Worry-warts

It is something we all are guilty of on a daily basis – some much more than others. Go take a look at two previous posts on Fear and the process of Letting Go…this post will tie in well with them.

Every situation we encounter in life has the potential to go in two directions: either positive, or negative. Compulsive worry-warts (like me, especially when it comes to our baby) see the danger, the potential problems arising a mile ahead of the event itself. Taking the baby on an outing, I worry that he will cry inconsolably. Feeding him, I worry that he isn’t getting enough milk. During the day, I worry that he isn’t getting enough sleep. Although it is hard for me to admit this, this process is a huge waste of my time and efforts. Not only is it unproductive and, like fear, based in the non-existent future – it also leads to sickness and sadness.

So Jesus tells me the following today:

“So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.” Matt 6:34

I need to let go of the aspects of any situation that are beyond my control, and focus only on living in the moment. His grace is sufficient for anything that could come my way. I must only focus on His provision, not the potential problem.

“But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully];” 2 Cor 12:9

Without worry, we will experience abundant joy and light living. Our minds will be filled with peace. Some last encouraging words if we let go of our own yokes and trust in the abundant provision of Jesus:

“For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Mat 11:30

Fear

Why do we give so much authority to an inanimate concept? We go about our daily lives, many times basing decisions on the presence of fears. Fears are like mirages. They seem bigger and more imposing than they actually are. We don’t fear something that has already happened – we fear the thought of something that might happen. Fear is always based in the future, so if we fear, we don’t live in the moment. Jesus said:

“Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life.” Matt 6:25

Try this today. When you find yourself getting anxious about the possibility of something bad happening, choose not to give in to the fear. Remind yourself that fear lives in the future, and all you are guaranteed of is this moment, and the fact that you have a God beside you every step of the way. If we continually give in to fear, we will miss out on some amazing opportunities and experiences along the way. If you fear failure even before you start – you will never know what could have been. Don’t be uneasy any more. Start to live boldly, and see what God can do in your life!

The Israelites were struck with fear when they saw the Egyptians pursuing them in the desert. They saw the possible torture and death waiting in the future instead of the miraculous salvation God would bring in that moment. Moses told them:

“Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.” Ex 14:13-14

God proceeded to miraculously open the sea for them, and the Egyptians were indeed never seen again.

When fear strikes you, counter with a firm confidence and boldness in God. Stand still – don’t let fear move you into the opposite direction. God will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.

God wants to help us

God is always ready to help us in time of need. He wants to convince us of this, so that whenever we face a situation that scares us or seems out of control, we can just turn to Him and KNOW that He will provide for us and help us. In the span of 4 verses (Isaiah 41) we are told 7 times how God will provide, :

  • I am with you
  • I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties
  • I will help you (1st mention)
  • I will hold you up and retain you
  • I hold your right hand
  • I will help you (2nd mention)
  • I will help you (3rd mention)

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice…For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you! Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:10-14

How can we wonder about His intentions when we read this verse? How can we worry about situations if He goes through all the trouble of emphasizing His intentions so clearly?

I say we just believe Him, and see how He keeps His promises! I can’t wait!

Fear cripples

Although it cannot physically be seen- fear is a phenomenon that can cause even the strongest man to be crippled. From a Christian perspective, fear makes you doubt God’s goodness and His will to protect you and care for you. The onset of fear makes you feel alone, and it immediately takes away all your confidence.

In many instances in God’s word we hear the word “fear”:

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.” Is 41:10

“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever leans on, trusts in, and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high.” Prof 29:25

“There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].” 1 John 4:18

When fear strikes us there are a few things we can hold onto:

  • God’s character does not change. That which you fear is not His will for you – whether it be sickness, death, debt, conflict or distress. He wants to bless you, to give you a life of abundance. This is the truth. God never changes – but your reality can.
  • As a Christian you can experience a supernatural life. You don’t have to submit to a doctor’s report saying you have cancer. You don’t have to fear when all you hear about on the news is death and violence. As a Christian you live in the shadow of God’s presence, which means you will experience divine protection, fullness of joy and overwhelming peace and contentment.

Don’t give in to fear when it strikes you – turn your back on it and face the glorious presence of God, which drives away all fear.

God will not let you down

In a previous post I spoke about God wanting to fight our battles for us. We can really trust Him wholeheartedly –  His goodness is unfailing. Trusting someone comes through an experience with them. If you are constantly told about a wrathful God who is angry at you – you won’t really trust Him to take your life in His hands. On the other hand, if you continue hearing about a God with the most perfectly good character, you will start trusting Him with your life.  In so many places He tells us not to fear – one of my favorite scriptures is in Isaiah:

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.” Is 41:10

“For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you!” Is 41:13

God wants to help you. He wants to take care of you. He wants you to trust in His goodness and know that He loves you unconditionally – even more than an earthly father could. Listen to Him as He tells you not to fear – He is with you.

“Be strong, courageous, and firm; fear not nor be in terror before them, for it is the Lord your God Who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deut 31:6

“And he said, O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you! Be strong, yes, be strong.” Dan 10:19

A God that fights for you!

A little while back I spoke about God’s perfect love, and how knowing His character will drive away all fear.  Another reason we don’t have to fear is because God likes to fight our battles for us.  When we are faced with an impossible or scary situation, He likes to take the challenge. All that remains for us is to trust in Him, and let peace settle in our hearts.  There are many examples in the Bible:

“Moses told the people, Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.” Ex 14:13-14

“The Lord your God Who goes before you, He will fight for you just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes…” Deut 1:30

“In whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” Nehemia 4:20

We are not valiant or courageous if we fight in our own strength.  Real victory comes when you rest in God, knowing He is willing and able to take care of you.

“In returning [to Me] and resting [in Me] you shall be saved; in quietness and in [trusting] confidence shall be your strength.” Is 30:15

Perfect love

If we walk around with fear in our hearts, we have not become fully acquainted  with the true character of God.  This fear includes fear of punishment, fear of sickness, fear of death – any fear you can think of.  It basically says: “I don’t really know if God loves me enough to heal me or bless me”, or “He is going to punish me for what I have done”.

We must learn the truth regarding the character and heart of God. God IS love (1 John 4:16). He does not just give love, He embodies it. His entire being is love – there is no evil in Him (1 John 1:5). If we really get to know God, we will start trusting in His goodness – and this will become the rock that we stand on.

“There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].” 1 John 4:18

Getting to know God, who is perfect love, will automatically drive away all fears you have in you heart. If you know your closest friend’s heart, you will know that they don’t want to hurt you. You won’t fear them. It is the same with God. If we get to know Him as a Father, we will know He loves us and we will never fear Him or what He will do to us.