Dealing with fear is one of the toughest problems we face, but how successful we are depends on the approach we take.
We’re sure to fail if we try to be God. We will succeed only if we trust God.
Satan’s lie to Eve was “For God knows that when you eat of it (the forbidden fruit) your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5, NIV) When it comes to fear, we don’t just want to be like God. We want to be God.
We not only want to know the future; we want to control it as well. However, those powers are reserved only to God.
What we fear most is uncertainty, and in these times there’s plenty of uncertainty to go around. God wants us to fear the right things, but he does not want us to fear everything. He especially does not want us to fear trusting him, and that’s what can make all the difference for us. God wants us to know he is with us and for us.
Is God Asking Too Much?
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)
Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed." (Luke 8:50, NIV)
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent." (Acts 18:9 NIV)
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last." (Revelation 1:17 NIV)
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.
Who Do You Want in Charge?
I've been thinking about fear a lot lately because I've been feeling it. I've been thinking about my past too, and I've come to a surprising conclusion. I'd rather have God know and control my future than me.
I make a lot of mistakes. God never makes any. Not one. Even when I know what to expect, I sometimes make the wrong decision. God never does. I don't have much pull. God is omnipotent, the most powerful being in the universe.
Still, I sometimes have trouble trusting him. That's just my human nature, but it makes me ashamed. This is my Father who sacrificed his only Son Jesus for me. On one hand I have Satan whispering to me, “Don't surrender to him,” and on the other hand I hear Jesus say, “Take courage. It is I. Don't be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27, NIV)
I believe Jesus. How about you? We can give in to fear and let Satan dance us around like a puppet, or we can trust God and know for sure that we are safe in his hands. God never lets us go. Even if we die, he will bring us safely to him in heaven, eternally secure.
Too Much for Willpower
It's always going to be a struggle for us. Fear is a strong emotion, and we're all control freaks at heart. Jesus knows that. And because of that awful night in Gethsemane, he knows firsthand what fear is like. In spite of that, he can still tell us, “Don't be afraid.”
When we're trying to obey that command, willpower alone just doesn't cut it. We can try to squelch our fearful thoughts, but they just keep popping up, like a ball held under water. Two things are necessary.
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.
Second, 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.
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.
Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.