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The Christian Response to FEAR

on June 7, 2017

Fear… the overwhelming feeling of impending doom that seems to take over one’s being. I must admit, I’ve had fear attack me on numerous occasions in my life. I’d think to myself, “Pull yourself together… where is your Christian faith?!” The horrible feeling of fear – I had to find out where it was coming from, and find a way to overcome it! But how?

In this blog entry, I will not be speaking from an ivory tower of victory whilst looking down upon others who still have fears. No – because I still grapple with this thing of fear myself, at times. Nonetheless, I do not want to diminish how far God has brought me. I cannot say that I’ve got this thing “whipped”; but I can say that God has brought me a long way from where I once was and I no longer feel ruled over by fear. Allow me some time to share what the Lord has showed me… it may help you, also.

 

Is It a Sin to Fear?

believeIt is human nature to fear. Some believe that it is a sin to fear. However, I am not personally convinced of that stance. Sure, negative fear brings torment and is unhealthy for us to bear; but oftentimes, we do not willfully choose to have fears. In fact, many who have a problem with fear wish that they didn’t.

Throughout scripture, we see examples of God’s children who had very real fears. When the Apostle Paul was in Macedonia, he said their flesh had no rest and that they had inward fears. Nonetheless, God comforted them by sending Titus (see 2nd Cor. 7). God can use various means to comfort us in our hard times.

The only type of fear which I see as sinful (according to the Bible) is the fear to stand up for God, and to fear what it might cost us (or what we might lose) in order to serve God. In other words, it is a sin to be cowardly and fearful where our faith is concerned, and it is sinful to value anything over God and to fear what we might lose in order to serve him. We must be willing to die for our faith if it comes down to it. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28). In this scripture, we see the negative sense of fear (fearing persecution) and the positive sense of fear (fearing the Lord).

Furthermore, we find Revelation 21:8 states: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”  In this scripture, we find the original Greek meaning for the word, “fearful” defined as:

“Cowardly, timid, fearful. Deilós (an adjective derived from deidō, “fear-driven”) – properly, dreadful, describing a person who loses their ‘moral gumption (fortitude)’ that is needed to follow the Lord; (“Fearful of losses”) refers to an excessive fear (dread) of ‘losing,’ causing someone to be fainthearted (cowardly) – hence, to fall short in following Christ as Lord. /deilós is always used negatively in the NT and stands in contrast to the positive fear which can be expressed by /phóbos (‘fear,’ see Phil. 2:12). Christians who through cowardice give way under persecutions and apostatize. From deos (dread); timid, i.e. (by implication) faithless — fearful.”

So you see, there are different types of fear – some are positive/healthy (as in fearing/reverencing the Lord), some are negative/unhealthy, and others are overtly sinful. When Jesus is denied due to fear, it is sin. “But whosoever shall deny me [Jesus] before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:33).

NOTE: In order to cut down on confusion – the remainder of this blog entry will be focusing on overcoming the negative/unhealthy sense of fear and not so much focusing on the positive or overtly sinful types of fears. I just wanted to mention such fears in the beginning to cover all types of fears that a person can have.

The Root of the Problem

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” ~Psalm 56:3

strengthI’ve never been a fan of “Band-Aid” methods – simply covering over the hurt and proverbial infected wound of problems while allowing the root of the issue to remain. Imagine having a fast-growing skin cancer on your face. Sure, you could put a bandage over it or even try to use cosmetics to conceal it – but the cancer is still there, causing problems, and it needs to be identified and removed in order for healing to take place. The same applies to fear. The root cause of fear must be identified in order to eradicate it so that healing can take place.

Firstly, we must identify where our fear is derived. Please note that there are some physical diseases and disorders which affect the central nervous system and cause one to feel nervous, uneasy, and sometimes panicked. This type of fear is more of a physical response rather than a mental or spiritual response. Nonetheless, God is well able to help us deal with any type of fear. But usually, most fears are from our mind or from our spirit. These latter types of fear can only thrive where there is lack of trust… remember that. I don’t say that in a scolding manner, but if we trust God whole-heartedly to care for us no matter what, then we can find a place of peace. That’s not to say that we still won’t have concerns or emotions – but we will rule the fear rather than the fear ruling us.

Secondly, we must identify what unhealthy fears do to us. Does it give us a good feeling to fear? Does it glorify God? Does it help us to become a better person? Does it keep our thoughts centered on Christ? Does it bring peace? No, usually fear is a bully and it will turn us into frightened little mice, scurrying for cover. This is no way to live! It robs our joy, our peace of mind, our contentment, our time, and our health. Christian Nazi Concentration Camp survivor, Corrie Ten Boom, once said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”

Imagine fearing something dreadful for one-thousand days, yet, it never happens. This fear has, not only robbed one-thousand days, but it has robbed us of the strength we would need should we ever have to face such a horrible event. At the root, fear is often a thought that God will somehow fail us in our darkest hour or in our times of turbulence. This must be hurtful to our Master. And can we really change anything by fearing it or by having worrisome thoughts about it? (See Matt. 6:25-34). In fact, when we focus on such fears and dreadful things, we are basically living them out every day – even when they are not presently occurring. That’s not what we want; we must get a hold on this tormenting fear!

The Bible instructs us:Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” (2nd Cor. 10:5). If we did not have the ability to do so, God would never taunt us with such instructions as these. The Christian has a huge advantage over fear!

Lay the axe of God’s Word to the root of fear because it does not bring peace and does not glorify God. Plus, His Word instructs us to think on pleasant things – not dreadful ones. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil 4:8).

How To Fight Fear

“I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” ~Psalm 34:4

fnI have heard many Christian leaders give advice to use scripture to combat fear. While that is definitely true – I would like to take that a step further. You must meditate upon and believe the scriptures you tell yourself in the throes of fear, or it will just be words. You must be fully persuaded and convinced that, yes, fear does bring torment (just as God’s Word says). And yes, it’s true that God has not given me the spirit of fear (just as God’s Word says).

It takes great discipline to retrain your mind to go to God’s Word because your fears will try to bully you out of it. And when you first start using God’s Word to combat fear, this spirit of fear will laugh at you and make your scripture quotes seem feeble and unhelpful. But never mind, you just keep on facing fear with scripture and keep the faith. Over time, the scripture will become so solidified and powerful in your mind and heart that they will act as a prophylaxis, of sorts, against fear to repel it before it gets out of hand.

I would also recommend expounding upon the scriptures to yourself. Instead of just quoting the scripture alone (which is great), take it a step further and stir up your faith by expounding and meditating upon it. For example, you could say something like, “God’s Word, that cannot lie, says that God has not given me this spirit of fear. So this unhealthy fear which I am feeling is from an evil spirit attacking me, because it is not from God. I have authority over that spirit in Jesus’ name and by His blood. The Bible says that God wants me to have a sound mind. So, I’m not going to give into this fear because it is not from God.” Then, follow up with a prayer.

Again, you must use scripture to convince yourself that your fear is NOT from God. As a Christian, we should be quick to whole-heartedly reject anything that is not from God. It doesn’t matter the psychological label that it is given, it is tormenting you and it’s not from God! Remember, 1st John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” When we know that we are perfectly loved and cared for by God, it casts out fear and torment. Why? Because we know that no matter what happens, He is our rock and He will never leave us comfortless or floundering around with no help. Again, it goes back to how much we trust God. As his children, we have sure access to Him at all times.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:31-32).

Inspiring Thoughts

In conclusion, please see the additional quotes below in order to combat fear and to give you a clear, Christian perspective:

♦“Our lives are full of supposes. Suppose this should happen, or suppose that should happen; what could we do; how could we bear it? But, if we are living in the high tower of the dwelling place of God, all these supposes will drop out of our lives. We shall be quiet from the fear of evil, for no threatenings of evil can penetrate into the high tower of God. Even when walking through the valley of the shadow of death, the psalmist could say, will fear no evil; and, if we are dwelling in God, we can say so too.” ~Hannah Whitall Smith

♦“I prayed to dispel my fear, until suddenly, and I do not know how the idea came to me, I began to pray for others. I prayed for everyone who came into my thoughts – people with whom I had traveled, those who had been in prison with me, my school friends of years ago. I do not know how long I continued my prayer, but this I do know – – my fear was gone! Interceding for others had released me!” ~Corrie Ten Boom (Nazi Concentration Camp survivor)

♦“Where is thy faith? Stand fast and with perseverance. Be long-suffering and strong. Consolation will come unto thee in its due season. Wait for Me; yea, wait; I will come and heal thee. It is temptation which vexeth thee, and a vain fear which terrifieth thee. What doth care about future events bring thee, save sorrow upon sorrow? ‘Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.’ It is vain and useless to be disturbed or lifted up about future things which perhaps will never come. But it is the nature of man to be deceived by fancies of this sort, and it is a sign of a mind which is still weak to be so easily drawn away at the suggestion of the enemy. For he careth not whether he deceive and beguile by true means or false; whether he throw thee down by the love of the present or fear of the future. Therefore let not thy heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” ~Thomas à Kempis (Author, 1380-1471)

♦“A Prayer Against Evil Thoughts” by: Thomas à Kempis

“O Lord my God, ‘be not Thou far from me, my God, haste Thee to help me,’ for many thoughts and great fears have risen up against me, afflicting my soul. How shall I pass through them unhurt? How shall I break through them? ‘I,’ saith He, ‘will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight.’ I will open the prison doors, and reveal to thee the secret places…

Do, Lord, as Thou sayest; and let all evil thoughts fly away before Thy face. This is my hope and my only comfort, to fly unto Thee in all tribulation, to hope in Thee, to call upon Thee from my heart and patiently wait for Thy loving kindness.”

Sources: biblehub.com, en.wikipedia.org, polyvore.com

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4 responses to “The Christian Response to FEAR

  1. Susan Dunn says:

    When I read this article, it is written in such a way, and backed up by the Word of God, that I began to feel hopeful against fears. It doesn’t condemn Christians like a lot of people and articles do if you are a person who does have fears. Prize winning article from my perspective.

  2. Kimberly Dunn says:

    Thanks for this! It will really help me

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