How Can I Overcome My Fears?


Q: How can I overcome my fears?

A: Allow me to address your question by beginning with the following quote from Wayne Mack, “Many Christians are controlled by fear. As a result, they are crippled spiritually. They come to church, read the Scripture, hear God’s Word preached, and know what God wants them to do. But they don’t obey because they are frightened. So they compromise. They live their Christian lives incognito, going to church on Sundays and living like the world the rest of the week. They neglect their spiritual gifts and are ashamed of Christ -- all as a result of sinful fear.”

Beloved, each day, God calls us to live just the opposite of what we’ve just read -- with “godly fear!” Just listen to the powerful words of Moses, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “What does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 10:12). From those words we learn that “godly fear” is fueled by walking after, loving, and worshipping God with every fiber of our being! Therefore, the child of God should be marked by  “godly fear!”

Such a life will typically respect and honor God’s presence and daily learn to cherish His Word. Subsequently, his conscience will be kept consistently clear and his communion with God will be characteristically sweet (Acts 24:16; Psalm 27:4-14). And when he’s called upon by God to live for Him courageously, his authentic testimony will be obvious to all.

But sadly, we are all too often plagued with “sinful fear.” We fear failure, disease, the future, death, job-loss, rejection, etc. And woven into the fabric of that brief list of fears is the fear of man. And God says this kind of fear always brings a snare or trap into our daily lives (Proverbs 29:25). Such fears are often debilitating and rightly categorized as -- “sinful fear.” When we live with this perspective we often become paranoid about everything (Proverbs 28:1). We then wrongly presume certain things, or learn to fabricate non-truths about: our surrounding world, the life within our church body, and our own private world -- which are simply wrong!

Please understand that many Christians throughout the history of Christ’s church, even very faithful ones have struggled with overcoming “sinful fear” with “godly fear.” Take for example the following words of John Newton, the former slave-trader and faithful pastor, who was also the author of the well-known hymn “Amazing Grace”: “I wish to be delivered from anxious and unbelieving fear, which weakens the hands and disquiets the heart. I wish to increase in a humble jealousy and distrust of myself and of everything about me.” So, like Newton, we should repent of and resist “sinful fear” and aim toward a life that is dominated by “godly fear.”

In fact, we should respond to “sinful fear” with a holy resolve to resist it, just like David did in Psalm 27:1-3, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.”

Finally, as you leave your past fears from the previous years, please enter 2013 by remembering, “…the Lord takes pleasure in them that fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love” (Psalm 147:11). Happy New Year!!

Do you like this post?