“Be afraid. Be very afraid.” (The Movie – The Fly, 1986)
Those words have been repeated again and again. And even if the actual quote isn’t being reiterated . . . it can seem like there is an intentional effort by the enemy to overwhelm us all with anxiety and fear.
If you’re a frequent visitor here at CMB, you know that I’ve spent much of my life under a cloud of fear and apprenhension.
I’ve talked with many of you and know I’m not unique . . . nor is this something that is new to our generation.
The first emotion Adam and Eve experienced after eating the forbidden fruit was fear, and because of sin and the tauntings of the enemy, we’re still struggling thousands of years later.
But, if it’s a given, if it’s inevitable, if it’s something we just have to live with . . . why did Jesus say, “Don’t be afraid,” so often?
He never just tossed around pie in the sky platitudes; He spoke the truth and He gave reasons. And these reasons are just some of the promises He told His followers to hold close to their hearts . . . assurances to give them and all of us courage and hope.
Don’t be afraid – you are valuable to the Father. Matthew 10:31
Don’t be afraid – but take courage, I am with you. Mark 6:50
Don’t be afraid – just have faith. Mark 5:36
Don’t be afraid – it makes your Father happy to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32
Don’t be afraid – or troubled, I’m leaving you the gift of peace. John 14:27
My Life with Fear and Anxiety
Years ago, my doctor diagnosed me with high anxiety depression. I was afraid of almost everything. Everything except the number one thing on the list of common fears. I’ve never been afraid of public speaking.
But my list of other things was long. I was afraid of:
- Death of a Loved One
- the Dark
Yeah, I was just a bundle of joy to be around!
Here are a few examples my family still talks about:
As a teen, I once had to get off a glass elevator because my fear of heights kicked in. Another time, Rev and I hiked for hours on one of our romantic getaways because I was afraid to get back on a gondola for the 15-minute ride down a mountain. (Yes, we walked down a mountain. Thankfully there was a path and it was a beautiful day. Just not the day we planned.)
And I didn’t get on an airplane for years after a flight where the pilot shouted, “Take your seats now,” just before the plane rocked with the worst turbulence I’d ever experienced.
The other things on my list of fears were frequent visitors. Thankfully, I’m much better. I can get on an airplane and ride in elevators. I’m no longer afraid of rejection or abandonment. And the others don’t linger like they once did, but I’m still not consistently where I want to be.
If I could live my life over, I’d spend less time afraid and worried. Though I may not be able to undo my past years of fear; with God’s help, I’m changing my future and I believe you can change yours too.
Well, It all begins with the fear of the Lord!
I know that seems like a contradiction. It sounds like I’m just replacing one fear with another.
But the fear of the Lord leads to freedom. It trusts that He is sovereign. It has faith that His Word is Truth and His ways are best.
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.Proverbs 9:10
The Lord is a friend to those who fear Him.Psalm 25:14
He teaches them His covenant.
Did you know the verse right Proverbs 3:5-6, the verse that tells you and me to “trust the Lord” and “seek His will” and that promises “He will show you (and me) the path to take,” says…
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.Proverbs 3:7–8
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.
I want that! I want courage and strength! I want to trust God and follow His will. Because I’ve learned that is the way to be fearless.
When I fear God—I trust Him with my day today and my future tomorrow.
I use the tools God gives me to surrender my anxious and fearful feelings to Him.
That’s the reason I’ve made a list for myself because well . . . when you’ve had a problem with fear for as long as I have, it can be easy to slip back into old patterns. But I’ve found that when I follow these steps I enjoy the freedom and peace I’ve always wanted.
And I believe they will help you too…
10 Steps to Be Fearless and Enjoy Freedom and Peace
- Identify your fear – Name it. Know the source and reason you’re afraid. (Psalm 94:19)
- Ask yourself if it’s true – Check the facts. Is it a reality or a possibility. (John 8:31–32)
- Pray about it – Ask God to take your fear and tell Him that you trust Him with your future. (Psalm 34:4)
- Imagine positive outcomes – Remember that God is able to turn even things intended to harm us into something good. (Genesis 50:20)
- Change your surroundings – Do something to redirect your thoughts. (Philippians 4:8)
- Accept that you can’t control everything but that the God who loves you can and does. (Jeremiah 29:11)
- Limit the things that trigger your fear, like the news and social media. (Romans 12:2)
- Understand the where, what, and why of your fear. (Psalm 119:34)
- Memorize Bible verses to replace fearful thoughts. (See List of Verses)
- Get a “freedom from fear” friend – Someone to call who encourages you with God’s love. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Verses to Hold Close When You Want to Be Fearless
I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts [and fear] filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.Psalm 94:18–19
Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:31–32
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.Psalm 34:4
You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.Genesis 50:20a
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Philippians 4:8
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.Romans 12:2a
Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions;Psalm 119:34
I will put them into practice with all my heart.
For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.1 Thessalonians 5:9,11
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.Isaiah 41:10
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”John 14:27
If you’re tired of living with fear. If you’re tired of sacrificing your peace, contentment, and joy at the altar of anxiety. There is hope!
With God’s help you can be fearless. You can trade your fear of the world’s trouble and problems for the fear of the Lord that leads to freedom. That’s the love of God! He invites us to surrender our brokenness to Him and He replaces it with His goodness and grace. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
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