God's Answer to My Biggest Fears
Carolyn Moeller – Worship Ministry Admin
From an outside perspective, some fears may seem unthreatening, small, even laughably unrealistic. But to the person experiencing the fear, it can produce an unimaginable amount of stress! We’re not talking about the precautionary signals that our brain sends us when we think, “Driving at 100 MPH probably isn’t the safest way to travel and could end poorly for me” or “I really should keep my eye on this one-year-old because he really doesn’t know any better.”
What I’m addressing is the overwhelming, obsessive fear of the unknown or what could be, which many times falls into an irrational or improbable category. The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors defines sinful fear as, “Fear that motivates us away from biblical thinking, speaking, and behaving.” If left unchecked, it has the potential to endlessly colonize in the mind and hinder us from living the life God wants us to live. So, what is God’s answer to our biggest fears?
LEARN FROM PETER
One of the most well-known stories about Jesus is when he and Peter are walking on the water. (Matthew 14) Earlier in the day, Jesus was ministering to thousands on the shores of Galilee. The crowds were dismissed, the disciples were on their way to the other side of the sea, and Jesus was spending some time alone in prayer. Evening came, the sky darkened and wind picked up, and the waves were beating against the boat. Jesus came toward them walking on the water and calmed their startled hearts by saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” Jesus then commands Peter to come out onto the water to Him. Peter steps out of the boat and starts walking toward Jesus. Then Peter sees the wind and becomes afraid. He begins to sink and cries out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately grabs Peter to save him and says, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
The first and obvious conclusion from this account is that Peter began to sink when he allowed his mind to focus on the situation and not on his Savior. The best and most often missed aspect of this story is that Peter was going to be safe either way! If Peter kept His eyes on Jesus and walked toward him with great faith, he was going to be okay. If Peter became afraid and cried out for Jesus to save him in his weakened faith, he was going to be okay. Peter’s outcome wasn’t dependent on his amount of faith. His outcome was dependent on the source of his faith. Our confidence to face our fears cannot be drawn from our individual strength and stamina. Our confidence comes from faith in the One who has saved us and is continually strong for us!
REALIGN YOUR OBSESSION
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts our fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18) When we allow our minds to dwell on our fears, we are cultivating fertile soil for the roots of fear to grow. When our minds are instead fixated on the One who called himself the Good Shepherd, the floodgates of security, confidence, and peace are opened wide. Our fears begin to dissolve.
When was the last time that you spent time meditating on the vastness and depth of God’s love for you? Paul described it as a love that surpasses knowledge, a love that we need strength to even comprehend. (Ephesians 3:18,19) In his letter to the Romans, Paul stresses that there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from God’s love and that all things work for our good. God is on our side! (Psalm 56:9) Scripture is riddled with descriptions of a God who wants what’s best for us and fights for us out of an intense love for His children. When we have internalized this right view of God’s provision and wisdom, we become a person who “is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid.” (Psalm 112:7-8)
TURN YOUR TIMES OF FEAR INTO TIMES OF WORSHIP
Every opportunity to fear presents an equal opportunity to glorify God in worship. Hebrews tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please Him.” When fear presents itself, resolve to glorify the Lord by turning your concerns over to Him with a trusting heart. The Apostle Peter describes this as humbling ourselves under the will of God, understanding that He cares for us. (1 Peter 5) We are faithfully acknowledging that God’s provision is constant through every situation. We are looking into the unknown, the future, death, or a phobia and instead of choosing fear or despair, we choose to trust God as an act of worship. Trust that he will provide the strength to follow him when he leads you on a path that crosses your fears. Resolve to let God lead your life; do not let fear lead your life. If your life is rearranged around your fears, they will only be amplified.
Worship God through singing in the moment, even if you are in a place where you can only recite the words of a song in your mind. Sing words full of truth that will silence the voice of fear. Sing of his strength, sing of his love, sing of his sacrifice for you in death and his hope for you in life! Pray boldly in the moment that the ever-present Holy Spirit would fill you with his peace and his strength. Claim God’s promises in Scripture over the situation — Isaiah 41:10-14, Psalm 37:5, Psalm 55:22, Exodus 14:14, and Romans 8:28 are great places to start! Face and fight your fears knowing that victory leads to more victory.
In John 8, Jesus describes Satan as “a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Satan’s primary goal is to disorient our compass of truth which many times leads to fear. Do not live as if you were a slave to the Enemy — “for you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons.” (Romans 8:15) Let’s live in the freedom of that truth today with the confidence that is only found in Jesus!