What do you fear? Death? Enemies? Embarrassment? Financial ruin? Our list of fears could get pretty long! I know that, personally, I had a time where fear was my best friend. If it could be worried about, I did. This debilitated me and made it completely impossible to enjoy life. It also inhibited me from truly fulfilling what God wanted me to do.
But God doesn’t call us to live a life of fear. In fact, he calls us to live a life of reckless abandonment! He wants us living for him in such a way that all earthly fears fall by the wayside.
Why is that? Because we are a slave to anything we fear. If we are a slave to something, we are not fully God’s. Just think about a silly fear. I have a fear of spiders. No seriously. I could face down a bear or snake, but a spider comes and I’m screaming and running around like a little toddler. You can ask the neighbors. There is no speaking logic into me at that moment. You aren’t going to get me to do anything other than get away from that spider.
The same about my fears regarding suspended bridges. You know, the kind that Indiana Jones had to walk across in “The Temple of Doom?” Yeah, those. I’ve tried to overcome this fear multiple times. My husband and I even took a vacation with the explicit goal to over come it. What happened? I got stuck in the middle, hyperventilating, and unable to move. My fear overcame me in such a way that I was unable to function. My body was a slave to fear.
Those little fears are not what the Bible is talking about. However, those little fears give a good example of how fear controls us. The Bible is talking about those fears that keep you from following God. Are you having trouble tithing because you’re afraid of financial issues? Do you hold back when talking about God because you don’t want to be embarrassed? Is your fear of change keeping you from stepping into a new life?
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”Romans 8:15
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord if safe.Proverbs 29:25
God did not give us a spirit of fear. That comes from the enemy. God created us to be a people of love. He wants us to share his love with others. He empowers us with the Holy Spirit to do exactly that. The Holy Spirit gives us the peace, strength, and power to say no to fear and yes to God.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.2 Timothy 1:7
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.Deuteronomy 31:6
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.Isaiah 41:10
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7
And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!”Luke 12:22-24
You see, as a child of God, we have nothing to fear. If God takes care of the birds, how much more will he take care of you! God calms our fears when we come to him. When we thank him for what he has done for us, and cast our fears onto him, he fills us with the peace that we are lacking.
This is a lot easier said than done, right? Let’s look at it a little deeper. You see, these types of fears, the ones that keep you from fully living for Christ, are grounded in our faith. Do we have the faith that God will do what his word says? Do we have the faith that the troubles we endure on earth will really produce crowns in heaven? Because if our answers to those questions are yes, then going to God with our fears is much easier.
So does having fear mean you aren’t a Christian, that you don’t have faith? Of course not! Even the disciples, who walked with Jesus, had fear. But what do you do with that fear? Do you turn to the one who can move you through that fear? Or do you cower and deny what God has store for you?
Remember, we are weak. We will fail. But God can redeem those failures. He can take those fears away and give you the power to live for him. Skeptical? Look at Peter, who denied Jesus three times out of fear for his life. Jesus later restored him after he repented of his sin. Not only was Peter forgiven, but Jesus built the church from Peter. And those fears for his life that Peter had? God restored that failure as well.
In Acts 4, Peter, with John, were charged by the religious legal authorities that they were not to speak about Jesus anymore. Remember, these are the same people who had Jesus crucified. The implicit threat was most definitely there. But how did Peter respond? He told them that they would preach what was truth no matter the consequence! And it didn’t just happen one time, it happened again in Acts 5. Even after multiple imprisonments, Peter would not stop.
You see, God can remove our fears. He can give us the strength to push through them. We just need to rely on him and allow him to do it. Will it be comfortable? Most assuredly not. Facing one’s fears is always a challenging endeavor. However, we serve the true God who has power over death! He is the creator of all things. He has defeated Satan, the one who feeds us fear.
We have victory over our fears. We just need to claim it and live fully for Jesus. How do we claim it? We pray prayers of thanksgiving, worshipping God for what he has done for us, then petition him to help us. Once we’ve done that, we move forward with what God has instructed us to do, knowing that if God wants something done, he will make sure that it happens.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.Joshua 1:9
- What is God instructing you to do?
- What fears prevent you from following God’s instruction?
- What fears prohibit you from fully living for Jesus?
- Take some time to pray over these fears. Thank God for the things he has given you. Worship him for having the power to overcome fear. Then ask him, specifically, to help you with your fears.
- Find Bible verses that correspond to your fears and that reflect God’s promise to you. Write these down on index cards and carry them with you. Read them when you need to be reminded.
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