I work for the Army as a civilian employee. And with the recent news about the Army banning discussing faith and labeling Christianity as dangerous, I fear I my “props” to get conversations started─will be taken away─or at least diminished. The Bible study we have here at work on Thursday’s during lunch may even be taken away from us. Regardless of what happens, I plan on keeping my props and will not give in to the dictates of the Army leadership to hide my faith. I will keep my “props” out and visible so when someone asks me about my faith, I can have a conversation about Jesus. I don’t answer to the world, I answer to God. I have to remember this verse in John:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

I foresee trouble at work with talking to unbelievers about Christ. But I hope to overcome my fear of getting in trouble, of reprisals from my leadership about having my faith props out to remind me of my walk with Jesus or to discuss Jesus when someone initiates the conversation.

I foresee in the near future things will get harder for Christians who truly follow Christ. I feel that we are being demonized be people in power in our government and society in general. I know I will not bend to outside forces regarding my faith, but I do fear the oppression that will come. I worry that it will affect my employment and will affect my family. I know that God will take care of me, but I still have that fear, nonetheless.

I’m assuming my fear is an indication of a lack of faith in that area. This is a stumbling block I need to work on and need prayer for. I will never deny my faith in Jesus. I need to pray for strength and courage and boldness in Jesus though. I will never compromise my faith for the dictates of my employer, which I feel is coming down the pipe to not only soldiers but to civilian employees as well.

When it gets to the point of having to choose my faith or my employment, I will make the easy choice: I will choose Jesus. I will quit my job and walk in faith that I will be taken care of. I feel in my heart this is coming and even though I know what I will do, I fear the moment of truth and hold fear of the unknown. When I feel the fear as I do now, I get pretty anxious. Yet I feel better when I delve into the Word:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

This verse calms me down a lot when I start stressing myself out being the worrywart that I am. I seek the rest the Lord offers and it helps me put things in perspective that no matter what happens, God is in control. I need not worry as much as I do about the adversity that is coming against the followers of Jesus. I can take my worries to Christ and He will give me rest and will walk with me as I face the adversity that I feel is coming down at work and in the world in general.

As for my anxiety, I think Paul says it best in Philippians: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Though I believe and trust this verse, I still feel very anxious about those who will be coming against Christians─ now─and in the future. As we are set-apart from society as evil and nonconforming to what society and the government is pushing down our throats regarding sin (gay marriage as an example), and taking God out of every nook and cranny of our society and government. That we will be considered a fringe group, outcasts from society in general, listed as extremists, as the Army is working toward, still does cause me concern.

My request, my petition to Christ is that I overcome my anxiety and fear of the adversity that we as followers of Jesus will face. I pray that we all stand strong in the face of adversity and that we are not weakened by that adversity but are given renewed and powerful strength to stand-up to the evil powers that be, that are trying to isolate and destroy Christianity in this country and throughout the world.

I apologize to those that are reading this and believe I’m faithless. It isn’t my intention to bare my lack of faith regarding fear and anxiety, but I believe a great number Christians feel the same fear and anxiety that I do regarding what this country is turning into and how Christians are being treated and will be treated in the future. I want to assure you (including myself) that God is in control and all these things must happen and come to pass, as we get closer to the Rapture of the church.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

‘“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

We can be assured that we need not fear the future. What will happen to Christians, how we are treated and viewed by the world is of no consequence, for we answer to and are taken care of by the God of the universe. He is our strength and our rock. We need not fear the world because I can foresee things getting much worse for us, as we near the time of our being taken up with the Lord during the Rapture.

After writing this essay, putting into words how I feel, I feel better about my fear and anxiety, about what is going on in the world toward Christianity. I feel more confident in my relationship with Christ. My fear and anxiety is lessened. But many that feel as I do and we must pray for one another.

If you are not a Christian, you will not notice what is going on in the world and the attitudes toward Christians are changing for the worse. Yet if you are reading this, I’m going to assume that you are curious about Christianity. At the end of the day, you have a choice to make: To be with Jesus or not. To me this was an easy decision, but for you, it may not be because you are too deep into the world. If you are ready to seek the Lord, now is the time to do so, for the time in short for you to decide your eternal destination of heaven or hell.

Accepting Christ is a monumental decision you have to make. Accept Christ as your Lord and Savior and be part of His family, to live with Him in heaven for the rest of eternity. Deny Christ and spend your eternity away from Him in hell. To accept Christ, you will have to give up your life for Him and turn from the way you are living now in the world.

The world hates Christ and so to live for Christ means you have to hate the world, even though you have to live in it. To accept Christ is to die to yourself and give up your personal ambitions and desires in the world and turn your desires, your heart, to Christ and what He wants from you. He wants all of you, not 99% of you, but 100% of you. You must be willing to leave the world behind and move forward in Christ, to be his follower, not a bystander. Christ demands obedience to Him in His desires for you.

You will mess up, for we all do, but Christ is forgiving and will help you grow with Him and do His will for Him. We are all of sin and Christ died for your sins, all of them. Don’t be afraid to accept Christ as your Savior. Embrace Him with your heart, soul, and mind. Be willing to follow Him in what He has planned for your life in your walk with Him, even if it costs you your former way of life and your own ambitions for your future. Take that step in faith and seek Jesus.

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

All Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV version of the Bible.

John Lysaught