1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
We all have things we are afraid of. There are healthy fears that could help save your life, like running from a bear in the woods. Then, there are destructive fears. These fears leave you doubting, keep you from confessing, isolate your soul, keep you from speaking up, and leave you debilitated.
What are you afraid of? Ask yourself. Do you fear not being enough? Are you afraid of being found out? What would happen if you were rejected? Are you scared of letting people down? Fear is the breeding ground for insecurity. It’s the feeling of being on shaky ground. Like a boat being tossed back and forth by the waves, do you find yourself being thrown back and forth by the comments and circumstances of your days?
One of the most common commands in all of Scripture is “do not fear.” Left to its own, this isn’t an incredibly helpful statement. However, where this statement is found, so is the One who says it. How can we live a life without fear? By finishing the verse. “For you are with me.” Underneath this mask of fear is self-dependence. It’s the opposite of faith in Jesus. Fear sees a problem and looks to self for the solution. Faith sees a problem and runs to the Lord as the strong tower of defense. Fear sees a problem and looks inward. Faith sees a problem and looks upward.
Unshakeable confidence is not found in the strength of a situation, but the presence of the Shepherd. He leads. He guides. He has a rod to fight the enemy and a staff to pull you close to His chest. He walks with His eyes on you. He is the shepherd who laid His life down for the sheep. In laying His life down He destroyed every fear, even the fear of death itself. The Cross and Resurrection establish a new reality that fear cannot change. In Christ, death becomes life. The fear of rejection vanishes in the reality of acceptance. Wanting moves to satisfaction. Mercy triumphs over Judgment. His rod is indefensible and His staff unstoppable. His rod has crushed death, and his staff has reached you through the cross. There is a Shepherd who walks with you. Don’t be afraid.
What fears are hard for you to move past?
Where do you run when you’re afraid?
Meditate on Psalm 23. Take it in slowly and enjoy it.