I remember waking up before school each morning in Jr. High being worried about what I would wear that day. The reason I was concerned was that I wanted to be absolutely sure that what I was wearing would not draw any negative attention from my peers. This fear of what people would think was not completely unfounded. I had once been ruthlessly made fun of for wearing sneakers that were not name brand. The unfortunate thing about this whole scenario was that I was allowing my fears to rule my life and rob me of joy. I was a fraidy cat.
Sadly this kind of fear was also what kept me so often from proclaiming my faith in Jesus Christ to others. When I was a Sophomore in high school I had a classmate in my history class turn around and say, “You’re a Christian, right?” He was sort of a bully in my school, but I knew he had a tough home life. He lived with his grandparents because of trouble at home. His grandparents were Christians so he might have actually been interested in the question. Instead of boldly saying yes, and engaging him in conversation by asking him the same question, or finding some other way to reach out, I just responded, “Yup!” I was afraid of him. Again, I was a fraidy cat.
Since that time I’ve had both courageous and fearful moments in life. I still desire to be more bold and less and less of a fraidy cat. I find great encouragement in a passage from this week’s readings. It also gives me a better understanding of how to overcome fear. The passage is Hebrews 11:24-27. Moses grew up in the coolest crowd. He was a child of privilege. He was a prince of Egypt, the most powerful kingdom on the planet at the time. He would have had all the right connections, all the right clothes, all the advantages a kid could ask for. Yet, we read that he gave it all up. He chose to walk away from the cool crowd. If I were reading this back in high school, I’d immediately ask, “What was he thinking????” The Bible answers this very question. It says that Moses was not afraid. He was not afraid of what his peers would think, or what would happen to him. The text specifically says, he was not afraid of the king, meaning he was not afraid of what his adopted grandfather, the king ,would think or what the consequences would be.
So how is this helpful to us fraidy cats who need more courage? As we read this passage, we find there are reasons that Moses was not afraid. Two things jump out. First, it says twice that Moses had faith. The first statement says, “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter.” The second statement says, “By faith he left Egypt.” The first lesson is that faith conquers fear. We need to ask ourselves as we make decisions, “Is this decision motivated by faith or fear?” Moses had faith, he believed that following God would be more satisfying and fulfilling than following the ways of the world. He knew that he would be made fun of, but he considered the reproach of doing what God asked of him greater than the treasures of being a prince of Egypt. He valued God more than anything the world had to offer. He valued God’s approval more than the approval of his peers.
Secondly, the passage says, “he was looking to the reward.” His eyes were not set on that which made him fearful. The second lesson is to set your sights on the reward of following God, not your fear. Doing what God asked him to do would make him very unpopular with all his old friends and family in Egypt, but there would be a reward. So what was the reward he received? Moses became the leader of an entire people group. He became the leader of all the Israelites. He did incredible miracles, like splitting the Red Sea. He became one of the most important Old Testament men, one who most people still know about today, thousands of years later. Lastly, and most importantly, he experienced throughout all his life close fellowship with God and is in Heaven right now still enjoying that close fellowship with God. By faith Moses conquered fear. Will you be a fraidy cat today, or by faith will you conquer your fears?