How does fear affect you?
We all struggle with fear. It’s an active force of darkness that creeps and seeps into the souls of us all at times. Its invasion impacts us in many different ways.
Some people are crippled, paralyzed and incapacitated by fear. Their fear brings them to an absolute standstill in their work, relationships or responsibilities. They freeze emotionally, and the result is inaction, hiding, running and resignation; attempting to avoid what they are afraid of.
Other people deal with their fear through frantic, and sometimes aggressive actions. When fear attacks, they go into a “command and control mode.” Their approach is to try and manage the circumstances, situations and people connected to their fears. They may do this through anger or intimidation.
Fear is a horrible, tormenting monster. It’s the mother of lots of ugly things. It robs people of joy, peace, and sometimes of life itself. It incarcerates and limits. It destroys marriages, friendships and work environments.
The Bible is very clear about the destructive nature of fear. As Joshua was being prepared to lead God’s people into the Promised Land, the Lord told him to avoid fear. The Apostle Paul reminded Timothy that fear should not control his life and ministry:
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous … Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:6-9 (NIV)
” … I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you … For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” — 2 Timothy 1:6, 7 (NLT)
How do we put a STOP to fear’s power and control? What practical steps can we take to break its grip?
S = See it.
We must recognize fear’s presence before we can break its power. Many people go through life never realizing how fear is affecting them. Do you recognize the symptoms of fear in your life? How does it affect you? How do you know when it has started to rule you? Seeing fear is the first step in stopping fear.
T = Talk to God about it.
Once you have identified fear, bring it into the light of God’s presence through prayer. It is amazing how small our fears become when placed in the hands of our awesome and almighty God. The old hymn writer expressed it this way; “O what peace we often forfeit; O what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.” How true this is, especially when dealing with fear.
O = Own God’s promises.
God’s promises are meant to be personally owned. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are a legitimate heir to all of God’s promises. They are found in His Word, and waiting to be claimed. Take ownership of the promises of God that counteract your specific fears. Become familiar with them, and take hold of them for yourself. Put your trust in God and in the promises of His Word.
P = Press through your fear.
Fear starts in the mind and then moves into our emotions. It is something we first think and then feel. To overcome fear, we often have to press past these thoughts and feelings. We simply refuse to let them stop our progress, hinder our actions, limit our potential, ruin our attitude or infiltrate our relationships. We authoritatively rise in the face of fear and press on in obedience to God and His Word.
There is a great story in the Old Testament that illustrates this. When God’s people left Babylonian captivity and returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, they faced a number of intimidating enemies. The aggressive opposition made them very afraid and threatened the success of the project; but these rebuilders decided to press through their fears!
“Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation … ” — Ezra 3:3 (NIV)
These folks did not let fear control them. They did what we must learn to do — press through fear.
How is fear affecting your life? What fears are tormenting, robbing, limiting or destroying you or your relationships?
God gives us a way to put a STOP to fear’s grip. Let Him help you!