Taking Your Fears to God
by Bob Lepine

June 14, 2021

Spiritual Growth

Taking Your Fears to God

By Bob Lepine

June 14, 2021

Can you think of a time this week when you have found yourself fearful or anxious? It shouldn’t be a surprise. There are a lot of people in our day who are earning a good living by stirring up anxiety. People have figured out how to monetize fear. Making us anxious has become a multi-billion-dollar industry.
We are naturally fearful people. Whether it’s a fear of heights, of public speaking, of spiders and snakes, claustrophobia, aerophobia (fear of flying) mysophobia (a fear of germs) or agoraphobia (a fear of being alone), every one of us has certain things that make us afraid.
Fear can be a good thing. We live in a dangerous world. We should have a healthy fear of electricity, for example. We should be careful around spiders and snakes, since some varieties of venom can be deadly. 
But problems happen when we move from being appropriately aware of and concerned about legitimate dangers we face to becoming overly concerned about things that are unlikely to bring us any real harm. In other words, we go from what can be a healthy fear to what the Bible calls “a spirit of fear.”
That phrase shows up in 2 Timothy 1, where the Apostle Paul is challenging his young protégé to embrace his assignment as a minister of the gospel. With his mentor sitting in a Roman prison facing execution for proclaiming Christ, it’s understandable that Timothy might be feeling reticent to speak up. “God has not given you a spirit of fear,” he says. Be bold, Timothy!

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In our day, each of us is prone to timidity when it comes to our witness for Jesus. We know that many of our friends and co-workers have preconceived ideas about “crazy Christians,” and we don’t want them to think those things about us. So we lay low. 
We’ve also probably experienced people who become argumentative, belligerent, or even hostile around Christians. We don’t want to provoke anyone or stir up division. So we stay quiet.
When it comes to standing for our faith, we should we wise—wise as serpents, Jesus said. We should be careful. Humble. Meek. 
And bold. Courageous. Not fearful.
I think there is a secondary application of this text for us. At times, a spirit of fear is fueled by a lack of confidence in God providence. We fear what the future may bring. We fear the unknown. We expect the worst to happen. We become paralyzed or depressed or both. 
That spirit is not from God. If that’s how you’re looking at life, it’s not God’s doing.
In the Old Testament, Joshua famously faced the daunting assignment of entering into and possessing the land of promise. He was assuming leadership from Moses, a man who had clearly been sent from God. He did not know what the children of Israel would be facing as they moved forward. As it turned out, he would face reports of giants in the land. There was a fortress city in their way. The battles would not be easy.
Joshua’s fears were not unwarranted. But God had called him to go forward with courage. “Have I not commanded you?” God asked. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Do you find yourself controlled by a spirit of fear? Maybe it’s time to turn down the noise in your life that is stirring up the anxiety – the headlines, the drama, the vain imaginations about what the future may hold. Reset your thinking. Be transformed by renewing your mind with God’s word.
And remember you have a God who is with you and who loves you. His perfect love casts out our fears. 
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7).

This article first appeared in the Redeemer Community Church newsletter and is used with permission.


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