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Fear Factor

Updated: Mar 5

When I was growing up one of the more popular shows at the time was the show Fear Factor. It was a stunt/dare game show where contestants would compete against each other in fear-based challenges for $50,000. I enjoyed watching the show which is ironic considering the number of things that I personally am afraid of. But there was something about watching people face their biggest fears that made the show fascinating.

I think what I liked most about the show was how a lot of the fear-based challenges were more of a mental hurdle than anything else that the contestants would have to be willing to overcome. Some would back out and not be able to complete the challenges, but others pushed through their fear because of the chance to possibly win $50,000. Now of course there was the chance that they would compete and push past their fears and still not win the money. But it would be so interesting to watch the contestants wrestle in their minds about whether these fears were worth overcoming or not.

Fear is something we can all relate to. I actually suffer from a phobia. It’s called masklophobia and yes it's a real thing. Here is the definition of masklophobia:

Masklophobia is a specific phobia used to classify a general and in some cases

irrational fear of masks, people in costumed clothing, and especially mascots.

Masklophobia is most common among toddlers and young children.

So whether it's physical fears, financial fears, relational fears, or an irrational fear of masks we have all experienced fear in some way, shape, or form. And I think that there are a couple of "fear factors" that especially trigger fear in our lives: what we didn't expect and what we can't control.

So often for me, it's the situations I didn't expect or the circumstances that I can't control that produce fear. And I think that’s exactly what the enemy wants, for me and for us to be consumed by fear.

  • By what might or might not happen

  • By what we didn’t plan for or expect

  • By what we can’t control

  • By our potential failures

But fear is real. So how do we live in faith despite our fears?

We may never be fearless but with Jesus, we can choose to fear less.

Jesus knew that there would be fear. He knew we wouldn’t live a fearless life.

But based on what he taught and how he lived and what he told those closest

to him there is a way for us to fear less.

We see this in Matthew 14 when the disciples are caught in a storm.

They a storm and they see something out on the water and they don’t know what it is and the bible says, "The disciples were terrified. And in their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. I am here!"

It’s good to know that Jesus is never shaken by our situation. Its good to know that our circumstances do not cause Jesus to panic. He is never caught off guard and even in times of chaos He is still in complete control.

I love this quote from pastor and author Paul David Tripp,

“It really is true that peace in times of fear is not found in figuring out your life but in

worship of the One who has everything figured out already.”

But when we focus on our fear we lose focus of our faith. I know this is something that God is still teaching me. To take my focus off the what-ifs (whatever those may be) and to put my focus on the one who is.

Our fear focuses on the what-ifs. Our faith focuses on the one who is.

We see this fear/faith focus struggle with Moses in the Old Testament.

In the story, God is speaking through a burning bush and specifically tells Moses to

go back to Egypt where Moses had fled from, and to bring the Israelites out of Egypt

into the land that God had promised them.

Instead, Moses gives what some would say excuses but I genuinely think that they

were fears that he had, to justify to God why he couldn’t go to Egypt.

Because the last thing Moses remembers after leaving Egypt is Pharoah trying to kill him. So as you might imagine he wasn’t exactly jumping at the opportunity to go back. This is just such a fascinating story. Moses was so fearful of the what-ifs that he lost focus of the one who is. Imagine having God call you to do something and the only response you can give over and over again is, "God what if?"

I don’t know about you but for me, that hits pretty close to home.

God, I want to follow but what if something happens?

What if I fail?

What if I don’t know what I’m doing?

What if I don’t know how to deal with my pain?

What if I’m not qualified?

What if it cost me everything?

What if? What if? What if?

In all the what that causes us to fear there is a who saying focus on me.

You don’t have to be afraid because I am right here with you.

When our faith in someone exceeds our fear of something fear loses its grip.

That doesn’t mean that it completely goes away because we’re human and we will

fear and worry at some point about something but there is an overwhelming peace in knowing that even when we are fearful God is always faithful.

Psalm 34:4

“I sought the Lord and He answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

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