Moving away from the fear perspective
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Some of us might read this verse and think to ourselves “if only this was true for me” or “how I wish this was how I lived my life.” This verse is not an unattainable ideal, it is the will of God for all of us.
Fear is the number one robber of our joy and peace. It is a very influential thing. Fear can be self-inflicted or inflicted on others. Either way, it has a detrimental effect on us.
Fear robs us of our enthusiasm for life. We withhold ourselves from taking chances and experiencing new things. Scientists have identified fear and anxiety as the cause of physical ailments because of the strain it puts on our bodies. It even causes premature death.
When motivated by fear, we make decisions that do not please God. We react in fear instead of responding in faith. Slowly but surely, fear chips away at our intimacy with God. We build up a fortress of protection so high that in the process of keeping perceived danger out, we also keep out the One who can keep us from danger.
Fear subtracts from life, but Faith expands who we are and what we can do.
How do we overcome fear?
1. Choose to respond in faith rather than react in fear
There is a significant difference between reacting and responding. Reacting is a knee-jerk decision influenced by intense emotions. A reaction takes in information at first glance without verifying its accuracy – fear swiftly springs into action. Reacting may seem called-for at that time but on hindsight a pre-meditated response would have been more appropriate.
Responding allows us to bring God into the picture and allow Him to work in us as we look at things from His perspective. We remind ourselves that God has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and put our faith and trust in God. The Bible tells us that God can do abundantly, exceedingly above what we can ask or think. This means that God can do more in my situation than I can ever do on my own.
In Numbers 13, there is a story about the 12 spies who went to spy out the Promise Land. They all saw the same thing – giants in the land that had to be conquered. But ten of the spies reacted in fear while the other two responded in faith. Caleb and Joshua remembered that God had promised them the Promise Land and gave a good report about their spy mission. Because they believed that God would help the children of Israel conquer the Promise Land, they were the only two people of their generation who lived to see it. Allow faith to work in your situation and open your eyes to God’s perspective.
2. Eliminate sin in your life
Sin leads to defeat and defeat, fear. In the Old Testament, there was a man, Achan, who hid spoils of war in his house when God specifically said not to. Joshua 7:1 tells us that he ‘broke faith’ by doing so. When the children of Israel went out to war the next time, they suffered a great defeat because God was not on their side because of Achan’s sin. Fear seeped into the hearts of the people because of Achan’s disobedience. Achan was stoned to death as a result of his disobedience. Achan died for his sins, but Jesus died for yours. God has made a way for us to be free from sin, but we need to walk in obedience to Him.
All we have to do is to confess and forsake our sinful ways!
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9
The words that Jesus said to the adulteress in John 8:11, He is saying to us today – “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Jesus’ words extended mercy but also required holiness.
When there is sin in our lives, we lose confidence in our walk with God and as a result, we walk in fear all the time. We are afraid God will not hear us or come through for us. Worse yet, we are fearful that God will punish us for our sin. But when we confess our sins to God and turn from our sinful ways, God helps us with the fear in our lives. He begins to pour out His grace and His peace, causing us to walk confidently in His love.
3. Stand firm on the foundation of truth
The knee-jerk reaction to fear is to run. We want to escape the chaos, confusion and the pain. Most of the time, we run to a place even less ideal than the place we originally were. When faced with persecution in Babylon, the children of Israel wanted to return to Egypt where they were once slaves. This was an illogical and irrational decision! They chose bondage over freedom.
God instructed them to stay in Babylon and promised them that if they did, He would build them up and not tear them down (Jeremiah 9:10-12). However, they did not heed the voice of God and went back to Egypt. No sooner than they had arrived in Egypt did Babylon conquer Egypt and they found themselves in the very situation from which they were running from.
God is trying to tell us that all we have to do is to stay in the place that God has planted us and stand firm on the foundation of Jesus Christ. There is no need to go running to someone or something else for our protection. He will protect us!
God’s words are these:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7-9
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Consider these truths and stand on it, and let God put a spirit of peace and joy in our spirits!
When life brings you its next dose of trouble, trial and chaos, remember that faith has a different perspective from fear. Ask yourself if this situation is self-inflicted and if it is, eliminate that stumbling block. Finally, stand on the promises and sure foundation of God and you will not be shaken.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!