Fear: Breaking Every Chain
What is fear?
According to the dictionary, “Fear is a painful emotion marked by alarm.” It’s “anxiety related to impending hardship; a dread of an undesired encounter with a person or a circumstance.” Something’s going to happen. The way I like to describe it is, “Something’s up ahead. I don’t want it. Something’s coming.”
Fear is about as accurate as the local weather forecast. When the weatherman says, “It’s going to ‘x’,” is it always going to? No, it’s not. It’s not a perfect science. Fear is far from an accurate predictor. Fear forecasts what is not seen or known. This is helpful to me: “Fear is the opposite of all that Christianity is to be.”
The Bible says, “You did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear” (Romans 8:15). So I can just tell you, unless you fear God (that’s a completely different thing– the fear of God is a good thing), any other kind of fear has no place in the life of a believer.
What do we fear? Well in one word, what we fear is the future. No one’s afraid of the past. No one’s really afraid of the present. We can be upset about the present, but we don’t fear it because we know it. Fear involves the future. Fear involves the unknown.
Two types of fear
Now here are two main categories of fear, just so we can get our hands around it. First, we fear loss. The loss of people: “Will my husband always love me?” “Will this treasured friendship last?” “Will I lose my kids?” The loss of possessions: “Yes, I’m fine today, but will I always have enough?” “Will I lose my house?” “Will the kids have enough money for college?” “We fear that the economy is in rough shape. I don’t know where things are going.” The loss of position: “I’m in over my head,” or “My boss thinks I am,” and “People don’t believe in me,” and “I don’t know how much longer I’m going to have this job.” We fear loss.
Secondly, we fear pain. We put ourselves through an awful lot to avoid pain. In fact, we very often cause ourselves a lot more pain than we would ever experience in our attempts to avoid pain. First of all, physical pain. We fear our health and every little quirk in our body and another trip to the doctor’s and then something going on and “Is the awful news coming?” We fear physical pain. Then we fear emotional pain. Rejection. “Other people won’t be happy with me. They won’t like me.” Or worse, failure. “I won’t be happy with myself.” “I blew it!” “I lost it!” “I’m not what I thought I was.” “I can’t do this!” So we fear loss. We fear pain.
So what is the cost of fear? I’m telling you, we’re paying a heavy price for fear. God says in His Word, “Fear not…I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). Fear not.
Fear and a right view of God cannot co-exist. If my heart is filled with fear, I am not rightly estimating God in His capacities and interest and His care in my life. What steps can you take to be free from fear in your life?
Freedom from Fear
Step 1: Magnify God. “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations…none is able to withstand you” (2 Chronicles 20:6). That is awesome! This is Your world, God! It all belongs to You. Scripture says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof” (1 Corinthians 10:26). This is the magnification of God. When God is magnified fear is gone.
Do you remember as a kid having a magnifying glass? Does the magnifying glass make things bigger? No, it’s just makes things look bigger in my eyes. In my eyes. When God is magnified, we don’t make God bigger. We recognize Him for what He really is through that focus.
Step 2: Move quickly toward God. The Bible says we should seek God “and find him… he is actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). Listen to me. When you find yourself in a fear-inducing situation, God is not far away. He is right there waiting for you to reach for Him. I mean He is right there! You might not see the results of turning to Him immediately, but you’ve got to know that He’s right there for you.
Step 3: Focus on the nature and the faithfulness of God. God has promised that He “will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Notice the promises of His presence when God is being magnified here. “I’m with you. I’ve got a plan. I’m going to take care of this. Watch what I’m going to do for you.” That’s awesome.
Step 4: Have faith. “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed” (2 Chronicles 20:20). That’s phenomenal. Let me just speak this over your life. Believe God and believe His prophets—the people who have spoken and written for Him. Believe God and who He is. Believe His nature. Believe His Word.
Notice the importance of faith. It’s always about faith in God. “Am I going to trust God in this situation? Am I going to believe His promises?” It just comes back to that again. Do you have some fear stuff in your mind? “Am I going to trust God?” Faith is believing the Word of God and acting upon it, no matter how I feel, because God promises a good result.
More Than Conquerors
Romans 8:37 says, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” We are super- conquerors. God doesn’t just win, He crushes the enemy. That’s why you don’t want to get in that battle yourself. You might be able to eke out a further existence, but when God does it, it’s done. That’s the life of a Christian. When you’re walking by faith, you’re getting free! Free from fear.
Is there a growing pattern of freedom from fear in your life? As a believer, you can know the truth, and the truth should be making you increasingly free. Take the first step in becoming free in Christ by humbling yourself to God in prayer:
Lord, right now, I’m letting go of fear. Now I’m turning to You. Cause me to feel the peace of resting only in You. Cause me to remember that there is no freedom from fear apart from You. Father, engrave upon my heart that as Your follower, I have not been called to have a spirit of fear. Keep me from the pride that breeds a sinful desire to try to overcome difficulties apart from You. I magnify Your holy name. I now look to You as my only freedom from fear. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
* Copyright © 2001 — 2013 Crossway. All rights reserved. To learn more about Good News Tracts, visit www.goodnewstracts.org.Good News!Did you know that christianaudio has produced the audio tracts for many of the most popular Crossway tracts? They are free for the taking and free to distribute. In fact, Crossway distributes more than 23 million every year. Written by Max Lucado, Billy Graham, Mark Driscoll, John Piper and others, they have simple and profound truths to help teach the Good News! There are 31 in an easy to download zip file.They are free for the taking in both audio and PDF and able to be shared without restriction.