1Kings 17:9 NKJV (God speaking to Elijah) “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”
1Kings 17:13-14 NKJV And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. (14) For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’ “
All fear is self-centered. It is solely about the individual. Sometimes people say, “I was afraid for you…” That’s just simply not true. They may not have wanted anything bad to happen, but if they experienced fear it was about how their life would be impacted. “I was afraid for you… because I don’t know what I’d do without you.” All fear IS self-centered.
The same is true for the widow here in this story. God has commanded her to provide for Elijah, yet when he finds her she is collecting sticks for a small fire to prepare a few small cakes from the handful of flour and oil she has left and then waste away and die. Her fear had convinced her she hadn’t heard from God or more likely motivated her to disobey God by ignoring His Word to her. I imagine her saying, “I don’t have enough food. I don’t have any money. Even if I did, there is little food to buy and it cost so much because of the drought. If I share what we have, what are we going to eat? I’m so hungry and we’ve been rationing this out. I don’t want to die. God, doesn’t know what He’s asking of me. He’s just going to have to forgive me. We’re going to finish off the food.” The reality is if you are really going to die anyway, one less bite won’t kill you any faster. But all fear is self-centered and causes us to only look at ourselves; our desires, our needs, our pain, our suffering.
So what can we do to be less self-centered and thereby loose the hold fear has in us? We can start by asking the Lord to forgive us for our selfish attitudes and pray, “…you being be rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)” For while fear causes us to think about ourselves; Love motivates us to think of others and put their needs, wants, and concerns first. Now put it into practice… ask the Lord for opportunities to be a blessing and put someone else first, then listen for His leadings and look for opportunities to be a blessing. Begin each day asking, what can I do to be a blessing to someone today? Then do it.
As you grow in your comprehension of God’s great love and get in a habit of thinking of others, more of his love will grow in your heart. Self-centeredness will be replace with selflessness, and the perfect love being worked in you will drive out fear (1John 4:18). Practice selflessness, love others and FEAR NOT!
Ephesians 3:17-19 MSG ….And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, (18) you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! (19) Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
1John 4:18 NKJV There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.