Summary: Fear is not of the Lord, yet we often allow ourselves to be controlled by it and limit what God can do in our lives.
Escape from Fear
Series: Salvation from Destructive Emotions
Delivering humanity from fear is both Jesus’ mission and message. Certainly the problem of fear is a problem to be recognized in many lives. One of the most outstanding and surprising disclosures of stressful, nervous, modern civilization is that many people are in the clutches of fear.
Fear is a problem for all types of people: rich or poor, educated or ignorant, old or young. All struggle with fear.
And people have all types of fears – fear of themselves; fear of others; fear of the past, present, or future; fear of sickness and death; fear of poverty. The list goes on and on.
Some of our fears are normal. Normal fears can be an aid to our safety, comfort, knowledge, and health. A person void of fear is in a dangerous situation. However, many fears are abnormal; they undercut our efficiency, our happiness, and our mental and physical well-being. They paralyze us! They are enemies of the spirit and the flesh.
Throughout the Bible, God often tells people not to be afraid. Two words stand out in the Bible like mountain peaks: “Fear Not!” With these words God comforted Abraham: “Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Gen. 15:1). With these same words he comforted Isaac at his lonely task of digging wells in the wilderness. With these same worked he comforted Jacob when Joseph was lost in Egypt. And similarly he comforted the Israelites at the Red Sea: “Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show today” (Exodus 14:13).
The psalmist declared, “I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; they rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Ps. 23:4). Isaiah gave this admonition from the Lord: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isa. 41:10). God wants us to walk and work without being overcome by fear.
Yet many Christians are tormented by fears. This should not be! We can – we must – break the fear habit before it destroys us. Application of the following positive techniques will help us to do this.
I. We must cultivate the habit of accepting change
a. We often love life’s ruts
i. We love familiar scenery; the dependable landmark; the security of job, family, and home.
ii. We often become afraid to change, and when change is forced upon us, we become fearful and confused.
b. Recognize that life itself Is the story of change
i. Nothing in God’s world is permanent.
ii. He made it that way
iii. There is nothing we can do to alter that
iv. Human existence is fluid
v. History is the record of the ebb and flow of the human tide.
vi. Nature itself tells the story of a restless universe.
1. The Grand Canyon didn’t start off as a huge hole in the earth.
2. It took decades of the water cutting through the rock and erosion to get that deep into the ground.
c. The fear habit is broken when we accept change as a normal, natural part of life.
i. Fear does not stop change; it only adds to its intensity.
ii. To live in constant fear of change is to betray our faith in God in his world.
iii. It is imperative that we recognize:
1. Change has opportunity as well as danger
2. Change has life as well as death
3. Change make living interesting and challenging
4. Change often makes possible a better world.
d. It is a mistake to try to re-create the past, freeze the present, or stave off the future.
II. Cultivate the habit of adapting to the inevitable
a. Make the best of any situation.
i. This is not merely weak submission to the whims of fate.
ii. It is adjustment to the changes of life to use them for our very best.
b. Walk by faith and not by sight.
i. The child of God must remember to do this.
ii. When we walk in this manner, we can be of good courage even in the face of death, the greatest change of all.
c. Bible characters show us that we have power to make adjustments to the changes in life.
i. When God closes some doors, he opens others.
ii. This is seen in the lives of Joseph, Moses, Daniel, and Paul.
III. Cultivate the habit of being governed by facts
a. Many fears are not about existing situations.
i. They center on imaginary circumstances and events that we are afraid might happen.