Dear World Changer,
Fall is such a busy season, for everyone, for many different reasons! For many it’s the beginning of a new school year, along with preparing for upcoming holidays such as thanksgiving and Christmas! (Woops, I said the “C” word :P) And many of us really don’t want to be thinking that far ahead. But I just LOVE fall. It’s my favourite season; the colours of the trees, the smell of the crisp air, the warm drinks and desserts, and of course, the cuddles! Not only do I love the way it looks and feels, I also love what it represents: a new season! However, there are many negative things that come with a new season; the fear of change, the fear of failure, the fear of rejection… the common denominator being FEAR.
How can we be ready to do what God is calling us to do if we let our fear hold us back?
I mean, there’s so much to fear in life, right? What do others think of me? Will I say the right thing? Will I do the right thing? If I mess up, will it ruin my life? Where will I end up? Will I make enough money? Will I be happy? Do people even care about me? How do I make a difference?
It’s overwhelming. Fear is the sole reason for all of our worries, and we’ve become so accustomed to feeling worry and fear that we actually believe it is okay because everyone fears and worries, and how can we not?
Well, I’m not a bible scholar or a seminary graduate of any kind, nor do I consider myself perfect. But today I do hope to share with you some insight for how to overcome the natural human tendency to fear. And as I remind you of these things, I am also reminding myself. For it is seldom that I go even a day without consciously realizing I’m stuck in my negative thoughts of worry.
First of all, we can be sure that God did not create us to worry. In the beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, everything was as it should be, and our relationship with God was flawless. It even talks of them walking WITH God through the garden! However, when the Devil (or serpent) tempted Eve and then Adam to sin, their eyes were opened to their nakedness and they hid from God out of FEAR. (Genesis 1-3) So from this we see that fear came from sin and that it was not meant to be.
It was fear of the ‘giants’ that caused the Israelites to wander in the desert for 40 years instead of entering into the promised land. (Numbers 13:17-14:35)
It was fear that caused Peter to begin to sink when he was already walking on the water toward Jesus. (Matthew 14:22-33)
It was worry that caused people to sin because they would put too much emphasis on the things they didn’t have or the things they needed rather than trusting that God will provide. (Luke 12:22-34)
Sin causes fear and fear causes sin. And we begin to reap the consequences of our actions, such as not being at peace, struggling with anxiety, getting physically sick from stress, and even such things as depression if we dwell too long on the things that we should not!
So how do we stop ourselves??
Here is one of my favourite passages of scripture on overcoming fear: (I know it’s long but please read the whole thing, it will be such a blessing!)
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
This is amazing imagery! God is our Protector no matter what we’re going through! If that doesn’t give you confidence – that Jesus always has your back – I don’t know what does!
Not only does this passage give us a vivid explanation on how He will deliver us, it also is quite clear on what we can do to keep our thoughts from wandering to fearful and worrisome thoughts: Calling on Him! We are to admit aloud that we need Him and constantly remind ourselves of His promises.
So here are more of His promises:
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
“[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“The weapons we fight with are the not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Therefore, make every effort to attain self-control, control of the mind and of the spirit and of the body, memorizing scripture, and calling on God to keep yourself from fear, anxiety, and worry. Learn to be content in any and every situation that you may be focused on praising His name rather than worrying about what’s coming next.
Overcoming fear is a constant journey but it makes change and transitions so much easier when we trust in God to take care of all of our needs. Oh how the world would look so different if no one ever worried. I pray this for you and for me today and always, that we may be the change and all would see our peace and joy. I know that “my God will meet all of your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 4:19)
“To God our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Philippians 4:20)