Whether it’s a terrorist attack or changes in the world around us, only one word can adequately describe the feeling of despair we feel when life spirals out of control—fear. It can strike at any moment. You could be at the store, at home, or on vacation.
Maybe it’s hard for you to name what you are afraid of, but I would still say you have fear in your life. Remember how you felt after 9/11? Most everyone I knew was afraid of the next outbreak of terror where they lived. Fear can come in all sizes and shapes, and fear is an inescapable feature of earthly life.
The truth is, even those of us who find our hope in Jesus can face overwhelming fear and anxiety.
In response to these feelings of fear and dread we all have, I have listed below ten biblical truths for losing fear. I did not invent them. These are truths born out of God’s word, with each one accompanied by at least one passage of Scripture. If you’ve ever suffered from fear or know someone who is suffering from fear today, the following truths are exactly what you need to find true rest and hope in Jesus.
1. Don’t worry about the future. God is sovereign. He knows your needs and He is your Father. Live today for today. The writer of Hebrews quoted the Psalms by saying, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Heb. 13:6) It was Jesus who taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” (Matt. 6:11) It was the apostle Paul who wrote, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19) And then, the apostle Peter told us, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
2. Don’t worry about changing what you cannot change. You can’t save yourself. You can’t save anyone else. But Jesus is our great savior. He has added an eternity of days to your life. He can save anyone. He can save any situation. Pray and expect Him to answer. In Luke, we read, “Those who heard this asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’ Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.’” (Luke 18:26-27) And a little earlier in Luke, Jesus said, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” (Luke 12:25-26) The apostle Paul told us, “Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old.” (Rom. 4:19) He’s speaking of Abraham there and the deadness of Sarah’s womb, of Sarah being able to have a child and get pregnant. “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.” (Rom. 4:20) Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25)
3. Don’t be burdened with the things you have to do as if you have to do them in your own strength. The Lord is a very present help, so just abide in him. It was in John 14 that Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18) And a little later in John he says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) And what would we do without the Psalms? “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) And it was Jesus again who gave us that classic verse that some of us memorized as children, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
4. Don’t worry about finding the Lord. He’s already found you! You have all of him and everything that belongs to him is yours. So just rejoice! Give praise! In Luke, Jesus said, “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’” (Luke 15:4-6) Paul the apostle says in the opening words of the letter to the Ephesians, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3) And then, in 1 Corinthians, as the letter starts out he says, “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:30)
5. Don’t worry about the things of this world. They’re passing away. The Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom. Remember that Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matt. 6:19) He also said in the gospel of Luke, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:32-34) Paul reminded us of several things on why we shouldn’t worry about this world. He wrote, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” (Phil. 3:7-8) Peter the apostle said in his first letter, “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3b-4)
6. Don’t live with a sense of dread and fear. His love surrounds you and defines your life. Lift up your head. I’m thinking of a passage in Isaiah that says,
“To me this is like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
never to rebuke you again.
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
“Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
your foundations with lapis lazuli.
I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.
All your children will be taught by the Lord,
and great will be their peace.
In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
it will not come near you. (Is. 54:9-14
The psalmist also writes, “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” (Psalm 3:3) And again, back in Isaiah, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” (Is. 60:1) And then, one of my favorite verses written by the Apostle John, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (1 John 3:1) Finally, on this point, Paul writes, “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Gal. 4:4-7)
7. Don’t be afraid that He hasn’t heard your prayers. He always hears, he always answers prayer without fail. Ask and you can be carefree. Jesus said, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:24) And just before this, John records Jesus saying, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13) In Luke, Jesus said, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds.” (Luke 11:9-10a) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7) James was the half-brother of Jesus and he wrote a little letter of his own in the New Testament, and in the opening words, he says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)
8. Don’t be afraid that your past mistakes, sins, and failures will determine your future. Your sins are forgiven in Christ, and he works all things together for good. Leave your past regrets behind and head into your glorious future today. The Apostle Paul writes, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:23-26) And then he goes on to write in the same letter, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)
9. Don’t be intimidated by Satan’s accusations, the world’s hostility, the power of sin, or even death. The Lord has defeated them all. Make Jesus Christ your lord. Answer only to him. “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Col. 2:15) And John’s Gospel says this about judgment, “… the prince of this world now stands condemned.” (John 16:11) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
10. God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. Don’t be hesitant to follow the Lord because of your weaknesses, your inadequacies. Be bold and move out for the Kingdom. Paul quotes Jesus in his second letter to the Corinthians saying, “’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9) Earlier in this letter he said, “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” (2 Cor. 3:5) And then in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21)
There you have them – ten biblical truths for losing fear. Every single one of them is something we need today. No matter what is decided in Washington D.C., no matter what kind of war is going on in the world, no matter how our culture and our environment may be changing around us. Even if nothing is changing – we’re all encountering fears, and we all need these ten biblical truths for losing fear every day.
About the Author
As the leader of the Haven Ministries, Charles Morris is always thinking of ways to lead Christians and non-Christians to Christ—hence the familiar slogan, “Telling the great story … it’s all about Jesus.” A former secular journalist, Charles has worked for United Press International, and as a press secretary for two former U.S. senators. He and his wife, Janet, have authored several books, including Missing Jesus. Charles’ latest book is Fleeing ISIS, Finding Jesus: The Real Story of God At Work.
Most of the thoughts above are taken from broadcasts of Haven Today. Corum Hughes serves as the editor of this blog and coordinator for Haven’s social media content. A graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Corum lives in Boise, ID with his wife Molly.