Most of us live our lives with some kind of fear. It is probably uncontrollable to a great extent. We live in a very fearful world. Every week seems to have new issues which can make us afraid.
The title of this post may be a bit misleading – fear may always be with us.
But I think it should be a challenge to have less fear of this world in our life. This is certainly true if we are obedient to the commands of God.
What would it be like to live your life apart from fear – or, at least, with less fear?
Here are some points of understanding which can help us become less afraid of the unknown situations of life:
Life can be uncertain –
There are lots of unknowns in the world. This fact alone makes people afraid. Most people would prefer to know the outcome of a situation and yet many times, probably most of the time, we do not get that privilege. Most of the horrifying experiences of my life seem to come upon me suddenly. We tend to want the expected to occur, but we should always be prepared, at least emotionally, for the unexpected.
Fear is an emotion and not necessarily a reality –
Someone actually defined fear as a felt reaction to a perceived danger. We innately have the ability to respond quickly to danger. Sometimes we can feel that a situation is going to be scary before it actually is. Our reaction to the sense of fear often determines how well we handle the situation.
We must keep ourselves from allowing negative scenarios to build in our mind. People often take a fear and begin to build scenarios in their mind of what might, could, or is going to happen. Most often these scenarios are irrational. When the emotion of fear begins we must analyze its rationality and if it is based on an unknown occurrence we must dismiss it as strictly emotion and not reality.
Sometimes we must face our fears in order to receive victory over them –
We can’t allow fear to alter God’s plans for our life or steal our joy. We should not be too surprised if in our weakness and fear God encourages us to be strong. When Elijah was hiding out from Jezebel because he was terrified, God sent him back to face her again. (1 Kings 19) Elijah had to go back before he could go forward. God will often allow us to face our fears as well.
Ask yourself two questions:
- What fear do you need to face before you can get on with your life?
- Is fear holding you back from moving forward in some area of your life?
There are two consistent themes in the Bible. We are to walk by faith and we are not to be afraid. I think those two themes are related to each other. It takes doing the first to accomplish the second.
God has a plan even when our fear tells us that He doesn’t –
Since fears are an emotional response and emotions are not always reliable, fears will often cause people to lose their trust and dependence on God. At the same time, God will often use fear to draw people to Him. Most people grow best when they are being stretched by life. God often uses faith-stretching events; times when people are most afraid, to grow and mature His people. One time Jesus made His disciples get into the boat, even though He probably knew as the Creator that a storm was approaching. Faith tells us that God’s plan is secure, even when our fear says otherwise.
As we grow more in love with God, we fear less –
Perhaps the greatest secret to overcoming fear in the Bible is found in 1 John 4:18, which says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” Perfect love casts out fear. If ever a person could perfectly know the love of God he would never have to be afraid again. Whenever we run from the challenges of life, God has to wonder why. He must wonder “Am I not enough? Do you think this is too big for me?” As we grow in our love for and our trust in God we will be better able to live our lives in a confident assurance that God is in full control.
To continue to mature, as believers, we must be working to rid our life of the fear which keeps us from completely following and trusting in God.
What is your greatest fear you would like to overcome?