Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand”.
In our verse today God is quoted speaking and He gave us two don’t’s and two I will’s. He starts off by telling us what not to do. He warns us not to be afraid and not to be discouraged. This means that situations will arise in life that will tempt us to either be fearful or discouraged or sometimes both. However, God does not just tell us what not to do and leave it there. He tells us not be be afraid then He tells us why we should not be afraid- for He is with us. Then He tells us not to be discouraged and the reason why we should not give in to discouragement is that He is our God. He identifies with us personally.
Just looking at that part of the verse it looks almost as though it is automatic. The moment fear comes into our lives we remember that God is with us and we are no longer afraid. Or the moment discouragement comes knocking on our doors we refuse to answer and we look to God who is our God and a good Father. I’ll say it briefly like this, it is not automatic. It takes a conscious decision from our part to resist fear and discouragement and to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
In simple words our verse today is telling us what Jesus would have said to Peter as he walked on the water. That is, “Fix your eyes on Me. Don’t look to the right or to the left”. We know from Matthew 14:30 that Peter did in fact look away from Jesus and when he did, he saw the waves and strong wind and so he began to sink. So in each of the first two sentences, one part tells us what we ought to resist and in the same sentence we are given another focal point, God.
Then comes the I will’s. I want you to note that first off, we have to make sure that we are not afraid and we are not discouraged so we can graduate to the second part of the verse. When we fix our eyes on Jesus and refuse to give in to fear or discouragement, God says that He will strengthen us and help us and give us the victory. Most times we want it to be the other way around. Whereby God strengthens us, helps us and gives us victory and then we can stop being afraid and we can lose the discouragement. Unfortunately that’s not how it works. BUT when we do our part as best as we can, leaning on God the whole time with our eyes fixed on Him, He will do His part for He who promised is faithful and we will be strengthened and God will help us get the victory.
This week, let us work on our part. Fear and discouragement can easily creep into our hearts. Let’s do a self check to ensure that we don’t entertain those two as dinner guests in the hearts we have freely given to God. Let us be mindful that, “God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind”, see 2 Timothy 1:7. Let us rid ourselves of fear and discouragement and look to the One who is with us, for us able to strengthen us, help us and give us the victory we need.
Have a blessed week.