FEAR. We all have the capacity to make it our constant companion. Chronic fear can paralyze us, keeping us stuck in misery and brokenness. This is never more true than in the aftermath of a shattered heart! When the world turns upside down, it can be difficult to figure out how to reconcile fear and faith.
Sometimes, in that place of darkness, even the Bible can seem a bit confusing on the subject of fear. We’re told again and again not to fear, and yet we’re also told TO fear God. So from down in the depths of despair, it’s pretty easy to think ourselves in circles, and before we know it, fear has taken hold and spun out of control.
What we need to do is look at the whole Bible and compile what it has to say on the subject of fear so we can come away knowing exactly where we should stand.
So, for the next four weeks we’ll be facing off with fear as we jump into a comprehensive Bible study on fear and faith. The whole Facing Fear series can be permanently found here, and will be updated as we work our way through.
Most of us know, or have at least noticed that anxiety and depression seem to be on the rise. It’s hard to go anywhere without seeing or hearing something on the subject. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. They say these disorders affect 40 million adults in this country alone! (Click to read more.) And the statistics don’t change much in the world at large with the World Health Organization reporting 1 in 13 adults suffer from anxiety globally.
I wish I could say this struggle with chronic fear lessens within the church. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, if these numbers from LifeWay’s Facts & Trends research are accurate, the numbers might even be higher in the church. (Click to read.)
Granted, there are far bigger issues at play here than just fear and faith. For some, the struggle with chronic fear is physiological and requires medical treatment. But often, even with treatment, countless people never manage to get control of their chronic fear. I believe this is because the issue is almost never one dimensional.
Getting medical help to balance out of control chemical production in the brain is a great start, but if we don’t figure out how to get to the source of the fear, the solution will be short lived.
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Benefits of Facing Your Fears
The benefits of a life without fear hardly have to be stated. I’m sure we can all agree that if we could find a way to live at peace, the benefits would be incalculable. But in order to achieve peace, we have to find a way to deal with our fear.
Of course, if we’re looking for solutions to overcome our fear and anxiety, we’ll find no shortage of suggestions. Everyone has a theory on how to get there. Whether it be essential oils, guided meditation, that magic diet, aromatherapy, the perfect exercise regimen complete with yoga, or a hundred others, countless experts offer hope.
Certainly, there are benefits to some of these solutions, and many actually can help balance the physiological elements involved in chronic fear, anxiety, and depression. But I believe a lasting solution has to go deeper.
The Bible is clear. True and lasting peace can come only from God. If we’re going to enjoy a life of peace, free from fear and worry, anxiety, and all the rest, we have to face our fears, get to their source, and surrender them to God.True and lasting peace can come only from God. If we're going to enjoy a life of peace, free from fear, worry, anxiety, and all the rest, we have to face our fears, get to their source, and surrender them to God. Click To Tweet
That’s why, in this series, we’re facing fear. We’re standing toe to toe with that ugly monster, and reminding it who sits on the Throne of Heaven! He is the same God who has made His temple in our own hearts! And this is what HE tells us about fear:
John 14:26-27 – But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative – that is, the Holy Spirit – He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
God tells us there is a peace that comes from Him which cannot be matched by any other means. That’s what we’re looking for in this series. We want to know how to find that peace.
We don’t just want to know it exists, but how we can claim it. How can we go through life without being troubled or afraid because our fear and faith have balanced and we have peace of mind and heart?
How to Overcome Fear Biblically
Believe it or not, the Biblical solution to fear begins with a well developed, healthy fear. That is, the fear of the Lord. The Bible teaches us it is the beginning of wisdom. If we have any hope of conquering our chronic fear, we have to learn to understand what it means to fear God. Then, we have to establish a strong fear of the Lord within our hearts.
Psalm 112:1 – Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying His commands.
So next week, that’s where we’ll start. We’ll dig through Scripture to find everything we can on the subject. Hopefully, by the end, we will fear God in exactly the way He wants us to.
Fear and Faith
After that, we’re going to look at some Biblical accounts of people who overcame fear. We’re going to see what we can learn about fear and faith from people who were given such great faith that it silenced some pretty mighty fears.
If faith begins with the fear of the Lord, and faith is the catalyst to lasting peace, then we want to study the Bible in order to grow our faith so big no anxiety or worry stands a chance!
A Bible Study on Fear and Faith
Finally in the last week of this Bible study on fear and faith we’re going to look at God’s repeated command of comfort to His people throughout the Bible, “Do not fear.”
What are the particulars that go along with His reassurance? What promises does He make to guarantee the trust we place in Him is well founded? When He says, “fear not,” what reasons do we have to comply?
I believe by the end we’ll have everything we need to choose faith over fear. We’ll be fully equipped to live a life at peace. Of course, we’ll still have to choose to act on that information. We’ll still have to CHOOSE faith. Even with all the right information, it’s still possible to remain paralyzed by fear, but it won’t be because God hasn’t given us everything we need to move past it. It will be because we have chosen to allow fear to keep its grip on us. May we all choose faith!
*How about you? How do fear and faith play into your life? What do you hope to learn through this Bible study to help you overcome fear?
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***Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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