Overcoming Fear :: by John Lysaught

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

What are you fearful of? Is it that bill that you’re waiting for to come in from the mail? Maybe it is the future of your kids and their salvation or that of another family member. What if you are fearful of the unknowns in life, such as tomorrow or next week or 10 years from now? Are you fearful of your health, your relationships, and standing with your spouse? Are you worried about the Rapture or fear that you really aren’t saved?

I could go on and on but I think you get the message: Fear can get a hold of us and hold us back and rip us apart.

Not all fear is bad though. I mean, if you are in the woods and see a bear coming toward you, I would hope most people would be scared. That kind of fear is a “fight or flight” fear which is good because it can save your life. What I’m framing here is fear as it relates to everyday life and our relationship with Christ.

All too often we tend to get wrapped-up and wound-up over unnecessary fears which in the big scheme of life—are really not too much to be fearful of. Have you stayed up all night, lying in bed worried about tomorrow, about some financial challenges or as most parents, that first night your child has the car and is not home yet?

When we get fearful of things our minds seem to automatically go to the extremes of what bad things could happen. The mind automatically switches from rational thoughts to catastrophic thoughts of what may happen. We get worked up, stressed out, and our anxiety levels shoot through the roof, only to be finally tempered—once that thing we were fearful of results in really nothing to have been scared of in the first place.

We get a sense of relief from the fear that the medical bill has a decimal place not in the thousands, but the hundreds. We feel relief when our children come home safe and sound. We feel the weight of fear lift off our shoulders when we realize our fear was not necessary. Then, you know what? The cycle continues and goes round and round each day, each week, until we turn into worry warts. This cycle of fear will spill over to our relationship with Christ and can disconnect us from Him.

I remember after a few months of being saved, I had this great fear that I was not saved. It was irrational, but I couldn’t get over it. I stressed a lot, I became anxious and I feared the Rapture would come the next day and I would be left behind. This kind of slippery slope of these thoughts got worse and worse and then it got in the way of my walk with Jesus to a point where I was pleading every day for salvation. I eventually came to my senses after the Holy Spirit assured my heart that, yes, I was saved and I am a child of God.

It was a relief to have the Holy Spirit assure me that I am saved! Yet I still get scared of everyday life occurrences and challenges. That’s why I’m writing about this. I wanted to know what the Bible said about fear and it says a lot. I figured that if I’m fearful of things then there must be others like me, and we need the assurance of the importance of not being fearful or of being a worry wart.

“So that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me’” (Hebrews 13:6).

This is taking the challenges we face daily through those of the world and the world. Those of the world and not of God will try to snare and trap us into fear. Satan uses this tactic to get into our minds to cause us to get scared with the hope that our fear will translate to separation from Christ.

Those of us who are saved are not of this world, but you know what, we are stuck in this world until it is time to go home with Christ. We survive each day while being surrounded by wicked men, women, temptations of sin, and the battle of our minds and hearts against Satan. Satan and the world will throw everything at you to give you fear in your heart.

Having fear of this world will put you down and make you no better than the world around you. We are children of God, are separated from the world and Satan in our thoughts and actions. We are set apart from the world and should not face the fear of men of this world or the world itself.

Easier said than done, right? I mean, look, we are human beings, imperfect humans that have challenges all the time that are related to this world. Are they justifiable fears? Is it okay to be scared or worried about if your bank account will be in the negative before the next paycheck or how you will pay for your kid’s college? No, you shouldn’t have those fears but we still do, and we need to remember that rationally, we should not be fearful of worldly things.

What about our loved ones, especially those who aren’t saved? We love and care for them so much that it hurts and scares us to think that they may never be saved and we won’t see them in heaven. We fear for their salvation, their well-being, and their safety. We fear for our health, especially, when the doctor says he needs to run some tests and doesn’t say why. God does not want us to be scared of these and other things. In Joshua 1:19 he says:

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

You see that? God is with us and we don’t need to be afraid. We can trust that He will be with us.

Even this recognizable verse should remind of us to not be fearful of anything:

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

Christ is our Comforter in those times when we do get scared of the evils of this world. Fear is a powerful force that Satan can use against us to cause us to drift from our relationship with Christ. Yet Christ is our Rock who we can trust in to sustain us through those times—when we are fearful of events or spiritual battles.

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22).

When we are burdened with fear, when fear has enveloped around us like thick fog, we can trust that not only is God with us, but He will sustain us until that fog clears and we can see again. It’s like trying to see the entire forest when you are in the forest; you can’t see the big picture of things. We tend to look at life about as far as our hand can reach out and then begin to worry about things because we can’t see the forest from the trees.

God will not let us be moved. If we are saved and believe in Christ and His sacrifice for us, we can trust, without fear, that we won’t be moved. We won’t be swayed by the world or the fears and worries that they lost want us to feel to separate us from Christ.

John 16:33 says: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Christ didn’t come here in the flesh for us to have fear, but he came here so we can have peace.

Peace is the opposite of fear and peace is something we should all strive for. Fear causes a lot of negative thought processes but peace brings that, “Ahhhh” relief to our hearts from Christ that everything will be okay. Christ will take care of us and we would be wise to remember this. When we face fear, we should automatically turn to Christ and ask for peace and guidance. We should not let our minds drift and fantasize about all the bad things that can happen.

Christ, in the flesh overcame the world. If He did this, as our example, then we too should strive to overcome the world as well. Again, the world is a horrid place. Other than death or Rapture, we cannot escape this world and so we must learn to live in it, yet not be of it. Like the verse says, He didn’t come to earth to let us fear, but He came so we could have peace. What a wonderful thing He did for us!

So some of you may say how do we overcome fear and have peace? We have the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us comfort to face and negate the effects of fear:

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14: 16-17)

The unsaved in the world do not have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is for those of us who ARE saved. Notice in the verse that it says, “I will pray the Father.” Christ is asking God Himself to give us the Holy Spirit to be in and with us. I’ve forgotten what it is like not to have the Holy Spirit in my heart. I can only imagine those who are without the Holy Spirit needlessly wandering around life without any God-inspired direction. They don’t have a God-given gift to guide them in everyday life, as we who are saved, do.

To those who are of the world, it is a mystery to them that the Holy Spirit is in us. They don’t understand the importance of having the Holy Spirit to receive the guidance to lead us and keep us on the path of righteousness and peace. A lot of people don’t care about this, and that is their choice; for they are content with the things of the world because they are of the world. Yet we know that the Comforter is in us to keep us safe, to give us guidance, and to lead us to the things Christ wants from us and what He wants us to do in this life.

Have you ever observed an unsaved person live life? They live it out of fear. Even those who seem happy enough, are fearful of life. They fear the unknown (death). They fear bad things will happen to them all the time and they live in fear. Because of this they worry about everything.

They try to relieve this fear by living worldly lives and not for Christ. They make a lot of money because they fear they will be poor. They fear death and live haphazardly through life with no direction, without Christ in their lives to guide them. They are in the midst of darkness and see no light except the darkness of the world that is ruled by Satan and the fear he has trapped them with.

We need not fear though, because we have one thing to our advantage—Christ. With Christ on our side, what do we need to be fearful of? What thing or event can cause us to be fearful? Absolutely nothing. Does this mean we won’t face fear at times? No, but as we grow with Christ, we fear things less and less as our relationship with Christ grows and grows.

People, if you are saved and are fearful of the things in life, now is the time to give them to Christ and live a life of serenity. Christ will take those burdens of fear and will give you peace. This doesn’t mean life will be easy, nor will you be free of worry all the time. But strive to be at peace with your life and strive to grow in Christ.

As you tend to your relationship with Christ, it will not only bloom, it will thrive like an overflowing garden. Christ came to us and is here for us to have peace; peace in this horrible world in which we live and peace that we are saved by Him forever by choosing Him. We are children of God and we live with the hopeful expectation of life forever with Christ.

Don’t let fear get in the way of your walk with Christ. Gain strength in Christ to overcome fear and defeat the world and Satan as they try to steer you away from Him. When you overcome fear and gain peace in its place, you grow stronger and are better able to face the tribulations of life that would cause great fear to the unsaved. Trust in Christ.