Today I want to talk about fear. I know, it’s not the most encouraging thing to talk about, but I think that fear is something that needs to be talked about. When I look at my life, I can say that, most of it has been spent struggling with anxieties and fears. I can remember from a young age being scared about whether or not my salvation could be lost. I would ask the Lord to come into my life multiple times a day, and when we were at church if there was an altar call chances were I would ask Him into my life there too. It really messed with me the fear that maybe my sin would take away my salvation. I struggled with this fear for years and sometimes it still is there in the back of my mind. Along with this fear there were many others, and it felt like once I finally was delivered by God’s grace from a certain fear there would be a new one. I genuinely believe that fear is one of the favorite tactics of the enemy. The enemy loves fear because he knows that it can do serious harm. Fear can cripple you, it can sway you from God’s will, it can cause you to doubt God, and it can even make you believe things that are not true. I’ve seen this in my life. So how can we overcome fear?
Firstly, we need to fear the Lord. I know that sounds strange. How can fearing the Lord help us overcome fear? Well, because fearing the Lord means having reverence for Him. It means that when we think about God we stand in awe of Him.
“Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!”
– Psalm 33:8
“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.”
– Psalm 86:11
“The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.”
– Proverbs 19:23
You see, fearing the Lord is different from fear that comes from the enemy. Fear from the enemy will try to keep you from fearing the Lord.
Secondly, to overcome fear we need perfect love. Where can you find this perfect love? Only in Jesus can you find perfect love that is capable of casting out our fears.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
– 1 John 4:18
Many times the enemy will place fears in your life that have to do with punishment. Like, when I was younger and feared that I could lose my salvation. Ultimately, my fear was that in losing my salvation I would end up in hell. Sometimes the enemy will bring up sins whether past or present and convince you that the Lord will not forgive you or that you’ve gone too far for His grace. Maybe, the enemy even causes you to fear that you have done something that you haven’t. Sometimes fear really can cause you to believe lies. Praise God, that His perfect love casts out fear.
“He rescues me from my delusions, so he may reveal the truth that sets me free. He casts me down, only to lift me up again. He sits in judgment of my sin, but forgives me nevertheless. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but love from the Lord is its completion.”
– William D. Eisenhower
Thirdly, we need to be spending time in God’s word and in prayer. How can we expect to both recognize fear that comes from the enemy and then have victory over it without spending time in God’s word and in prayer?
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
– Hebrews 4:12
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.””
– John 8:31-32
“Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.”
– 1 Chronicles 16:11
“I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”
– Psalm 34:4
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
– Romans 12:12
God’s word is living and able to discern what is true and what is a lie. When you read God’s word it will speak truth into your life. You will be able to see when your fear is just a lie from the enemy. Prayer is also a powerful tool against fear. When we pray the Lord hears us, and if we listen, we can hear Him speak. Both spending time in God’s word and prayer will set you free from fears that have been placed into your mind by the enemy.
Isn’t that why often times when we are scared we do not want to read The Bible or pray. When my life is filled with fears, you would think that I would desire God’s word and be fervent in prayer knowing that it will set me free. Unfortunately, that is not the case. When fear is crippling me, instead of reading God’s word and being constant in prayer, I choose not to for fear that the Lord will tell me something I don’t want to know. We need God’s word and we need to “pray without ceasing,” like it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
Lastly, we need to focus on Jesus. When we are focused on our fears that is when they do the most damage.
““Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!””
– Matthew 14:28 -30
Look at the example of Peter walking on the water. His mistake was taking his focus off Jesus. When he did, the fear of the wind caused him to begin sinking. But, when Peter called out to Jesus asking that He would save him, Jesus did just that. If you are focusing on your fear, cry out to Jesus.
In our own strength it is impossible to have victory over fear. We need the Lord to do that for us, and He already has. If you are struggling with fear let me encourage you to fear the Lord, remember that His perfect love casts out fear, spend time in His word & prayer, and keep your focus on Him.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
– 2 Timothy 1:7