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Phobias and the Great Commission

Arachnophobia, the abnormal or pathological fear of spiders, a common fear. In my case the fear is even more irrational. I do not fear spiders or snakes or travel by plane. I do not fear public speaking or change or even rats. I fear cockroaches. (Apparently this is called katsaridaphobia.) Often a question on the mind of people with various phobias is “how would I deal with that on the field? I can’t be a missionary, I am way too afraid of ____”
People tend to think that missionaries are super human. I am not sure where this lie began but it has continued over the years through the generations so that normal people—people with fears and phobias think that they are not equipped for the life of a missionary.
Oddly enough, some of the most irrationally fearful people I know are missionaries. People who are terrified of airplanes fly around the world in obedience to the Lord. People who fear change go to another culture and change everything about their lives in obedience. People who fear spiders or snakes or cockroaches, people who fear public speaking or danger or any number of things face those fears every day for the sake of unreached people and God’s glory.
God doesn’t alter His commission because of our irrational fears, or even because of the fears we have that ARE rational. When He sent Joshua and the Isrealites into a promised land full of giants and enemies God didn’t say, “Hey, I know you guys are scared, so just settle here in the wilderness and we will make it work.” No. He said “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Go. I will be with you.

People tend to think that missionaries are super human. I am not sure where this lie began.

Fear doesn’t come from God. “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear is a remnant of our old selves. We are dead to it and yet, so often, we still give ourselves over to it. We deny the power of God and the blessings He wants for us because we are still answering to our old, dead, master: Fear.
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship” (Romans 8:15).
Maybe fear is what is holding you back. At one point or another fear holds each of us back. Most of us need daily or even hourly reminders that fear is not OK, that “perfect love drives out all fear” (1 John 4:18).
We have the Holy Spirit now who is ready to fill us with all the courage and boldness we need to obey the Lord and His calling for our lives. He probably won’t change you overnight or instantly take away your phobia, but “I am confident that He who began a good work in you (and me) will continue it to completion” (Philippians 1:6).
“I will fear no evil [or spiders or cockroaches] for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid” (Psalm 118:6a).

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