Fighting Fear

      What are you afraid of? Do you ever play a negative “what if” game in your head?  What if I lose my job?  What if my spouse leaves?  What if I do not have enough money in my IRA?  Many struggle with fear from time to time, but for some fear is a constant companion.  Honestly, it feels like our culture is marinating in fear.  Psychologist Robert Leahy said, “The average child today exhibits the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the 1950’s” (Anxious For Nothing, Max Lucado, 6)  
      The Bible talks a lot about fear.  God’s command “Do not be afraid” appears more than a hundred times in the Bible (Unafraid, Adam Hamilton, 32).   Apparently, fear is a big deal.   How do we defeat our unhealthy fears? 
      First, defeat fear with worship.  When we constantly focus on the problems and challenges all around us it is discouraging, even terrifying.  Instead, we should lift our eyes to who God is.  I think of the story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16.  They are jailed for preaching in the town of Philippi.  That is frightening to be jailed for sharing your faith.  But instead of being overcome by fear the two men begin to sing and worship in the jail.  God actually sends a miracle to free them but for a while they stay in order to share the gospel with their jailer.  Their concern was praising and honoring God, not their own comfort.  Worship drives out fear.
     Second, defeat fear with truth, particularly the promises of the Bible.  You see fear is often a smoke screen.  Artist Zach Williams has a great song called “Fear Is A Liar.” I encourage you to check it out.  In the recovery community they have an acrostic for fear that I find helpful: F.E.A.R., which stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.  Our difficult circumstances may look like evidence that God has abandoned us, that he does not love us.  Yet the cross of Christ forever settles the issue; we are deeply, passionately and sacrificially loved by God.  Often when we are afraid we feel alone, but Jesus promised Christians that He is always with us (Matthew 28:20).  Another truth that helps us is that God works for the good in all circumstances, even the painful, heartbreaking ones (Romans 8:28).  Can I always see it?  No. But I believe God is moving on my behalf no matter what.     
       Third, defeat fear with trust in God.  Just as Joshua and Caleb trusted that God would deliver them from Egypt and not abandon them when facing the mighty cities of the promised land we too can trust that God will be with us in our battles.  He is all powerful and He loves us. What more could we wish for? David was promised by God that he would be the second king of Israel, yet he spent a decade on the run from King Saul.  In the midst of that challenging season David trusted God.  He believed God would keep his promise.  And he even wrote that God “delivered him from all his fears” (Psalms 34:4).  Do it again Lord, I’m waiting.    
Reject fear, trust God. 
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church