Summary: Overcoming fear
Fear is a human emotion that is triggered by a perceived threat. Fear is a basic survival mechanism signals our bodies to respond to danger with a fight or flight response. As such, it is an essential part of keeping us safe. However, when people live in constant fear, whether from physical dangers in their environment or threats they perceive, they can become incapacitated.
Fear prepares us to react to danger. Once we sense a potential danger, our body releases hormones that:
- Slow or shut down functions not needed for survival (such as our digestive system).
- Sharpen functions that might help us survive (such as eyesight). Our heart rate increases, and blood flows to muscles so we can run faster.
- Our body also increases the flow of hormones to an area of the brain known as the amygdala to help us focus on the presenting danger and store it in our memory.
Living under constant fear has serious health consequences.
- Fear weakens our immune system and can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, and decreased fertility. It can lead to accelerated ageing and even premature death.
- Fear can impair formation of long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain. This can make it even more difficult to regulate fear and can leave a person anxious most of the time. To someone in chronic fear, the world looks scary and their memories confirm that.
- Fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically. This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately.
Other consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
In the beginning of his inaugural address, President Roosevelt said, "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
He said this in a time of fear and stress during the Great Depression.
“David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath.”
Psalm 34:4, 9
Vs 4 – “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
Vs 9 – “Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.”
A. Samuel the prophet anoints David King – “From that day on The Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David” (1 Sam 16:13)
B. Defeats Goliath the Philistine – 1 Samuel 17
- The Israelite army on one hill and the Philistine army on the other hill with a valley between
- Goliath the Philistine “champion” from Gath was 9’9’’ tall – a Philistine warrior (Vs. 4-7)
- Goliath mocked & threatened God’s people and they were “dismayed and terrified” (Vs. 11)
- This went on for 40 days
- Jesse sent David with provisions for his three oldest brothers in Saul’s army (Vs 17)
- A shepherd boy (Vs. 20) but has the anointing of God
- Speaks up against this enemy, recognizing him as an enemy of God’s army (Vs. 26)
- Saul was looking for a volunteer to fight this uncircumcised Philistine (Vs. 32)
- God had prepared David for this moment – defeated the lion and bear with his hands
- Gave credit to the Lord for his success
- Trusted God to help him defeat the Philistine
- Was not yet a trained warrior – was not familiar with Saul’s armor and weapons
- He grabbed what he knew--his shepherd staff, a sling, and 5 stones
- Goliath continued to mock the Israelites and “cursed David by his own gods.”
- Did not back down…He said, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin,
but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel,
whom you have defiled” and defeated the giant with a single stone to the forehead
C. David became a mighty warrior (1 Sam 18-19)
- Successful in all he did—continuously defeated the Philistine army
- The people loved David—“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands”
- David became, Saul’s son’s, Jonathan’s, best friend—made a covenant with David
- He married Saul’s daughter, Michal
- King Saul became jealous and paranoid of David as he became powerful and loved
- Saul tried to have David killed but God protected him
D. David fled for his life to Nob out of fear (1 Sam 21:1-9)