It is often said that without the Apostle Paul, much of the doctrine of the Church would be absent. This executioner of Christians, turned faithful witness of Jesus, wrote most of the New Testament and is known for his seemingly fearless and bold witness that took him around the known world to plant churches when the Church was in it’s infancy. Yet, despite the courageous portrait of this great man of faith, we know that Paul faced fear just like the rest of us.
I am almost certain that many will consider the above statement to be provocative and some will take exception. After all, Paul faced imprisonment, torture, and death on many occasions. How could someone go through all of that and still be such a powerful witness if he struggled with fear?
I submit that it was precisely Paul’s life experience that often inspired his fear. He wasn’t sadistic. He didn’t want to be imprisoned, he didn’t want to be beaten, he didn’t want to be mocked. In 1 Corinthians 15:31, he said “I face death every day…” His fear wasn’t anxiety about a possible response to his ministry, it was a tangible fear grounded in experience.
In Acts 18, Paul – after already facing various persecutions – began to preach in the city of Corinth. In the midst of his work, God spoke to him saying, “Do not fear any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.” (vv. 9-10 NASB) God would not have told him not to fear any longer if he wasn’t experiencing fear in the first place.
Despite this fear, Paul pressed on and was God’s instrument to transform a city during his year and a half of service there. The grace of God is wonderful in this chapter as we see God’s assurance that at least for a while Paul could do the work without worrying about what might happen to him.
When Paul moved on, he again faced many hardships, yet despite everything, he knew that the work was too important to let fear determine his actions. He pressed on faithfully through the fear and through the pain. We are all better for it.
Is fear keeping you from doing what you know in your heart you should? Know that others, including the Apostle Paul, have faced the same thing. With God’s help you can overcome and accomplish all that God has for you.
Be Blessed My Friends,