Fear is the uneasy feeling we're inadequate. It's an alarm that goes off when we feel threatened. It keeps people from attaining their goals.
I’m not talking about normal, natural fears—such as the fear of falling or the fear of walking onto a busy highway. I’m talking about a gripping, paralyzing fear that's truly a spirit of fear. Paul wrote to Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7).
Let me give you an example of this type of fear. Imagine a man who believes strongly the Lord desires for him to take a new job. He starts with confidence and enthusiasm. He soon realizes, however, that he has much to learn about succeeding in his new role. The job begins to seem insurmountable and overwhelming. He takes to heart the criticism of others. He feels like a failure—that he will never succeed at his new position. Defeated, he offers, “I don’t have what it takes. I’m scared of taking any more risks.” The longer this trend in his thinking goes unchecked, the more he moves toward sheer panic until he wants to flee completely. Fear wins out, and he doesn't accomplish God’s goal for his life.
When fear strikes you, face fear head-on.
When fear strikes you, face fear head-on. Ask yourself, Of what am I really afraid? Break down the nature of your fear. Are you afraid of failure that will lead to criticism? Are you afraid of failure that will lead to rejection from someone you love or admire? Are you afraid your weaknesses and inadequacies will be exposed or that others will withdraw from you completely?
Admit your fears to yourself and God. Then, turn immediately to the matter of your faith. It is the solution for fear.
Here are four things you can do to strengthen your faith in times of fear:
First, get your eyes off of your problem(s) and onto Jesus. He's the Source of all your supply, and He's completely reliable, possessing all knowledge and authority. Speak aloud the words of Hebrews 13:6 until they sink deep within your spirit: “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
People may criticize, reject, ridicule, and persecute you, but they can’t take away your salvation, your relationship with Jesus Christ, your eternal home in heaven, or the joy, contentment, and inner strength the Lord imparts to you.
Second, ask the Lord to give you the help you need. It's one thing to say, “The Lord is my helper,” and another to say, “Lord, help me today ... help me right now in this situation.” You may need an answer to a problem, friendship, a good mentor or teacher, wise counsel, or extra energy and strength. Be specific in your requests.
Third, encourage yourself by memorizing the Word of God and quoting it often when you need a fear-buster of inner strength. Take Isaiah 41:10-13 to heart. In this passage, the Lord promises to give us His presence; His power, which is vastly superior to his strength; His provision, which is more than sufficient; and His protection against all of our enemies. What more could you need? Remind the Lord often of His promises to you.
Faith—it is the solution for fear.
Finally, ask others to pray for you. Ask them to uphold you daily in prayer and, in turn, pray for them and their success. We read in James 5:16, “Pray for one another so that you may be healed.”
So what might the man in the example above have done as he took his new job? He might have said, “I don’t know all about this job, but the Lord knows. He will help me get the information I need so I can be successful.” Instead of being overwhelmed, he could have chosen to see the job as a mountain to be climbed, step by step. When he failed, he might have confessed error to the Lord or asked God to help him learn from his mistakes.
Every person alive has suffered loss. But if we continue to move forward in pursuit of God-given goals, He will give us victories in areas where we have struggled in the past. He will turn all things to good (Rom. 8:28).
As you journey forward in life, don't be surprised when fear emerges. Remember, nothing good in life comes without a struggle against fear. The key is to run headlong at fear with your faith in Christ Jesus and your confidence firmly set in Him.