May 14, 2013
During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt famously said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Those were riveting words, however, I don’t agree. There are many things in our world to fear! Today, people fear losing their health, their wealth, their savings, their job…they even fear losing their family or friends.
God’s Word has plenty to say about conquering fear, facing fear with faith, and living a future free from the bondage of fear.
Not all fear is bad. Jesus literally told us to fear on one occasion: “…fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat. 10:28). The unsaved have something to be afraid of. This is healthy fear.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Pro. 9:10). That’s a kind way of saying you don’t have good sense unless you fear the Lord. That doesn’t mean you cringe before God but reverence Him with holy respect.
There are also harmless fears and phobias—like fear of mice. But a spirit of fear (2 Tim. 1:7) and the bondage of fear (Rom. 8:15) are damaging, destructive, and debilitating.
If you suspect you’re in bondage to fear, you don’t have to stay there. Young Timothy, equipped and anointed to do the work of God, was briefly right where you are. But the apostle Paul told him, “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).
Paul says, “You’ve forgotten who you are—what God has done for you and what God wants to do through you.” Fear caused Timothy to forget. Focusing on what you fear takes your eyes off the Lord—His blessings, what He has done in the past, and what He will do in the future.
Perhaps Timothy was afraid of what might happen to him. When we listen to that sinister minister of fear, the devil, rather than listening to God, we fail. In your life, do you have unused abilities—gifts buried and forgotten because you’re afraid? Don’t be bound by fear; your treasure will remain buried.
In addition, fear can literally make you sick (1 Tim. 5:23). In fact, a well-known American doctor said, “For 90 percent of chronic patients, the trouble did not start with a cough or chest pain. The first symptom was fear.” Fear in your life is like sand in machinery. Faith in your life is like oil. It lubricates life.
Thank God, Paul doesn’t just tell us the problem; he gives us the answer.
Faith can face fear and overcome. When we understand that “greater is He that is in you than he [the devil] that is in the world” (1 John 4:4) and our strength is greater than our foe, there’s no need to be afraid. “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psa. 27:1). Focus on the Lord. Remember the gift of God within you. God has given you the Spirit of power!
Love can be a mighty force to overcome fear. “Perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18). This doesn’t mean if I can love God perfectly I won’t be afraid! It literally means that I don’t have to be afraid—because God loves me perfectly. The Living Bible amplifies it: “We have no fear of Someone Who loves us perfectly.”
When you see God’s mighty power on one hand and His mighty love on the other, fear melts away. Rest in that love. Say, “Lord, no matter what happens to me, I know You love me. And because You love me and You are all powerful, You are working all things together for my good” (Rom. 8:28).
The devil doesn’t want you to grasp this. But in 2 Timothy 1:12, Paul said, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”
Have you committed everything to Him? Then do not fear.