What are your three greatest fears? How does your belief in God help you face your fears? Or does it? How can you comfort another person who is walking through the valley of fear?
I remember a lecture I heard at M.I.T. years ago when the speaker was describing the advancement of society. He said his own assessment of every century could be remembered by one word. He suggested the word for the 17th century was mathematics; the 18th was natural sciences; the 19th was biology, and the 20th was fear.
The emotion of fear is understood by everyone. But where does it originate? Does it come from an awareness of vulnerability? Does it come from the perceived power of someone who can do us harm? Does it come from our early years of being afraid of the dark, with monsters lurking under the bed or in the closet? Does it come from a legitimate weakness in ourselves? Or were we born with an extra “fear” gene that means we are susceptible to creaking doors and shadows?
Some of our fears are rational and are based on real time danger. Yet some of our fears are irrational, and lack hard evidence (or facts). Rational or not, our fear(s) can cripple us in our service of God and throttle our enjoyment of life.
A quick review of some familiar Scripture passages reveal how our responses to fear are so universal and less than godly: We hide like Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8); We lie like Abraham (20:2); We compromise our convictions like Aaron (Exodus 32:1-6); We commit sexual sin and murder like David (2 Samuel 11); We run like Jonah (1:3); We deny knowing Jesus like Peter (John 18:15-18) We lie and cheat like Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10).
How should we respond to fear? I believe the appropriate response to fear is FAITH.
Read Psalm 23.
F = Fix your thoughts and attention on Jesus, not your fears. Allow the character of God, not your emotions or senses, to define reality for you (Hebrews 12:2).
A = Ask God for help and strength. Psalm 46:1-3 is a triumphant confession of trust in God, despite difficult circumstances (see the first part of verse 10 for a bonus takeaway). God answers our cry by giving strength to our souls (Psalm 138:3).
I = Invite others to help you handle your fears. The relationships with and fellowship of other Christ-followers helps us not to have to walk alone (Acts 2:42-47).
T = Trust God even when it does not seem that He is near. Remember Psalm 56:3-4, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God, I trust.”
H = Help others to face their fears. 2 Corinthians 1:4 reminds us that God comforts us in our troubles (partly), so that we can comfort those with the same help we received.
Let’s face it, fear is a normal emotion. Faith though, should be just as normal a response to all of our fear(s). The next time your fears attempt to put you on the defensive, pressure you to cheat, lie, or break God’s commandments, make sure you run straight to God. There is a reason that God is the Hero of Psalm 23 (I counted at least seven). The real question is will you trust Him?
Grow devotionally. Give your fears to God and use His Word to walk in Faith.
Love is a verb,