Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
Fear. The big roadblock—sometimes the massive wall in the middle of a road—that keeps you from getting what you want. In observing life, there are many instances of fear that keep people from getting what they want every day.
A guy standing next to a girl who likes him but he’s afraid of asking her out. So he walks away, leaving himself and the girl disappointed. Another young man wants to start a business but sees all the problems before they even manifest. Ultimately, he decides against it because these problems seem so insurmountable, leaving himself and his potential clients unhappy. Every day, many people are prevented from accomplishing their dreams due to these imaginary fears.
Feelings of Fear Are Persistent
The feelings of fear are very difficult to deal with, but it’s important you know you’re not alone in struggling to cope with these kinds of issues. Feelings of fear and self-doubt are especially difficult when they are a constant part of your life, and this provokes anxiety. All of us feel anxious some of the time, especially when stressful things are happening, but we must develop strategies to cope. If we don’t, things will only get worse. A lot of us are trapped and frightened by unhealthy fears. And God does not want any of us living in dread. That is not to say that some fears are healthy. Some fears are useful.
So I would say this: fear God and fear nothing else. Believe as King David did, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”; “Though an army encamps against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.”; “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage: wait for the LORD!” (Psalm 27:1, 3, 13-14 ESV).
More than 100 times in the Bible, God commanded people, Don’t be afraid:
- “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (Genesis 15:1, NIV)
- “The LORD said to Moses, Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you, with his whole army and his land.” (Numbers 21:34, NIV)
- “The LORD said to Joshua, Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.” (Joshua 10:8, NIV)
- “Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” (Luke 8:50, NIV)
God Tells His People Not to Be Afraid
From the beginning to the very end of the Bible, in minor trials and impossible crises, God tells his people, Don’t be afraid. Is that asking too much from us? Are human beings able to be unafraid? God is a loving Father who never expects us to do something we’re incapable of doing. He either equips us for the task or steps in to help us do it. We see that principle at work throughout Scripture and since God never changes, his principles don’t either.
First, we have to acknowledge that fear is too strong for us, so only God can handle it. We have to turn our fears over to him, remembering that he is all-power, all-knowing, and always in control. I am convinced we have to replace a bad habit—fear thoughts—with a good habit, namely prayer and confidence in God. We may be able to switch thoughts with lightning speed, but we can’t think of two things at once. If we’re praying and thanking God for his help, we can’t be thinking about fear at the same time.
We need to replace our fear thoughts with prayer and confidence in God.
So, unfortunately for most of us fear is a lifelong battle, but God is our lifelong Protector. He promised to never abandon or forsake us. When we are secure in his love and salvation, nothing can snatch us from him, not even death. By holding tightly to God, no matter what, we will make it through, in spite of our fear.
A lady wrote to Billy Graham with a question which I think is fairly typical of what many people feel today:
Can God help me overcome my fears? I know I shouldn’t be this way, but I’m always worrying about what might happen to me or my children, and things like that. Sometimes it’s all I can think about. I even have nightmares about bad things that might happen to us. — Mrs. V.M.
The Key Is to Trust God
And Billy Graham took time to answer her specific question with some very helpful advice. Yes, God wants to help you overcome these fears. He loves you, and he doesn’t want you to be haunted by constant fear and anxiety. The Bible says, “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, NKJV). The key is to learn to trust God. I know this sounds simple—but think about it for a moment. If you truly believed God loved you and was in control of your future, would there be any room left for fear?
[Jesus said] “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 – NLT)
Instead, you’d commit every situation to him in prayer, and you’d know nothing could happen to you that was outside his control. You’d learn to say with the psalmist, “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear”. (Psalm 27:3). This doesn’t mean you’ll never face problems or dangers; we live in a world that has been touched by evil. But it does mean you can know God is with you every step of the way, and even in times of trouble he won’t abandon you.
Jesus warned, “In this world you will have trouble.” But then he added, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Begin by asking Christ to come into your life—and he will. Then ask him to help you trust him in everything. Your fears may not vanish overnight, but as you commit them to Christ ,”the peace of God … will guard your hearts and your minds” (Philippians 4:7).