God gives Gideon an unimaginable directive: Those who are fearful can return home. Instantly, 22,000 men are eliminated! While these men had enough faith to fight, they did not have enough faith to fight fearlessly – something God required of Israel when going into battle.
The fundamental principle? Ultimately, fear contaminates faith. (Deuteronomy 20:1–4, 8.). Now only 10,000 remain in Gideon’s ranks. Then God states what seems absurd: “still too many men” (Judges 7:4)!
Situations that evoke no fear in some people are the same situations that evoke great fear in others. What makes the difference? What makes the difference is the perception of the person feeling the fear. Notice that Gideon is not one of the fearful men who return home! His perception has begun to change! Your perception of a situation affects both the degree of your fear (how much fear you will feel) and the way you will respond to your fear (what you will do because of the fear).
Fear is a natural human reaction to feeling threatened – either physically or emotionally – in these 3 areas: love, significance, and security.
· Your Love from Others Feels Threatened.
o Primary relationship: “If I lose my marriage partner, I don’t know what I will do or how I can go on living.”
o Talents and abilities: “If I don’t do well enough, I’ll lose my friends. Then I’ll be all alone.”
o Physical attractiveness: “If I start looking older and put on weight, I will lose the affection I need so badly.”
o Position in a relationship: “If you spend time with other people, then you don’t really love me.”
Your Solution: Learn that you are loved by the Lord beyond measure. “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.” (Psalm 103:11)
· Your Significance Feels Threatened.
o Identity: “If I lose my position at work, I will lose all that I have worked to achieve. Then what reason will I have to live?”
o Self-esteem: “If I embarrass myself in front of people, I will never be able to go back there—I’ll be too ashamed.”
o Reputation: “If anyone finds out about my compulsive habit, I’ll lose face with everyone.”
o Self-fulfillment: “If I don’t complete my goals, my life will be a failure.”
Your Solution: Learn that you are so significant that the Lord chose to save you and has planned the future for you. “God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)
· Your Security Feels Threatened.
o Financial security: “If I don’t do well on this presentation, I might lose my job. Then I won’t be able to support myself or my family.”
o Physical safety: “If I drive too far from home, I might have an accident and even possibly be killed.”
o Physical health: “If I am not really careful about what I eat—or even touch—I may get sick.… I could literally die!”
o Possessions: “If I lose my home, I will have nowhere to live, and I won’t be able to survive.”
Your Solution: Learn that your security is in your personal relationship with the Lord. “In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11