Dealing with Fear and Anxiety
Courage is not being “without fear;” rather it is the willingness to do what is right in any given situation, regardless of how one feels. There is nothing inherently wrong with feeling “afraid” just so long as those feelings do not dictate your actions.
Many times in life, God will require you to do something that you do not want to do; confess a sin, make restitution for a wrong, speak His truth to someone who does not want to hear, or even face your own death. In all these situations (and more) you will be torn between what YOU want to do, and what God commands you to do.
In our modern world, most people, including Christians have been trained to follow their “feelings.” However, because sin affects every area of our life, including our emotions, “feelings” can never be a trustworthy guide to living life the way the Creator intended.
Instead, Jesus said, “He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me…” (Jn 14:21). Confessing Jesus as “Lord” means that we live according to His standards, and not our own. This gives us amazing power to rise above our own weaknesses so that we might glorify His name.
- Fear stems from a concern about what God might do and therefore can be an appropriate response to certain situations; e.g.,
- Of God when we are disobedient (Deut 28:65-67)
- Of His ministers, the civil magistrate and other human authorities when we do evil (Rms 13:3)
- However, we can also fear anything which threatens our safety or security
- Anxiety is worrying about what may happen in the future, especially in regards to situations over which we have no control: Matt 6:34
- Christians are commanded not to worry about the future, or fear what men might do to us: Phil 4:6-7
- Love is the polar opposite of fear: 1 Jn 4:17-18
- Love is self giving Rms 5:8, while fear is self protecting
- Love is stronger than fear because it casts fear out
- Christians are supernaturally empowered to love because God first loved us 1 Jn 4:10-11
- Thus, when fear prevents us from obeying God then it is an indication of a lack of love; fear is never an excuse or justification for not doing what God requires
- Our responsibility as Christians is to learn how to respond Biblically to situations despite fear. Fear is never an excuse for inaction.
- Therefore we must learn to:
- Distinguish between “fear” and reasonable caution: caution involves wisely assessing risks; fear is a strong emotional reaction that prevents constructive action.
- See fear as needless because God Himself is with us (Isa 41:10)
- Repent of failing to do what is right because of fear and engage in loving service to God and others!
- When burdened by anxieties, bring them before God in prayer.
- Acknowledge often that God is completely in control and that all things work together according to His will (Rms 8:29).
- Be courageous in facing fears by doing what is required by God in any situation (Josh 1:9)
- Focus your thoughts on the grace and love of God and not on what may happen (Phil 4:8-9)
- Finally, the only thing you SHOULD fear, is God; He is holy, righteous and good. Yet, He has already paid the ultimate price for you-what can harm you? (Rms 8:32ff)