Economies failing, Ebola, Covid 19, ISIS, Taliban, wars, and rumors of war fill the global news space today. You just have to turn on the Tv no matter where you are in the world, and you will realize the reasons to stay afraid are countless. What is fear, and why do we have such a complicated relationship with it? Google dictionary defines fear as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.” Most people enjoy seeing others afraid; we see this during Halloween month where many will prank others, hoping that they will be scared. However, none of us desire to be held captive to fear.
Well, guess what, the bible’s most frequent command is “Do not fear!”. Over three hundred times across the sixty-six books, God tells us not to be afraid in many different and diverse ways. And yet, you and I still shake in fear. We will look at how we can overcome the hold of fear in our lives. I hope by the time you are done with the information on this article, you will say that you have sought God, and he has answered you and delivered you from all fears in your life (Psalms 34:4). Before we tackle our response to fear, let us understand how fear can cripple you and what the results of a fear-controlled life look like.
The Effect of Fear.
In Genesis 3:10, we see a turn in a story that began with joy and optimism. It is the first time that Adam and Eve tried to hide from the presence of God. As a result of their disobedience, they now felt guilty and ashamed. Moreso, their reaction to God’s presence is a mirror to how most of us behave when we have walked outside the will of God. The enemy is swift to accuse us when we fall into sin because he knows that accusation is an effective tool against a believer next to temptation.
Fear can also lead us to willful disobedience. Laban purposefully lied to Jacob because he was afraid that the elder daughter would not get married. Some of us have been in situations where we feel pressed against the wall, and the only way out is lying, cheating, and trickery. Fear leads to our backsliding. When the Israelites crossed, they celebrated for a few days. Then they got tired and realized that Moses was still in the mountain conversing with God (Exodus 32:1-4). Aaron, a man who had known God better than the community, led them back into the ways of their masters in Egypt. Fear leads to death.
Romans 8:6 “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”
How do we then deal with fear? Here are five ways you can break free from fear.
- Remember that God is with you.
“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.
Isaiah had seen the future of Israel; the Davidic throne would fall. He would send the Assyrians and then the Babylonians. Many people would die, cities conquered, and the enemies would destroy the temple. Yet this whole time, the prophet was preaching repentance to the people. It might have been fear or foolishness that caused the people’s hearts to be hardened toward God. Yet, in this context, the Lord promises Israel that even though the future was full of hardships and disasters, He would uphold them with His right hand.
As heirs of the Abrahamic promise, this word of encouragement given to Israel in many challenging situations is ours to receive too. We are faced with a constant fear of the future and how the world will be in a few years. Yet our shepherd has promised even if we walk through the valley of the shadow of death; we must not be afraid. He is right there with us. The presence of our God is bigger than anything that we will face in our journey. Today God is still calling you by your name, and he says, “Fear not for you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1b).
- Know that God Loves You
God’s love for his people is breathtaking. He will go to overwhelming extremes to demonstrate and prove his undying love for the world. God is indeed loving. And guess what, you have experienced it because you are saved through his love. Love is the full expression of the essence of who God is, and God has no fear. Therefore, through this love, God can remove anything that may cause you not to fully fellowship with him. His perfect love casts out all fear.
A young boy confident of his father’s love will walk across any bridge, face any enemy and dare great things because of love. The love of God can compel all of us to venture into places we had not imagined. Paul had not seen anyone else plant churches. He had no one who had gone ahead of him, yet he went on to become one of the most essential characters in church history. Love drove Jesus to the cross to die in the hands of people. A man arrested by the love of God has more strength than an army of a thousand performing their duty (1 Corinthians 13:13).
- Be strong and Courageous.
Blessed is the man who puts his trust and confidence in the Lord. He is like a tree planted by the water that sends its roots by the stream (Jeremiah 17:8). This tree is not afraid when seasons change; it has no fear when heat increases because its leaves are always lush. The tree bears fruits even in a year of drought without fail. This is the confidence we must muster to face every attack thrown at us. Trusting God does not mean that despair won’t come our way. However, we will attempt and do great things for God because our roots are drinking from the source.
Joshua had to be of strong faith and courage. He was among the remnant; he had seen many Israelites die in the desert. He had seen the stress and burden that Moses carried as he led the people through the desert. Yet, God chose him to lead the people to Canaan.
- Develop A Healthy Fear and Respect for God
If someone walked up to you on the street and asked for the reason why you do not sin, what would your answer be? Would it be because you do not want to go to hell or because others in your church do not sin? In a time when we have exchanged the things that are holy for common and what was common to be holy, we must dig deep to understand what it means to revere God.
A righteous, holy fear and reverence to God reveals itself through your humble obedience to God’s will. It forms us your character, and it becomes part and parcel of your introduction. It is only after the brothers of Joseph confessed that they fear God that he let them go (Genesis 42:18). The Hebrew midwives refused to kill the children because they feared God (Exodus 1:17). Moses chose the men to be elders based on their fear of God and their ability to refuse bribes (Exodus 18:21). When you read the bible, all the people extensively used by God were characterized by this attribute: they feared God.
- Grow in your Faith
The disciples had been with Jesus; they walked, ate, traveled, and ministered with him. However, their association with Jesus did not result in them having the faith that Christ had. The reason was that the knowledge of God’s word strengthened his confession. When they were in the sea, and there was a massive storm, all the disciples rescinded their understanding of God’s word and reacted according to their emotions (Matthew 8:26). Therefore, we must add faith to our communion with the Lord. He has given you authority to trample on snakes, scorpions, and over every power of the enemy. We access boldness and faith to walk in the light of the word of God through our faith in Jesus (Ephesians 3:12).
To grow in faith, we must also meditate on God’s word. When our minds stay focused on the Lord, we can enjoy His supernatural peace that is beyond human understanding. Take a few verses and spend time thinking deeply for a long time. It is when we meditate on God’s word that it comes alive in our hearts, and we are convicted of its meaning in our lives. Today may your heart be full of faith over fear. Look at every mountain and say, “God is with me, He is my God, He will strengthen me, He will help me and He will uphold me.”