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NO LONGER AFRAID
“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears”
The most frequent command in the Bible is “do not fear.” Yet it rarely seems that simple. Learn how – with God’s help – you can overcome your fears and move forward in faith.
Are you often overwhelmed with feelings of foreboding . . . even when things are going well? Do you frequently find the muscles in your neck tightening and your stomach churning when in unfamiliar situations or places? Fear is like a chain around your heart—it paralyzes, entraps, and enslaves. Discover how to move from fear to faith—from panic to peace. Understand the love and power of Christ in your life as you depend on Him for strength and help in every fearful situation you face.
A moderate sense of fear may be considered normal, even healthy. It may be simply an awareness of impending danger—a defense mechanism. It may be just the pounding heart, flushed face, and sweaty palms in anticipation of being called on in class or being asked to make a speech at a meeting. Fears may be in reaction to imagined or real circumstances. They can be acute or chronic. Many fearful people tend to infect others with their anxieties and tensions.
What role does this emotion play in your life?
Immobilizer or energizer … foe or friend? What you do in the face of fear identifies its role in your life. Instead of being paralyzed, allow your fear to move you to entrust your life to the Lord. Come to see the Lord as your only place of safety. He promises that He will not only be with you and He will also lead you through your frightening worries. Whether fleeting or chronic, God will be with us through His Holy Spirit as our Great Comforter every step of the way.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
How Can I Be Triumphant Over My Fear?
"Among the thousands of people mentioned in the Bible, Gideon is selected by God to be one of the few in His famous “Hall of Faith.” Now, this “Hall of Faith” found in Hebrews chapter 11, illustrates the power of living by faith and highlights the true heroes of the faith.
Gideon’s transformation from being fearfully timid to being fearlessly triumphant is evident in the book of Judges, as Gideon and his small army conquered the mammoth army of the Midianites. Instead of retreating from fear, this once meek man became the “mighty warrior” God called Him to be. The mighty man of valor. Well we can all live the life God called us to live. That means we can be free of fear.
Peter 5 says, “Humble yourselves, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
Fear can be your foe or your friend. When you find yourself in the path of a frightening storm – whether figurative or literal – it can be a paralyzing force spiraling you down into the depths of darkness … or a propelling motivator moving you to higher ground. As the storm approaches, fear can be like a deadbolt lock keeping your mind confined … or like a loud alarm warning you to move to safety.
Living with a fear-based mentality or with a spirit of fear is not from God.
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What Is Fear?
- Fear is a strong emotional reaction to a perceived imminent danger characterized by a fight, flight, or freeze response.
- Fear can be real or imagined, rational or irrational, normal or abnormal.
- Fear acts as a protective reaction, placed in us by our Creator to activate all of our physical defense systems when we face real danger. Fear triggers the release of adrenaline in the body that both prepares and propels us to action, often called the “fight or flight” response.
- Fear is a natural emotion designed by God. However, fearfulness is not designed by God, for fearfulness suggests living in a state of fear.
What Is Anxiety?
- Anxiety in the psychological and psychiatric world is the “umbrella” word covering varying degrees of worry and fear, ranging from mild to extreme.
- Anxiety is an uneasiness or distress over a threat or something unknown and is characterized by extreme worry or brooding fear.
- Anxiety stems from uncertainty—hoping something will happen, but having no guarantee it will ... or fearing something will happen, but having no control over whether it will or not.
- Anxiety can lead to “catastrophic thinking,” overestimating the likelihood of danger or a negative outcome.
- Anxiety becomes a “disorder” when it becomes so intense that it dominates a person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions, preventing the person from living a normal life.
“Fear and trembling seized me and made all my bones shake.”
Symptoms of Normal Fear...
- Apprehension (to proceed with caution)
- Breathing increased (to deliver more oxygen to the body)
- Heart rate increased (to fuel your muscles with blood)
- Hyperalertness (to increase awareness of danger)
- Mind racing (to provide options to consider)
- Muscles contracting (to prepare for the “fight or flight” reaction)
- Pupils dilated (to increase vision, especially at night)
- Senses heightened (for the purpose of dealing with the feared object)
- Talking increased (to aid in communication about the problem)
Symptoms of Abnormal Fear
- Chest pain or discomfort (feeling like you are having a heart attack)
- Cold hands, tingling sensation (feeling like you are going numb)
- Detached sensation (feeling like you are losing touch with reality or yourself)
- Dizziness, light-headed (feeling like you are going to faint)
- Hyperventilating, shortness of breath (feeling like you are being smothered)
- Nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal pain and cramping (feeling like you have a life-threatening disease)
- Trembling or shaking (feeling like you are doomed)
- Rapid heart rate, pounding heartbeat (feeling like your heart is going to jump out of your chest)
- Sweating, excessive perspiration (feeling like you are a huge embarrassment)
How to Counter Your Fears with Facts
Fear: “I can’t help this feeling of intense fear!”
Fact: “This feeling is a bluff to my mind and body. It is not grounded in truth.”
“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’”
Fear: “I have this feeling of doom—a feeling I am going to die.”
Fact: “The time of my death is in God’s hands. I will choose to trust Him.”
“From one man he [God] made all the nations ... and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands”
Fear: “I’m afraid of what others are thinking about me.”
Fact: “My peace comes from pleasing God, not in pleasing man.”
“We make it our goal to please him”
(2 Corinthians 5:9).
Fear: “I am hopeless and can never change.”
Fact: “In Christ, I am a new person. Nothing is hopeless.”
“If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17).
Fear:“I am so nervous, I can’t think clearly.”
Fact: “God will guard my mind and give me peace.”
“The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”
Fear: “To be safe, I have to be in control.”
Fact: “God is in control of my life, and He is with me step by step.”
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged”
Dos and Don’ts for Supporting Someone Struggling with Fear
Don’t... become impatient when you don’t understand the person’s fear.
Do... Understand that what fearful people feel is real.
“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly”
Don’t... make someone face a threatening situation without planning ahead and gaining agreement.
Do... Give instruction in positive self-talk and relaxation exercises.
“Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life”
Don’t... make the individual face a fearful situation alone.
Do... Be there and give assurance of your support.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up”
Don’t... show disappointment and displeasure when failure occurs.
Do... Encourage and compliment all efforts to conquer fear.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act”
Don’t... say, “Don’t be a coward; you have to do this!”
Do say... “I know this is difficult for you, but it’s not dangerous. You have the courage to do this.”
“The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction”
Don’t say... “Quit living in the past; this is not that bad.”
Do say... “Remember to stay in the present and remind yourself, ‘That was then, and this is now.’”
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”
Moving from Fear to Faith
- Be diligent in developing a healthy fear (awe) of God. (Proverbs 1:7)
- Be determined about destroying your “fear-based mentality.” (Psalm 56:4)
- Be assertive in analyzing your fear honestly in order to discover its real source. (Proverbs 29:25)
- Be persuaded of the power of God’s love for you. (Romans 8:38–39)
- Be dedicated to developing your faith in the Lord. (Psalm 1:2)
- Be insistent about involving yourself in the lives of other believers. (Proverbs 27:17)
- Be tenacious in using truth from God’s Word to rein in your fear-producing imagination the second it starts spinning out of control. (Psalm 27:1)
- Be focused on facing the situations you fear through faith in the power of Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
- Be fervent about freeing yourself from your fear and strengthening your faith. (Colossians 2:6–7)
“God is [my] refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore [I] will not fear.”
Key Verse to Learn
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Key Passage to Read
Grace Filled Words
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7
“My peace comes from pleasing God, not in pleasing man.” “We make it our goal to please him.”
2 Corinthians 5:9
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