Sometimes I Have Fear In My Life

Sometimes I Have Fear In My Life

The Bible states:

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

TPT “For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.”

NLT “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

In spite of knowing and believing this verse, at times I don’t live my life in accordance with the truth of this verse

“Sometimes I Have Fear In My Life” and so do most people

  • Fear of the loss of a loved one or a close relationship
  • Fear of financial loss – job loss
  • Fear of the risk that they are taking not working out
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of getting sick
  • Fear of getting a divorce
  • Fear of running out of money
  • Fear of being betrayed by those we love
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of confrontation
  • Fear of change 
  • And when I have fear in my life I have to make a choice – I am faced by a decision:

Do I Face Everything And Rise

Do I Forget Everything And Run

Fight or flight!

Fear shows up under many different names

      • Anxiety
      • Dread
      • Foreboding
      • Apprehension
      • Fright
      • Consternation
      • Panic
      • Trepidation

Fear does not have to be rational or reasonable

In fact, most often fear in our life is very irrational, even silly 

Fear of the dark

Fear of the monster under the bed (in the closet)

Fear of heights

Fear of spiders

Fear of thunderstorms

 

Here’s one for you – Fear of shower curtains?

Many people can not stand to see a closed shower curtain

Even Martha Stewart says they need to be pulled to the side with clear and complete visibility into the shower stall of tub

What? You never saw “Psycho?”

Or about a dozen other scary movies?

Everyone knows that the crazy killer / zombie / vampire / murderer / creepy kidnapper always hides in the shower

Fear is the opposite of:

      • Courage
      • Feeling secure
      • Being and remaining calm 
      • Inner comfortableness
      • Inner peace
      • Things feeling like they are under control

John Wesley (one of my heroes) said:

“I have never known more than fifteen minutes of anxiety or fear. When I feel fearful emotions overtaking me, I just close my eyes and thank God that He is still on the throne, reigning over everything, and I take comfort in His control over the affairs of my life.”

Here is what I know about fear

The more fear we allow into our lives – the more fear we tolerate – the more we will struggle to grow spiritually

Fear poisons us a little each day if we don’t face it head-on and nullify its power

It is interesting to note that when human babies are born we only have two natural fears:

        • The fear of falling
        • The fear of loud noises

This means that all those other things we are afraid of are learned fears

Fears we have accumulated – most through experience

And, like a pack on our back that accumulates into a burden the size of a dumpster, our fears weigh us down and prevent us from travelling through life with speed and grace

Most of our fears fall into four categories – the Not-So-Fantastic Four

1> Fear of loss

2> Fear of failure

3> Fear of rejection

4> Fear of the unknown

1> Fear of loss

One of our basic human fears, the fear of loss, can take many forms

      • If you are married, thoughts of losing your spouse may prey on your peace of mind
      • Almost every parent I know has at some point dealt with the fear of losing a child — or at least the fear of something bad happening to one of their children
      • Some people fear financial loss or lack of money to last through retirement
      • There is fear of losing control — that if they can’t keep tabs on everything (and everyone) and keep all their plates spinning just the way they want, their world will collapse around them

You can name what it is you have a fear of losing…

2> Fear of Failure 

This is a very common fear in the lives of people today

Sometimes I find myself worrying that I just won’t be up to the demands that are placed on me in my overseas ministry 

Sometimes I fear that I won’t live up to the personal goals I set myself – life goals

            • Exercise and weight loss goals
            • Learning goals (reading goals)
            • Friendship goals
            • Financial goals

Fear of failure can paralyze us from starting something new in life

          • Launching a business
          • Going back to school
          • Pursuing a relationship
          • Even reaching out to someone with a phone call

You are not sure if you will be able to do it — so you never even try

That’s the power of the toxic fear of failure 

Fill in your own fear here … What are you afraid of failing at?

3> Fear of Rejection

Many people fear rejection (abandonment)

Young people who wanted to ask someone out on a date but thought: “Now why would someone like that ever want to go out with a person like me?”

Married people who live in constant fear that their spouse is going to just up and leave them one day

Others who are absolutely controlled by a people-pleasing mindset that’s anchored in a fear of rejection 

They want everybody to accept them, so they wonder, “Will she like this hairstyle? What will he think if I don’t agree to the deal? I better go or they won’t like me. I don’t want to upset anyone if I don’t have to.”

Individuals are afraid that people might not like them if …

4> Fear of the Unknown

Most people dread not knowing what lies ahead

Many people can’t help wondering things like:

      • What if I get sick with some serious illness?
      • What is someone I love comes down with a serious illness?
      • What if I lose my job?
      • What’s going to happen in the future?
      • What if I never have a real friend?

Most of the things we fear – the unknown – are usually totally out of our control

People worry about things that they cannot control which is really an effort in futility

When you feel fearful, you need to acknowledge just one truth: our all-knowing, always present, all-powerful heavenly Father does not give us fear

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

TPT “For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.”

NLT “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

When you feel fearful, you need to acknowledge just one truth: our all-knowing, always present, all-powerful heavenly Father does not give us fear

If this is true – and it is – why then do so many of us find ourselves consumed at times with fear?

I mean, it’s clear that what God has given us is power, love, and a sound mind

We need to do more than acknowledge the verse – we need to apply and live the truth of the verse

If you are always worried — always anxious —  always overwhelmed — living paralyzed — then you need to realize this important truth

Fear comes from our enemy

He lobs smoke bombs at us constantly — each time hoping that we’ll mistake it for a live grenade

If your life is polluted by fear, it is time to clear the smoke and take a breath of fresh air

People often say that fear is the opposite of faith

I respectfully disagree

Fear actually relies on faith — it’s simply faith in the wrong things 

Fear is placing your faith in “What-ifs” rather than in “God is”

Fear is allowing your imagination to wander down the long dark alley of possibilities and get mugged every couple of steps

Fear is being taken hostage by all of your “what-ifs” instead of allowing “God is” to set you free

There is a Bible character who really wrestled with this … Moses

In the Old Testament, when God first appeared to Moses, calling on him to deliver the Hebrew people out of slavery to the Egyptians, He chose to do so by talking from a burning bush

Now, that would probably get most people’s attention

And yet, following this encounter, we see Moses immediately start playing the what-if game with God as fear sets in

In Exodus 3 — God reveals to Moses His entire plan and Moses’ role in it

Even assuring Moses that God Himself will be with him in this plan

Then, in the very next chapter (Exodus 4:1) Moses responds by answering God, 

“What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”

This is the same game most of us play, especially when God calls us because He wants to use our lives to do something significant or special or difficult

This is the same game most of us play when He asks us to something we don’t want to do

This is the same game most of us play when he asks us to do something we would find difficult – like forgive someone

Rather than considering that God knows what He’s doing and trusting Him, we immediately roll out a long list of what-ifs

      • Sounds good Lord, but what if I can’t do it?
      • What if the economy drops?
      • What if I lose my job?
      • What if I get sick?
      • What if they won’t forgive me?
      • What if my spouse cheats on me?
      • What if my kids get hurt?
      • What if we get in a car accident?
      • What if I never get married?
      • What if I do get married, but it’s to a jerk?
      • What if we can’t have kids?
      • What if we have too many kids?
      • What if our cat gets pregnant … again?

There are just so many bad things that could happen in life – fear can rule your life

If seems like we spend a huge amount of time brainstorming a list of everything that could go wrong, instead of better using that same energy to ask God for steps we could take that will help us meaningfully get in on what He’s doing

But let’s stop for a minute and recognize that your what-ifs do matter

You can gain some vital insights by examining your what-ifs lists … 

1> Insight #1: What you fear reveals what you value the most

Examine what you fear can shine a light on your priorities — which are always good to know

      • If you fear losing your marriage – that shows you really value your commitment to your marriage
      • If you fear that something bad will happen to your children — that show that you really value your kids
      • If you fear losing your job or losing your money — you value financial security and stability

While none of these are inherently bad things to place value on — focusing negatively on any of them can lead you down a poison path to worry rather than leading you to positive action

2> Insight #2: What you fear reveals where you trust God the least

When you have persistent fear in a given area of your life — it can be an indicator that you are not depending on God to handle it

And, this usually means that you are not asking Him for direction in that area either

Let’s say you are constantly worried about your marriage

Have you asked God to make your marriage better — and then trusted Him to actually do it?

If you pray, but then you keep worrying about it, your actions are communicating: “Sure, I prayed , but that’s not enough. I really don’t expect God to intervene and so I need to continue worrying about the situation.”

Or if you worry that something bad might happen to your children, you’re essentially telling God,

“I don’t really believe you’re good enough. I don’t believe that your plan and your purposes will come through for my children. So for my part, I’m going to contribute by worrying.”

If you are constantly worrying about financial stability, then your actions are saying, “God, I don’t really trust you to provide for me.”

Listen to what Jesus said:

In Matthew 6:27 Jesus makes it clear how much good worry and angst does us…

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (NLT)

“So, which one of you by worrying could add anything to your life?” (TPT)

Obviously, the answer is “no!”

So then, why do we fear?

Answer: Because we are afraid to trust God with every area and ever hour of our lives

Answer: Because anticipating the worst allows us to believe we have some semblance of control

Answer: Because then we won’t be surprised when something terrible happens because we have already imagined it and prepared ourselves

So, how do we find our way out of living with fear?

I believe we have to face our greatest fears in order to reach our greatest potential

And, the only way to do this is to actually allow God to lead you!

If you are struggling to trust God in some area of your life – thus living in fear and anxiety 

1> First you must identify what you are afraid of

You can’t know where to start to deal with anxiety and fear if you’re still pretending it doesn’t exist

So, admit that you are living with fear 

Identify it clearly

Until you do, it will continue to be that elephant in the room

That huge dark cloud hovering over you that you’re not willing to talk about

So, do some name calling

Check the label and see the brand of fear you’re wearing

2> Secondly, surrender what you have identified to God

Commit to trust Him to give you the power to overcome your fear once and for all

Reminder: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self- discipline.”

I am not saying to just “give it over to God,” and then pretend like it’s not a problem anymore

What I’m saying is: Give it over to God and allow God to give you the strength, wisdom, and courage to defeat your fear once and for all

The Bible says in James

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

Ask God to show you what you can do within your power to minimize the risk of that fear becoming realized

Then, whatever God reveals to you, do that

Beyond that, choose with every bit of faith you have to trust that God will be faithful, like His Word says He will be

He will be faithful to see you through, and He will always provide a way for you to endure

An Old Testament story to drive the point home ….

David grew up as a simply shepherd boy before becoming king of Israel

God first prepared him, then led him to do some amazing things

Like killing the giant Goliath

And even after God made it clear that he was to be the future king over Israel, sending His prophet Samuel to anoint David (1 Samuel 16), a symbolic act marking him as God’s chosen, he faced many obstacles and waited many years before assuming the throne

Not the least of these obstacles was the reigning king, Saul, who felt very threatened by this up-and-comer

In fact, Saul’s anxiety and fear became so great that he began to loathe the dynamic young warrior-poet.

Finally, his fear-based hatred reached the boiling point, and King Saul issued an order to his son and to his men, “I want you to go hunt David down … and kill him” (1 Samuel 19).

Now, It’s easy to look at this situation and think, “Wow, how terrible. It must have been raelly hard for David to have the king put a death warrant on him”

But, if we put ourselves in David’s sandals for a moment, it becomes downright horrific

For me, it would be like the city police, the province RCMP, the CISI, the CRA, the military, and Interpol all told, “Get me that crazy Christian guy, Ralph Howe. I want his sorry carcass, dead or alive”

Now you understand why I still check behind my shower curtains!

Wherever you live, imagine that the most powerful leader in your nation issued that command about you

Imagine that every force in the country is out scouring the countryside for you

Interrogating your friends and family

Hot on your trail — you can’t go to any public places 

You are always looking over your shoulder

This nightmare was the reality of David’s life

No matter where he went, he couldn’t escape this knowledge that the most powerful man in Israel wanted him dead

In Psalm 56:1-4, we get a glimpse not only of his ordeal but into how he faced it

“My enemies are in hot pursuit … My adversaries pursue me all day long; in their pride many are attacking me. When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise — in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere morals do to me?”

David clearly was overwhelmed and perhaps terrified

He just called it like it was, being honest with God

He was God’s anointed, God’s chosen, the future king, but that certainly didn’t have any bearing on his circumstances

He named his fears and admitted he was living in fear – living with fear

And, 

We are to do the same 

1> Identify the fear 

2> Surrender the fear to God – but remain involved and responsible

3> Choose to trust God in the midst of the fear

As David said: “But, even though I’m afraid, I’m choosing to trust in You”

Say it more than once: “I believe Your Word, God. I’m choosing to trust in You, God. Because of You, I’m choosing not to be afraid.”

4> Refocus the problem (fear)

Notice the last thing David says here in this passage: “What can mere mortals do to me?”

Let’s answer that question:

    • They could have killed him
    • They could have captured him and put him in prison for the rest of his life
    • They could have tortured him
    • They could have made the rest of his life miserable
    • They could have kept him from his destiny to become king

So, how was David able to overcome his fears? — He refocusing his view of the problem

He shifted from his fear-fueled thoughts from the temporary, earthly point of view to an eternal perspective

By stepping back and viewing his fears from a more comprehensive perspective, David could say:

“You know what? Even if my worst what-ifs come to pass, if I still choose to trust God, no one can do anything that hurts me eternally. Nothing.”

And suddenly his worst what-if paled in comparison with the goodness and faithfulness of God

A final truth:

In my experience, the father away I get from God, the more the what-ifs of this world begin to pile on, trying to suffocate me with fear

But the closer I am to God, the more I’m able to trust Him and the less hold the things of this world have on me.

So, seek Him and His wisdom at all times and in all places 

Jeremiah 29:12-13 “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Psalm 34:4 “I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”

Conclusion:

God has not given you a spirit of fear.

If you’re feeling afraid, that’s not from God

Don’t accept it

Don’t give in to it.

What God has given you is a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind.

Seek Him, fear not, for the Lord is truly with you