Summary: Overcoming Fears
Fobia= from Greek phobos =fear
Definition: a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.
Many types of fobias/ fears:
a. Normal/ healthy fears: For example, running for cover during a tornado is a demonstration of a healthy fear. Walking carefully on a narrow sidewalk, walking carefully on a sidewalk covered with ice/ snow, fear of death.
As humans, God has given us both healthy and holy fears as gifts. Fear is both productive and protective. It will cause us to lock our doors at night and to keep check on our cholesterol. God has given us fear to help keep us alive and safe.
b. Imaginary fears: Fear of losing a job, fear of sickness, fear of future
c. Fears created by the present culture/ technology:
Nomofobia: No mobile phone fobia
Aviophobia or Aviatophobia- Fear of flying
A list of 1000s of phobias is available online at www.fobialist.com
d. Good fear: The Bible teaches us to fear the Lord. This is not a reference to the “spirit of fear” but to the spirit of worship (Matt. 10:28). The one who fears God the most, loves Him the best (Prov. 1:7). The fear of the Lord is a clean fear, not a filthy fear (Ps. 19:9; 89:7). Godly fear is holy. God is awesome, not awful!
Considering the recent terrorist attacks, the recent wars, economic recessions and slow recoveries, and the general uncertainties about daily living, Americans are now more fearful about the future than ever. Some are now fighting an inner psychological war. They have lost their sense of security. In a Business Week article (April 19, 2003), it was stated that more than seventy percent of all Americans are now worried about their future.
It seems that millions of people have allowed a “spirit of fear” to grip their lives. Jesus spoke of the last days and described men as having “hearts failing them because of fear” (Luke 21:26).
We need to remember that the ultimate terrorist is Satan himself. In Isaiah 14:12-17, the prophet describes the rise and fall of Satan. It was pride that made Satan the devil. Yet, the ultimate weapon of Satan is terror and fear. He went from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low. In the end, a person has to squint to see him. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. The way he keeps his slaves in tow is through the chief weapon of terror.
Yet, God commands us not to be terrorized by our adversaries (Phil. 1:28). Just as God will bring down Satan, He will also bring down the terrorists of our day.
Why would God command us not to be terrified if it is impossible to overcome terror? Terrorist want to keep us in terror. The Word of God has commanded us not to cooperate with the terrorists.
Normal fears are healthy. Yet, the “spirit of fear” is like a cold front that comes in and never leaves. Everyday is cold, dreary and dark. A normal fear is like a thunder storm that serves a purpose then leaves, but the “spirit of fear” is like a fog that never lifts.
How does one take the fear out of terrorism? How does one have peace of mind in a chaotic world?
In 2 Timothy 1:6-8, the Word of God gives the steps for taking terror out terrorism and fear out of our future.
I. THE HOLY SPIRIT ENERGIZES US WITH POWER (2 Tim. 1:8a)
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear”? The person who can kneel before God can stand before anybody? No one compares to our awesome God!
We become weak and terrorized when we think we are inferior and that a greater force is coming against us. But, when we recognize we are on the side of God’s might and power, then we do not have to be afraid.
The Apostle Paul went on to say to Timothy that he was not afraid to die. He said, “I know who I believe.” He did not say, “I know what I believe.” He did not say, “I know why I believe.”
He did not say, “I know in Whom I have believed.” There was no preposition between Paul and Christ. He said, “I know Who I believe and I am persuaded that He will keep that which I have committed unto him” (1 Tim.1:9-12).The Apostle Paul did not write his inspirational words from an air conditioned room. He wrote them from prison while under the sentence of beheading. He found himself in a dirty, dank dungeon. Yet, even though others feared for their lives, Paul was free because of his proper perspective about his life and times. A number of years ago, I visited the very dungeon in Rome where Paul wrote these most astonishing words.