Handling Fear & Worry Biblically Part 2 + LINKUP

 

Handling Fear & Worry Biblically Part 2 - When sin entered the world it was accompanied by an uninvited guest … FEAR. Yet, the Bible tells us over 450 times, “fear not” or similar words. Find out the two root causes of fear and learn to overcome it biblically in your own life.

 

Handling Fear & Worry Biblically Part 2

 

We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” We’ve covered anger and depression. Last week we started talking about fear and worry. If you missed any of them, just click on the link.

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Fear & Worry

 

Last week I said that some sins are so common they’ve almost become acceptable, even among believers in Christ. Though we may spin them with words like: concerned, disturbed, or troubled, fear and worry fall into that category. Last week we focused on worry, how it comes from a divided mind, that it has sinful roots, and how it’s a form of idolatry. Today we’ll focus on fear.

 

Fear

 

The minute Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God, an uninvited guest called “fear” showed up, too. Genesis 3:

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

When Cain killed his brother Abel and was banished, he responded with self-pity and fear. Genesis 4:

13 And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14 Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.”

We fear what God will do. We fear what people will do. We fear what people think of us. We fear someone taking advantage of us or not loving us. We fear being disrespected. We fear all over the place.

 

“Fear Not”

 

Handling Fear & Worry God's WayYet, in His Word, God told us not to fear over 450 times.

He told a fearful mother:

17 … Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation” (Gen. 21.17-18).

He assured the nation of Israel of His help and deliverance by telling them to “fear not” (Is. 41.10, 13, 14). And in chapter 43 He said:

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.

In Exodus 4 God reassured a fearful, insecure future leader:

Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’”

10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

11 So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

And when he persisted, God sent his brother Aaron with him (Ex. 4.13-17).

In the New Testament, Paul told a nervous young preacher named Timothy:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1.7).

 

2 Root Causes of Fear

 

2 Root Causes of Fear - Instead of addressing Adam’s fearful feelings in Genesis 3, God addressed the roots of sinful fear:

11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

In that short verse He summed up the two causes of fear: who we are listening to (11a) and sin (11b).

Yet, God does not intend for His people to live in fear. 

 

Is All Fear Wrong?

 

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge (Prov. 14.26).The Bible mentions two kinds of fear. The fear of God and the fear of people, things, and circumstances.

The fear of God is not a cowering fear. It’s not the fear of a mean, retaliatory God. The fear of God is awe. It’s respect for the Creator of heaven and earth and proper respect for His anger and appropriate consequences for sin. It’s an acknowledgement of God for who He is. The fear of God drives out all other fears.

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and leads to good understanding (Ps. 110.10). The fear of God results in peace, security and rest in His protection.

Fear of the Lord leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm (Prov. 19.23 NLT).

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And His children will have a place of refuge (Prov. 14.26).

When we put our trust in God, we don’t need to be afraid of other people or what they can do to us.

In God I have put my trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me (Ps. 56.11)?

1 John 4.18 says, “There is no fear in love …” The New Living Translation says it this way:

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

When we come to understand God and His love for us fully, when we understand His character, we can trust Him completely without fear.

Fear often prevents us for loving others as we’re commanded to do (Matt. 22.37-40). We fear their rejection. We fear being hurt, disappointed, or taken advantage of. We give fear a black eye when we trust God enough to step out in faith and love others as we should.

Proverbs 29.25 says:

The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.

 

“A Spirit of Fear”

 

But when we give in to wrong thinking as Timothy was tempted to do (2 Tim. 1.7) and we start to look around at the circumstances instead of keeping our eyes on God (Matt. 14.30), “a spirit of fear” can overtake us. This is the attitude or emotion of fear. This kind of fear is often irrational.

The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions (Prov. 28.1).

When this  happens, we need to repent and get our eyes back on the Lord.

Remember what God said to Adam, “Who told you that you were naked?” In other words, what’s your source of truth? Who have you been listening to, Adam?

Who or what are we listening to when we give in to fear? Are we listening to the promises of God or another voice?

 

Fear of Judgment or Consequences

 

The second question God asked Adam was, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Instead of admitting his sin, Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the devil and the result was God’s judgment.

If our fear is the result of sin, instead of blame-shifting or denying our guilt, we need to confess it to God and receive His forgiveness. If we’ve sinned against other people, we need to humble ourselves and ask for their forgiveness.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1.8-9).

23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift (Matt. 5.23-24).

So, if our fear stems from a guilty conscience or from our sinful thoughts, words or actions, the answer is confession and repentance.

 

The Antidote for Fear

 

The Antidote for FearSo, the antidote for fear is to learn to:

Meditate on God and His Word. Study God’s character. Memorize verses about His love, goodness, faithfulness, and sovereignty.

Deal with sin and guilt biblically. Be quick to confess your sin to God and others.

Develop your love. Jesus said loving God is the greatest commandment and the second is like it, to love others as we love ourselves (Matt. 22.37-40). Later He said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn. 14.15). Study 1 Corinthians 13.4-8a and ask God how you can love others the way Paul described.

Learn to view fearful situations as opportunities to grow and trust Him more (Rom. 8.28-29; 1 Cor. 10.13; 2 Tim. 1.7; Prov. 14.26, 19.23).

 

Verses to Memorize when Tempted to Fear:

 

Verses for When You're Tempted to FearFor God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1.7).

 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love (1 Jn. 4.18).

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: 

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13.5-6)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prov. 1.7).

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you (Is. 43.1-2).

The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe (Prov. 29.25).

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And His children will have a place of refuge (Prov. 14.26).

The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions (Prov. 28.1).

 

In future posts we’ll look more at guilt and cover trials and suffering. Be sure to add your email here so you don’t miss any of them.

Blessings,
Donna


Resources for Dealing with Fear & Worry:

 

Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety: Becoming a Woman of Faith and Confidence by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Elyse gives some of the most practical advice for conquering the paralyzing emotions many encounter as they deal with what seem like overwhelming concerns about rebellious children, problems in the workplace or home, health issues, financial difficulties, and more.

Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety can help …

  • Identify the source of fear, worry, and anxiety
  • Transform fearful thoughts into peaceful confidence
  • Discover specific strategies for overcoming anxiety

I’ve seen many people find comfort and encouragement through her real–life examples of how others, including Elyse, have cast their cares upon God and experienced His strength and love.

When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man by Ed Welch

However you put it, the fear of man can be summarized this way: We replace God with people. Instead of fearing God, we fear others.

It may go by other names. In our teens, we called it “peer pressure.” When we got older, we called it “people-pleasing.” Recently, it has been called “codependency.” With these labels in mind, most of us can spot the fear of man everywhere.

Do you ever struggle with people-pleasing? Do you find it hard to say “no”? Are you over-committed? Do you “need” your spouse to listen to you? Respect you? For many people, the desire for these things goes far deeper than just a desire for good relationships.

Is self-esteem a big concern for you? If self-esteem is a recurring issue, chances are that your life revolves around what others think. You reverence or fear their opinions.

Do you ever feel you might be exposed as an impostor? Even, many business executives and successful people do. This is an expression of the fear of man.

Do you get easily embarrassed? If so, people and their perceived opinions probably define you.

THE problem is clear: People are too big in our lives and God is too small.

If anyone said, “OUCH!” to one or more of those questions, I’m right there with you. I recently took a counselee through this book. I mistakenly thought, “This isn’t for me. I’ve already rooted out most of that stuff from my life!” Was I in for a shock! It turns out this stuff is hard to eradicate!

If you struggle with fear and worry, I hope you’ll order one of these helpful resources.

 

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24 thoughts on “Handling Fear & Worry Biblically Part 2 + LINKUP

  1. Fear really steals lots of our joy. I think it’s interesting that you recognized fear in your own life while going through the book with a client. I think it’s neat how God uses situations in our lives to bring our own issues to the forefront. Many times, I’ve found myself giving advice that I could have applied to myself. Reminds me I am a still a work in progress. I have not arrived.

  2. These are such powerful verses you’ve shared — or I should say, they are verses that focus my attention on the power of God in relation to the size of my fears.

    I’ll be back later to link up!

    • Michele, I’m so glad the verses and God’s truth spoke to you. I’m sorry about the linkup problem. I have no idea why, but it took some work to finally get it to work. Some little piece of code, I guess! My apologies!

  3. Thank you for this, Donna. I am in one of the biggest battles against fear I have ever encountered in my life. This, after seeing all God has already done. I don’t know why I can’t learn to trust Him and His awesome power to right what is wrong. I love all the Scriptures you shared. God bless you.

    • Cheryl, I’ll be praying that God gives you His peace in that area. Fear can certainly be unreasonable, can’t it! But God is greater!

    • Sue, thanks for letting me know. I have no idea why, but it took some work to finally get it to work. Some little piece of code, I guess! My apologies!

  4. Basically God and fear don’t go together. Man it’s so easy, logically. I pray for my heart to walk so closely with God that there’s no room for fear!

  5. Hi Donna, I heard recently fear is the second strongest emotion. I think we all deal with it more than we think. I’ve been trying to ignore that little fearful voice… thanks for the verses!

    • I do think we all deal with the temptation to fear in one way or the other and need those “swords of the Spirit” to fight back, don’t we!

  6. Great list of verses, and I can understand why we are told not to fear so many times in the Bible- it’s certainly something I often need to be reminded of.

    • I think most of us struggle with some kind of fear, whether of circumstances or of people (what they might think). I agree. We need to be reminded often to trust in God, instead.

  7. Thank you for sharing at the #LMMLinkup! Fear has been one of those stronghold sins throughout my life. It can be paralyzing at times. Thankfully, God loves me enough to change me and help me live out one of my absolute favorite verses: Proverbs 3:5-6. Blessings. 🙂

  8. Great word! So packed full of God’s truth, the root of fear and worry, and how to overcome with Scripture. And bonus, healthy fear of God. I memorized 2 Timothy 1:7 years ago and say it out loud when fear grips my heart. If God doesn’t give us the spirit of fear, that means it can only come from one place…the enemy! Thanks for these reminders! Blessings!

    • Thanks so much for that encouragement! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

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