As I look back on my counseling career one of the most prevalent problems I discovered among believers is the issue of FEAR. I do understand that most everyone has some sort of fear. The level of fear ranges from simple fear, like loud noises, to severe phobias like the fear of being touched.
Sociologists tells us that every person is born with two fears, the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Every other fear is man-made. How each person develops the different types of fear has been debated for years. I think it is a combination of how you were raised, and your worldview, as well as your primary influences such as friends, culture, and your life experiences.
Regardless of how we developed our various fears the bigger issue is how we handle our fears. Fear left unchecked will control us and will be a major factor in our day to day inner peace and our general sense of well-being. If you don’t learn to contain and control your fear your life will be characterized by fear. Fear could become a way of life.
There is not enough space in this short article to go very deep on the subject of how to deal with fear, but maybe the following observation will help.
Fear is based on the future and is generally characterized by “what might be”, rather than what is true at this moment. God’s intention for us is to live fully in the present but not in the past nor the future. When we live in the past we have a tendency to be an angry person. An angry person is usually an argumentative soul. Normal for them is to stir up disharmony and create a stressful situation.
When we live in the future we become fearful. We tend to worry about “what might be” rather than what we are experiencing in the present. When you are fearful and live in the future it causes you to “hoard or run.” You have a tendency to hoard because you fear what you might not have in the future. You run because you think if you can change the location the fear will go away.
The opposite of fear is trust and rest. Hebrews tells us that “there is a rest for the people of God…let us make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fail by following their example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:9-11) Through Christ’s redemptive work on the cross we are given a unique opportunity to draw on God’s provision of supernatural rest. That means we now have a choice, we can worry or rest. There are not psycho-mind games to play when dealing with worry, we just learn to rest in Christ’s provision. Christ is enough.
As a committed follower of Jesus, living in fear is the ultimate insult to God’s character. I know that sounds a bit harsh but God’s provision of “Christ in us” gives us the ultimate power and ability to live victorious over fear’s domination. Fear is opposite of trust. When we choose to fear rather than trust, we are in danger of offending God’s character.
If God is all powerful, and He is, and He is all knowing, and He is, and He is everywhere, and He is, then why live in a world of “what if”? If you are living in fear then you are enslaved. It doesn't matter what you are afraid of, or even if you don’t know what you are afraid of, the enemy is using fear to enslave and control.
When we received Christ we became someone that we have never been before. We received a new nature, became the “tabernacle” of God, and were given the ability to dominate every fear that comes our way. In Christ we are both positionally and literally fearless. (Romans 8)
So the next time you are tempted to give in to fear remember the following steps:
Acknowledge to God that you are indeed fearful. You realize that fear is a lack of trust in God's ability to control your future.
Declare with an act of your will that this fear is inconsistent with who you are in Christ.
Cast your fear on Christ (1 Peter 5:7)
By faith, walk in your identity in Christ and take God’s peace, rest and provision.
Now here is the question you must ponder. Will you “put on Christ” and draw on the rest that is yours and be fearless, or will you choose to be controlled by fear? The choice is yours.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him…for in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.” (Colossians 2)