Below is my latest article for GotQuestions.org, a website devoted to helping people find answers to questions about Christianity and the Bible. Hope you enjoy. Give me your feedback, won’t you?
People can have fear of many things, including doing the things of God. Fear is something that all people experience in their life at one point or another, some more than others. The word “fear” appears approximately 450 times in the Bible (although many instances discuss a “healthy fear”, which is respect and reverence for God). The word “afraid” appears in the Bible approximately 215 times. This means that fear, or being afraid, is a common occurrence in the Bible, and thus the Bible has much to say about being afraid. Fear is one of the biggest problems facing people today, and it undergirds many other problems that people have in life. Fear causes people to lose focus on the things of God, can steal people’s joy, and can consume their lives. This is why it is so important to know what the Bible has to say about being afraid.
The Bible is filled with exhortations to not be afraid, as well as practical instruction on how to overcome fear. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (NJKV). Although the context of this verse refers to fearing those whom the Israelites would encounter as they crossed over into the Promised Land, this verse applies to our lives today as we encounter those things that bring fear upon us. We should not be afraid of anything, including doing the things of God, because God goes before us. According to this verse, anytime we are doing the things of God, those things which God has ordained for our lives, God will always go before us and with us to prepare the way. Not only does He go with us, we can also find comfort in the other promise of God in this verse. God promises to “never leave you or forsake you”. This is a powerful promise from the omnipotent God of the universe who has never broken a single promise. How comforting it is to know that whether we are beginning a new ministry, planting a new church, heading off to the mission field, or doing the things of God, God has given us a clear promise that He will go with us and that He will never forsake us. This is a powerful promise from God, and should be memorized by Christians so that they might bury this verse in their heart (Jeremiah 31:33) and call it up each time they feel fearful in doing God’s work.
God has given many practical instructions in His word for overcoming fear. In addition to memorizing Scripture, such as Deuteronomy 31:6, to help combat fear, God has given other ways to combat fear throughout His Word. First, God has instructed us to pray to overcome anxiety and fear. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV). God has promised that when we take our worries and concerns to Him, He will grant us a peace that surpasses all understanding. Not only will He grant us peace, He will guard our hearts from further onsets of fear and anxiety regarding the issue at hand. We can be confident that He will take away our fears, concerns, and anxiety because His Word makes it abundantly clear that “if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14-15, NKJV). Notice in Philippians 4:6-7 there is yet another tool that can be used to overcome fear and anxiety, that of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a way of not only thanking God for all that He has given us, but is also a way of celebrating God’s faithfulness and remembering that He does all He has promised to do and more. We can thank God for delivering us from a spirit of fear because His Word is abundantly clear that, as seen in Isaiah 54:17, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper” (KJV). Second Timothy 2:13 tells us that God is faithful to His children, even when they are unfaithful, and this is great reason to celebrate and offer thanksgiving to Him. He will never leave us alone in our fear and anxiety, and is faithful to see us through the tough times. A third way to overcome the fear of doing the things of God is to simply rely on our faith. First John 5:4-5 says, “And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (NKJV). Our faith is a mighty weapon against fear and anxiety, and God’s Word tells us clearly that our faith in God can overcome even the world. What a wonderful promise from God’s Word! Finally, a fourth tool that is given to us from the Word of God is that of our own words. Sometimes when we are worried and concerned about something, we add fuel to the fire with our own discouraging, pessimistic words. The Bible says that we should speak words of life and encouragement, even to ourselves. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21, KJV).
When we possess a spirit of fear and anxiety, we must remember that this is not from above. The Bible says that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). God has given us a spirit of power and love and a sound mind. Sometimes the Devil will try and take this spirit of power, love, and a sound mind away from us. In addition to the tools mentioned above, which are Scripture memory and recitation, prayer, thanksgiving, faith, and our own words, God has given many other tools to overcome fear. Reading the Bible, discussing our concerns with other Christians, including our Pastor or church leaders, asking for prayer from others, and God-exalting worship are other ways to overcome fear in one’s life.
Here are some other passages concerning fear, anxiety, and worry: 1 John 4:18, Luke 17:6, Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 41:13, 1 Chronicles 22:13, 1 Corinthians 16:13, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 23, Proverbs 18:10, Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 27:1, and Isaiah 41:13.
We pray the Lord’s blessing upon you as you overcome fear and begin to do that which God has called you to do. Thank you for visiting GotQuestions.org. Please be sure to read the following articles from our site for more information concerning the Bible and fear.