The image of a scarecrow is sometimes used as an illustration for fear. This is very apt as the name ‘scarecrow’ describes a false artificial image made to scare away the crows from enjoying the delicious fruit or nutritious crops that the scarecrow is protecting.
In the same way that a scarecrow is not real, but looks like it to the crows, whatever we are afraid of seems real to us. The secret is to realise that it is all appearance or show and not reality. Fear is spelt F.E.A.R. ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’. If the crows realised that they would not be attacked or killed by the scarecrow, they would be able to enjoy eating the crop in the fields. However, crows seldom do because the scarecrow seems so real and scary to them.
Just like the crows, we may battle to overcome the deception of fear and not get to enjoy the good things God has in store for us. The way to overcome fear would be to change our perspective. Instead of seeing the scarecrow as threatening, we could see it as ‘advertising’ that the crops or fruit surrounding the scarecrow are ready for consumption.
So, when we feel afraid, we need to ask the Holy Spirit what harvest or produce the devil is trying to keep from us. Fear then becomes a motivation to overcome it, because we know that God has something wonderful in store for us. For example, some people are afraid to have close relationships because of previous hurt. However, God has designed us for relationships because they bring great joy and comfort to us.
Another example could be the fear of applying for a certain job or attempting a project because we fear failure. The devil knows that perseverance breeds success, so he uses fear to stop us in our tracks so there is no chance of success because we do not even attempt it. If we wait until we do not feel afraid, then we will never achieve the dreams that God has placed within us.
Basically, courage is doing something, even though we are afraid. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, in his first Inaugural Address, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. So, let’s see fear as an encouragement to defeat the devil and to defeat fear, regardless of the final outcome – because overcoming fear is a great achievement in itself.
Prayer: Oh Lord, we are so often deterred by fear that seems so intimidating and so real. Please help us, Holy Spirit, to stir up our faith as the antidote to fear and to please God and strengthen ourselves by simply refusing to give in to fear. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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