This is the fifth post in the “Battle for Your Mind” summarized series. Click here to view the previous post.
THE BATTLE FOR YOUR FEAR
HOW TO CONQUER FEAR – PART I
What kind of fears do you have? People have all kinds of phobias, and we even give them special names. We have acrophobia (the fear of heights), arachnophobia (fear of spiders), coulrophobia (fear of clowns), cacophobia (fear of ugliness), and my personal favorite, homilophobia (fear of sermons).
The multiplicity of fears from which you are able to choose may seem daunting to you, so we also have phobophobia, which is the fear of phobias.
There is, of course, some fear that is healthy. It keeps us safe. For example, the fear of heights may keep you from falling off your roof. Fear of water may keep you from drowning. While it is detrimental to allow our fears to rule our lives, we would do well to have a healthy respect for things that can hurt us.
The kind of fear that we are discussing is fear that is debilitating and unnecessary. We may also refer to it as worry.
The good news is that although this kind of fear is common in the world, it is unnecessary for the Christian.
Fear is unnecessary
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)
The Greek word translated as “be careful” in this verse is merimnao, which means to be anxious or troubled about something. It is also an imperative used in the negative sense. Therefore, the command is this: “Do not be anxious!”
Worry accomplishes nothing. You can worry about your height, but it won’t make you taller. You can fear losing your job because of a failing economy, but it won’t change anything.
This, by the way, is the same word Jesus used when He said, “Take no thought for your life” (Matthew 6:25). Worrying about things helps nothing.
Because God commands us not to fear, we know that we don’t have to. However, we still find ourselves worrying. Just knowing that we are commanded not to do it isn’t enough…we need some tools to help us overcome it. How can we conquer the enemy of fear?
Fear can be conquered
You already have the tool you need to overcome fear. It is your mind.
In Matthew 6, what did Jesus say to those who were overly anxious about things in life? He told them to use their minds and consider something.
In short, fear can be conquered by the way you think.
In Matthew 6:28-29, Jesus says to “consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. . . and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” To “consider” something entails engaging your brain and thinking about it. The lilies have no careers, yet God takes care of them. Don’t you think He will take care of you also?
As you are considering what God can do, it is often helpful to consider the past. That is what God asked the Israelites to do. He constantly reminded them that He was the God who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt.
When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 20:1)
Basically He was saying, “Remember what I did…and consider what I can do.”
If God could do it before, why couldn’t He do it again?
This leads us to another way that fear can be conquered—through faith.
In Matthew 6:32, Jesus said, “your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”
My kids often come into the house wondering what and when we will eat next. Never once, though, have they been afraid that there might not be anything to eat. They have never noticed that the refrigerator was a little bare and worried that they would have to go hungry. They just know we will take care of them. Is God a worse parent than we are?
Neil Anderson said “Fear of anything (other than the fear of God) is mutually exclusive to faith in God.”[i] How can we fear when we truly believe that the all-powerful God knows and cares about our needs?
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
In this verse, the word “care” is translated from merinma, the noun form of the word merimnao, which we have already seen can be translated as “anxiety.” The word “careth” comes from a different word, one that means “concern.”
In other words, we can cast our anxiety on Him, because He is concerned for us.
What kind of fears do you have? Whatever they are, you can conquer them through the way you think. Consider who God is. Consider how He takes care of seemingly insignificant parts of creation such as grass and flowers. Understand that He is the almighty God and that He cares for you.
Consider also this quote from Anderson: “The Israelits saw Goliath in reference to themselves and stressed out. David saw the same giant in reference to God and triumphed.”[ii]
In the next section we’ll take a look at two more ways that fear can be conquered.
Click here for the next section – How to Conquer Fear, Part II