Fear seems to be running rampant in our world today and it’s not just terrorism, but fear of failure, rejection, poverty, being alone and being lonely, being disqualified from something, being turned down, etc. God knows exactly what troubles our hearts. He wrote about an aspect of it in Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.”
Fear can wreak havoc with our minds, our health, our sense of well-being and peace. Who hasn’t feared something in life? We’ve all experienced little and large fears no matter how hold you are. Our movies, music, books and media all play into those fears and multiply it greatly depending on what we let into our eye and ear-gates.
So how do we handle ourselves when we are afraid? I think the first thing to do is recognize that fear is present. Ignoring any emotion is a bad thing and can only make things worse in the end. So admitting we are fearful is a good thing. When we bring this emotion or any other before the Lord’s light, it brings healing and peace. Sometimes we aren’t aware of what the root cause of the fear really is. We know we’re fearful or anxious, but don’t know why. Ask the Lord for the answer. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” James 1:5 also states, “If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.”
God never chides His children when they ask Him for anything. It’s not a sin when we don’t know something. Rest in His arms knowing that He really wants to shed light on what’s going on in your life. Whatever is bothering you is bothering Him. Wait for His answer. He won’t take long to bring whatever is happening in your heart to the surface. Sometimes when I ask God to bring the root of my fears into view, I’m often surprised at the answer. He never makes us ashamed either. He is tender in His dealing with us.
I believe most fears are rooted in this verse from 1 John 4:18 – “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].”
Isn’t fear of rejection (and other fears) really fear of being punished? We are well aware that we aren’t perfect. We view rejection, slander, disappointment, being turned down, even death itself as part of some punishment coming from God. Our wrong view of God is that He is still punishing us for something we’ve done. It’s really a failure to understand the depth of His love for us. If we don’t really believe we are fully forgiven, completely rid of our sins because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, then fear has an avenue to enter our hearts because we’re still fearful there is some punishment yet to come.
Romans 8:16 says, “ For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!” These verses can make us feel condemned because we all have fear and anxiety but it’s His love that is full-grown and complete, not ours. We don’t need to “try” extra hard to feel forgiven or loved. Just focus on how much Jesus loves you, how much the Father loves you and the Spirit also. Don’t even focus on wondering if the fear has left or not. Focus on Jesus and it will dissolve without your effort. God’s desire is for us to know first-hand how greatly we’ve been forgiven, greatly loved and favored! It’s the enemy – the accuser – who reminds us of our sins and faults, but never God. God has put away, erased and will never, ever remember our sins – ever again. The work of Christ was so complete that no matter what you did in the past or do today or will do tomorrow, God cannot see it through the blood of His Son. When we get a hold of that truth, it truly revolutionizes our souls. There is nothing left to punish in the believers life! That is the gospel – good news.
Of course we can do things to avoid stirring up fear, like being careful what we watch and listen to. Proverbs 4 states, “Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.” If you know something or someone makes you fearful or anxious, then avoid it. Most times our struggles are self-made. But God understands our nature to the fullest extent and loves us even more!
So when you find yourself afraid or anxious, go to Him who alone knows how to settle your heart and drive that fear clear out of you. Be honest and tell Him all about it asking Him to get to the root of the fear itself. In John 3 Jesus said this: “For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved. But he who practices truth comes out into the Light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are—wrought with God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence upon Him].” Fear hates the light of God who is Jesus. So bring your fear right to the feet of Jesus and allow Him to love it out of you. He will surely do it!