What Does The Bible Say About Fear? (and how we can deal with it)
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We live in a fearful time, don’t we? There’s no shortage of things to be afraid of in our world. But have you stopped to ask yourself, what does the Bible say about fear? Thankfully it’s not silent.
Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about fear and how we can deal with it.
What The Bible Says About Fear
To start I want to give you a glimpse of what the Bible says about fear. It’s important to start here before we look at what we can take away.
You can find a complete list here: What the Bible Says About Fear
Here’s some I would highlight: 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 4:18, Joshua 1:9, Psalm 56:3-4, Psalm 34:4, Deuteronomy 31:6, John 14:27, Psalm 23:4, Psalm 27:1-14
The above verses will give you a good summary of what the Bible says about fear. But I don’t just want to give you the verses, I want to break it down for you. Here are a few of the major ideas and themes of fear in the Bible.
Fear Is Natural
The feeling of fear is natural. In most cases, we can’t control it. How we respond to fear is more important than what we feel.
If you feel afraid, that is OKAY. We are all afraid of somethings sometimes. Whatever you are facing, or will face, it’s okay to feel afraid.
The Bible often acknowledges the fear we have. Whenever an angel appears the first words out of their mouth are Do not be afraid. That’s not a condemnation. Rather an acknowledge of what they are currently feeling and letting them know nothing bad is going to happen.
The Bible does say regally, fear not. But I think that command is based more on our actions and not our feelings. Feeling afraid is okay, letting fear run our lives is not okay.
Which leads to the next point of what does the Bible say about fear:
Fear Should Not Control Our Lives
Paul emphatically tells Timothy that God has not given him a spirit of fear, rather of power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). I don’t think Paul is telling Timothy it’s wrong to be afraid. Rather to not act out of fear.
Too often we let fear control our lives. It rules us. We let fear keep us from experiencing life, from loving others, and even approaching God. The fear of what if has ruined many of us and left us paralyzed.
God doesn’t want that for us. He came to bring us life and life to the full. And fear keeps us from living the life he intends for us to live. That’s why God is constantly telling his people to not be afraid.
You don’t need to live in fear, think in fear, or react in fear. God has given you a spirit of power, love, and self-control. We can fear not because God is with us.
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to fear. The reality is the things we fear are worthy of being feared. But the God we serve is bigger. Peace isn’t found in the absence of the storm. Peace is found in the company of God, even in the midst of a storm.
Fear doesn’t have to control our lives, dictate our actions, and dominate our thoughts because God is in control.
Faith Over Fear
The question the Bible asks is will you choose faith over fear? Will you trust God even when it doesn’t make sense? Is your faith bigger than your fear?
It’s not that we will never be afraid. We will. But, at the end of the day what will win out? Will we take that step despite our fear? Or will we succumb to our fear and never dare go where God is leading us.
The Bible shares story after story of people stepping out in faith. It highlights those that follow God when things just don’t make sense. We don’t know their inner thoughts in most of the stories. But you have to imagine they felt fear. Anyone would be fearful about being thrown in a lion’s den, burned alive, nailed to a cross, chained in jail, or exiled to another country. But they didn’t let their fear overcome their faith.
Fear doesn’t have to keep us from faithfully following God.
How Do We Deal With Fear?
I want to shift gears here and look at some practical steps we can take to overcome fear with faith. At some point, we will all face fear, so having a few tools can help you handle it when that fear arises.
When Fear Builds, Pray
Whatever you feed will grow.
What I mean is if you continue to feed your fears they will grow and become increasingly bigger and more daunting. And that’s exactly what most of us do. When we are fearful of something we keep thinking about it, googling it, watching the news, joining in the gossip, and keeping at the forefront of our mind. And it gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
What we feed will grow.
That’s why it’s important that when fear builds we pray.
Turn off the tv, close Facebook, stop listening to the news, get rid of whatever is making that fear grow, and pray.
Not that all those other things aren’t important. They have their place. But when we let them run rampant it can lead us to great and deeper levels of fear and anxiety. So tune out so that you can tune in to God.
When fear grows, pray.
Choose Faith Over Fear
Faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse. Sometimes, we have to choose faith. It might not make sense, but faith means that we are going to trust God anyway.
Sometimes when we are gripped with fear we just have to choose to have faith. We just have to choose to trust that even though things don’t make sense to us we are going to trust God and take a step.
This is much easier to say than it is to do. It means that we are going to have to take a very difficult step of faith in the midst of fear. But that’s faith, believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.
Remind Yourself Of What’s True
When fear sets in reason often runs out. Which is why people rarely make good decisions in fear.
When fear is setting in pause for a minute. Put things in perspective. Think about the larger picture of your life. Often times our fears blow our perspective way out of proportion. When our fears become exaggerated we need to pause and to put them back in perspective.
This isn’t just about putting our fears into perspective. It’s also about putting God in his rightful place. If fear is overwhelming you, it is probably an indication that you’ve removed God as the guiding force in your life.
That’s not a statement of condemnation. We all do it. Rather it’s a challenge to stop and remind yourself what the Bible says is true. We are forgetful people. We need to constantly remind ourselves what is true so that we are not overcome by fear.
Read The Psalms
The Psalms span the spectrum of human emotion. They beautifully capture the joys and struggles of life. But I particularly find the Psalms refreshing when life is overwhelming.
The Psalms can eloquently express what you are feeling while at the same time instill truth, hope, and the promises of God back into your life. This is a great book to turn to when you are fearful.
Sometimes I just flip through the Psalms and see what stands out. But if you are looking for a good place to start I would recommend Psalm 56.
COVID-19 has caused a lot of fear and panic. Check out my post of how Christians should respond to this epidemic: 6 Ways Christians Can Respond To The Coronavirus
I’d love to hear from you! Drop a comment down below! What do you do when you are overcome with fear?
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