God’s Healing For Our Hurts: Fear
Everyone is afraid of something. Many people have phobias. What are some common phobias? There are more than one hundred different phobias, and about ten percent of the
population suffers from one or more of them.
Not all fear is bad! If we were to come face–to–face with a shark, a coiled and hissing rattlesnake, or a grizzly bear and not feel fear. Every parent attempts to teach the child a fear of touching a hot stove, running out in the street, and talking to strangers. We seem to be born with a healthy fear of sudden loud noises and of falling. It is natural to feel a moment of fear when we hear an unusual sound outside the home or hear the sirens warning of a tornado, flash flood, or hurricane. We need a certain amount of fear to make us cautious when faced with danger.
Everyone experiences fear at different times. Ideally, those fears come and go; they don’t dominate our lives. It’s when fear takes over that we know there is a giant that needs to be conquered.
Why Fear is a Serious Enemy
Fear stifles our capacity to think clearly and rationally, thus affecting our behavior. Fear leads to indecision. We are afraid to make decisions for ourselves or others. Such indecision creates constant anxiety. Fear diminishes our capacity to achieve. We cease trying to accomplish certain goals due to our fears. We become increasingly unproductive as our fears increase. Fear can cause panic. We suffer from anxiety attacks and other debilitating emotional upsets. We live in inner turmoil. Fear damages our relationships with others. Fear damages our relationship with God.
We feel uncomfortable in God’s presence, perhaps sensing that He is displeased with us for yielding so consistently to our fears. We do not enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise. Worship is rarely practiced.
Fear Robs us of God’s Blessings (Numbers 13-14). Twelve spies went to spy out the Promised Land of Canaan. They were to see how powerful the inhabitants were, how well the cities were fortified, how fertile the land was. Ten of the spies suffered a fear factor moment and declared that God must be mistaken!
Fear Robbed Them of God’s Blessing because
*Fear Disregards God’s Plan. It was God’s plan for the Israelites to possess the land! (Romans 8:15)
*Fear Discourages God’s People. The ten spies brought back a distorted picture of the promised land. This kind of fear is highly contagious! Their words of fear so infected the rest of the people that the entire nation became fearful of going into the land God had promised. The fearful words of ten people turned the fortunes of an entire nation.
*Fear Disbelieves God’s Promises. Think of all the things God had done for them: The plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the giving of the Law, the provision of water and food in the wilderness, defeating their enemies on the way, guiding them by a pillar of fire
and a cloud. Yielding to fear will lead to disbelieving the promises of God.
*Fear Disobeys God’s principles. Many, many times in the Bible we are told, “Fear not,” or “Do not be afraid.” Now, if we are told by God not to fear, and we choose to live in fear, what are we doing? We are disobeying God. The only two people allowed to go into the land from the disobedient generation were Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who wanted the people to trust God for victory in the Promised Land.
How the Bible Can Help You Deal With Fear
Read the Gospels. Read aloud the words of Jesus and the stories about Jesus. Focus on the red letters! Jesus is the Prince of Peace! He often encountered people in turmoil and distress.. Read the promises of God to you.
Memorize God’s promises. Memorize several of God’s promises that seem especially appropriate for your particular situation. As you read the Bible daily and you discover other promises or passages that seem appropriate to your particular situation, memorize them also. Any time fear attempts to rise up in you again, recite these promises from God’s Word—repeatedly, if need be—until the fear subsides.
Use God’s Word to fuel your praises. When we can turn our thoughts to God – His greatness, goodness, and tender loving care – we can diffuse fear. What qualities of God do you see in Scripture? His faithfulness, His willingness to walk with us through our troubles, His deep deep love for us.
For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. ~2 Chronicles 20:1
The Scriptures lead us to Pray! Ask for God’s help. Psalm 56:1-3. Ask for God’s love. 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Ask God to keep His promises alive in your heart.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10
When we use the Bible as a fear-fighting weapon, the spiraling trend of fear can be stopped.
You may need to devote a period of time each day to doing this discipline of reading and using the Bible in this way. Maybe even several times a day.
Most of us did not become anxious in a moment, and most of us will not cease to feel anxious instantaneously.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. ~1 Peter 5:6-7
A Good Fear to Develop: A Healthy Fear of God. A healthy fear of God brings you to a position of praise and worship. A healthy fear of God brings you to a position of obedience. (Revelation 15:4; Proverbs 1:7; Psalm 66:16-20). A Healthy Fear of God leads to spiritual courage. ( 2 Timothy 1:6-7)
Fearing God is not cowering in fright, but serving and loving in obedience and respect.
Stanley, C. F. (1998). Developing inner strength. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Stanley, C. F. (1997). Dealing With Life’s Pressures. Atlanta: In Touch Ministries.
Jeremiah, D. (2001). Facing the giants in your life: Study guide (pp. 9–18). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Stanley, C. F. (1997). Becoming emotionally whole (electronic ed.). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
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