How Do You Deal with Fear?

This week one of the messages in my Bible app said this: “As much as you recognize God’s presence by peace in Isaiah 9:6, you can recognize Satan’s presence by fear in 1 John 4:18. Satan is a defeated foe sentenced to hell, and he knows it.” The verses mentioned are below.

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.9.6.NLT
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
1 John 4:18 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/1jn.4.18.NLT

If you know Jesus then you know His story. If you don’t, you need to at least know that He is fully God and fully man, and knowing Him can dispel your fears.

I know. Hard to wrap your brain around.

He is God incarnate, and He experienced every fear we do, so He gets it!  Can you begin to imagine the crippling fear you would experience knowing you were going to suffer a tortuous death nailed to a cross? What must that have been like for Him? Yes! He was terrified!  “…but He overcame the spirit of fear because He knew the trustworthiness of His Father’s character,” says the author of the message I was reading.

Jesus experienced the same temptations we do, the same sorrows, the same joys. He loved His friends. He laughed and joked and celebrated. He wept and became angry.

I think most people that don’t know Jesus at all see Him like the statues and figurines, that depict Him as always sorrowful, always above humanity, looking down upon us like some pitiful pack of pathetic people that He must look after, but that is not the truth at all. He is a man that loves all of the human race, and wants to gather us up to be part of the Father’s eternal family.  We are His brothers and sisters.  

By the way, this four-day reading plan I refer to is entitled THE OVERCOMING LIFE, by Jimmy Evans, if you’re interested in finding it. Jimmy says in his subtitle,

As a believer victory belongs to you, but you still have to claim it.

There’s a dope slap for ya!

How do you do that, though?

We must be intentional in redirecting our minds when fear creeps in. 

It’s an exercise we must perform daily, in fact.  We all have much to fear in this world, but believers know how the story ends and we can change our thoughts.  Those that do not have Jesus, that do not have the hope of God being there through it all, will allow fear and anxiety to cripple and consume them and control their lives.

If you know you must redirect your mind to conquer fear, what do you aim it towards?  

Here’s a start…

‘And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. ‘ Philippians 4:8 https://my.bible.com/bible/116/PHP.4.8

Reading God’s Word, memorizing verses that bring you peace, is the best way to change your thoughts.  Another favorite preacher of mine is Tony Evans. In his four day study entitled WHO CONTROLS YOUR THOUGHTS, he emphasizes how the enemy’s best strategy is to “…plant unhealthy thoughts in your mind, repeating them over and over until you start to think they are your own thoughts.” I think this is especially true of fear.

It doesn’t matter what your number of years on this planet is, we all suffer fear and anxiety about something. Even if you never did before, since March of 2019, you probably have had some type of worry over your own health or that of your loved ones, financial strife and the uncertainty that accompanies it, or just plain sadness and hopelessness over what has happened in our blessed nation and globe.

There is much to be fearful about these days. Like there wasn’t 2000 years ago?

The disciples had much to fear when they decided to drop everything and follow Jesus. They had no idea what they were getting themselves into when they took on the task of spreading the Good News. Just think…they didn’t even know what that news really was all about. But they trusted Him, and they did what He asked of them. And they began to see people and circumstances through His eyes.

This week the seventh episode of season two of THE CHOSEN aired.  It is a must see series like nothing ever before it.  Here’s the link:  https://watch.angelstudios.com/thechosen

It touched me so when Peter, my kindred spirit; bold,  impetuous, often obnoxious, Peter, asked Jesus to teach them how to pray like He did. And the words to a prayer almost everyone has at least heard, were first spoken. The Our Father. Made me cry.  Even the second time around.  

The more they came to know him the more they softened and wanted to be like him and please him, and the less they feared.

My goal is to be bold and fearless in my own faith, just like the disciples became so bold and fearless. We fear rejection, like what Jesus experienced. His own townspeople and family rejected Him at first. Rejection is maybe one of the biggest fears we #humans have.

So, do you even have any communication with your Creator? If so, do you believe, as a child of God,  that you can trust Him to get you through the toughest times in your life?

If you do believe that, you know what to do with your fears. But you must DO it!

We like to hang on to what is familiar to us, even our fears.

My biggest fear is suffering a long illness before I die. There is lots of cancer and heart disease in my family. My mom and some of her sisters had cancer, both my sisters did, too.  And cousins on both sides of my family!  Recent statistics will tell you one in every three Americans will have cancer in their lifetime.  Tell me that’s not enough to make you a little anxious.  I’ll be honest.  I have a tendency to worry.  But now I have a stronger tendency to stop it.

My best defense when I start to get neurotic is listening to my audio Bible while I’m walking or bike riding, appreciating God’s gifts of nature. And knowing that no matter what valley I go through He is with me.

When my sister was dying she would often wake in the middles of the night, unable to calm her fears.  She would wheel outside to her lanai and read her Bible.  It was the only thing that would calm her, she said.  

I truly pray that you will cultivate the kind of relationship with Jesus that can anchor you in your own neurotic, negative self-talk. If you don’t have that at this point in your life, anyone else who does can help you.

Rick Warren says the best mentors are the ones that are just one step ahead of you. If you try to relate to one who is miles ahead of you in their Christian walk the gap is often overwhelming. You will feel like you can’t ever make up the distance and you may get discouraged.

Think of how a twelve step program does it.  The men and women that are still new in the program become the mentors for those just joining. Why?  Because the newbies can relate to someone who still struggles, still stumbles, and still needs reminding and replenishing EVERY DAY.

We do our best for one another when we share our own pain, our own mistakes, and our tiny victories, one day at a time.

I stumble.  I mess up every day when I let my impatience and temper get the best of me.  I have a favorite verse in Ephesians that I use every single day, at least twice.  

‘Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. ‘ Ephesians 4:2   https://my.bible.com/bible/116/EPH.4.2

Humble, gentle, patient…yikes.  It’s really not my nature.  Not sure why, but God wired me pretty tight.  In my morning prayer I ask for humility above all.  Surrendering to Jesus, putting others before myself, and being the light for someone who needs it all require humility first and foremost.

If you are like me in this respect, don’t worry.  The more you get to know Jesus, the more you will want to be like Him.  Sometimes you will surprise yourself when you actually do the right thing!  And you know it makes Him smile! 

Please click that link above for the THE CHOSEN TV SERIES by Dallas Jenkins and Angel Studios.  The app is free.  The technology is cutting edge.  You can download the app and cast it to your smart tv for viewing.  You can choose to pay it forward or not.  Many have done so, myself included, so the show remains to be free across the globe for any and all who wish to watch.  There has never been a show like it. You will get to see who Jesus was to the people that knew Him best.  Amazing series.  Season two is coming to a close.  Only one episode left.  But please watch all of season one first 🙂

Remember.  We conquer our fears and worries ONE DAY AT A TIME.  In Jesus’ own words…

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.  Matthew 6:34 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/mat.6.34.NLT

Peace in Christ

 

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