My favorite movie growing up was Three Amigos. The cast had Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short as rather conceited and very stupid movie stars in the early 1900s, making cheesy Westerns. A small village in Mexico is being harassed by a bandit leader named El Guapo (Spanish for “The Handsome”), so the village, not realizing the movies are fake, hires the Amigos to come fight for them. They think it’s a movie set and so are completely at ease when El Guapo rides into town with 25 men to kill them. They deliver their trademark line, given in the title of this post, and start riding around shooting their pistols, loaded with blanks, into the air.
Had they known that their opponents were armed with real bullets and had probably all killed men before, they would have never come in the first place, much less be willing to ride out against them. Yet, believing they were untouchable and that their enemies’ fall before them was guaranteed, they had perfect bravery. The actual situation didn’t matter, just their perception of it.
That’s how our faith is. We believe in an almighty God Who has the power to do whatever He wants, even bend time and space to suit His will. He could do anything, even have earth invaded by radioactive flying camels who spoke only Mandarin with a strong Canadian accent. He’s God. He can protect us from anything. He knows the future. He knows what is best for us. He tells us to do what will be in our best interests.
Yet we often fear and let that fear stop us from doing anything. “Yeah, I know God told me to quit my job and become a missionary, but I have a family to feed.” As though God was totally unaware that you now have a wife and children to look after. He knows how many hairs are on your head; He is most certainly aware that you have a family and He has a plan to care for them when you follow His will. “I know God wants me to open up to my neighbor about Him, but that guy is a violent drunk.” God helped a shepherd boy defeat a giant who had been a warrior probably longer than the boy had been alive. If He tells you to do something, He can protect you from the consequences.
“What if He doesn’t? He called Peter to be a disciple, but Peter was crucified.” Yes, he was. But do you think that Peter would have chosen another life as a means to avoid this death? Jesus revealed to him how he’d die, told Peter to follow anyway, and Peter did. Why? Because a life with Jesus that ends in a horrible death is far better than a life of ease and peaceful death without Him. Peter knew that it is not what happens to this body that matters, but what happens to our spirit. He knew that nothing on earth could take him out of Christ’s hands and so nothing could really hurt him. He had the kind of faith that enabled him to say anything God told him to in front of anyone.
Your confidence in yourself is based on your confidence in God. You can’t have a strong belief in your own value without having a strong belief in the One giving you that value. If you have strong faith in God’s power and love for you, though, you will know you are never a dog and you will have the Lion of the tribe of Judah fighting for you. What is there to fear?