What Does God Want Us to Do with Our Fear?
- Aaron Brown GodTube Contributing Author
- 2021 29 Apr
I don’t know about you, but peace does not naturally enter into my life. Not often. In fact, I would go so far as to say I don’t usually live a peaceful existence. Far more frequent – and therefore normal – I’m prone to anxiety.
Whether I am anxious because of the news, a sudden conflict with my parents, or wondering what God is doing with my life, anxiety has often kept me company. Sadly, this means anxiety keeps replacing peace. And from what I’ve observed this past year, I’m not alone.
There have been fears about the pandemic, the nation’s racial divide, and various other divides drawn from religious or political ideas. We’re all so afraid.
To not be alone is comforting, but to think everyone can have such irrational fears as myself is... scary! The reason I call my fears irrational is because 99% of what I fear never comes to pass. Have you noticed that in your life?
We worry. We fear. We obsess over the what-ifs. Yet, more often than not the fears never occur. Still, we worry. When we stop being afraid of one issue, we find a new one.
There’s good news though; literal good news found in the gospel. Jesus gave certain words of wisdom to His disciples of the time, words that still reign true for us today. He had very insightful messages on the subjects of fear and peace.
The two ideas are seemingly at odds with one another. One implies doubt in God, while the other proclaims absolute trust. Too often I struggle between the two, alternating between them from day to day, sometimes hour to hour. Maybe you do as well.
Is there some trick to stay in God’s perfect peace, or are we forever bound to fall into fear once more?
The only way to know for sure is to further our understanding of both fear and peace, and what God wants us to do with them both.
What Is Peace?
Peace is defined as “a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations.” We can have peace with other people, situations, or simply be at peace within ourselves.
The reason peace is the antithesis to fear is because peace gives harmony – the feeling that everything will work out. Peace is not defined as everything going well in life, but rather everything will be well.
Everyone has a desire for peace. We see this illustrated in calls for wars to end, poverty to cease, or eliminating world hunger. However, these calls to peace are never fully achieved, because of our human nature to sin (Job 5:7).
On a more simplistic level, peace is also illustrated in our everyday lives where people are encouraged to binge-watch television or spend copious amounts of time on the internet. All this serves as a form of temporary peace; in other words, distraction.
Where man’s attempts at peace fail, God provides a better solution. We can find peace in Him.
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)
These are important words to embody within our lives as Christians. God’s peace is not some unattainable future goal, nor is God’s peace a temporary distraction. If we so choose, we can follow Jesus’ words exactly and have godly peace in our lives every single day.
This may sound impossible, but we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13). Maintaining peace is not easy, but that isn’t the point of finding peace. We seek peace because no matter how difficult to find or maintain, peace is long-lasting. And God’s peace is worthwhile.
What Is Fear?
Fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain.” We can feel fear toward threats that are real or imagined. Sometimes fear is stimulated by what we know, sometimes simply what we assume. Whatever the case, fear does not make us feel safe. If peace brings about harmony, then as the Bible says, fear brings torment (1 John 4:18).
This may explain then why Jesus was adamant about His followers not living with fear.
Aside from the sin of worry, fear tortures us in multiple ways. We play out a number of unfavorable possibilities in our heads, believing something negative to be true. Fear also takes us away from God, separating us from what we know of Him and focusing only on what we know (or assume) about our situations. Who’s bigger? The problem or God?
The answer is obvious, but sometimes we forget.
Now that we understand why peace and fear are at odds, we can work to have less fear and more peace. Here are 10 verses to help overcome your fears.
10 Verses to Help Overcome Your Fears
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
“You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
“There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love.” (1 John 4:18)
“When I observe your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place, what is a human being that you remember him, a son of man that you look after him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)
“The fear of mankind is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected.” (Proverbs 29:25)
“But I have trusted in your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in your deliverance. I will sing to the Lord because he has treated me generously.” (Psalm 13:5-6)
Our fears were not born overnight. Therefore, our ability to replace those fears with God’s truth – His perfect peace – won't immediately change us. However, the more time we spend in prayer, reading Scripture, and reminding ourselves of truth, the less weight fear will carry. People in our circles can also serve as truth-tellers, helping us to refocus on God.
When thoughts pop into our heads we will be better equipped to dismiss those lies. If most of our fears are never true, and fear has torment, we can definitely denounce them as lies.
Living fearless may feel impossible today, but that changes to a possibility the moment we believe we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13). There’s only one fear we need, and that is fear of the Lord.
“I say to you, my friends, don’t fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will show you the one to fear: Fear him who has authority to throw people into hell after death. Yes, I say to you, this is the one to fear!” (Luke 12:4-5)
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Joice Kelly
Aaron Brown is a freelance writer, dance teacher, and visual artist. He currently contributes articles to GodUpdates, GodTube, iBelieve, and Crosswalk. Aaron also supports clients through the freelance platform Upwork.