Fighting Your Fears
(modified from the book "Slaying the
Giants in your Life" by David Jeremiah © 2001 by David Jeremiah)
All of us face fear in different times in our lives. Fear
is the feeling or condition of being afraid. It is a distressing emotion
caused by potential danger, evil, pain, etc. God has given us the emotion
of fear to help us so that we could be wise enough to protect ourselves
from the unexpected. Fear provides us with a sudden burst of strength and
speed just when we need it. It's a basic survival instinct, a good thing
as long as it remains rational. But our thoughts can become
irrational and we end up being trapped by unjustified fears that can
handicap us so we can not live a full and complete life that God has
intended for us. What are some of the things that make you afraid? To just
name a few examples, it could be fear of failure, the dark, heights,
changes, loss of loved ones, poverty, of being criticized, sickness and
As believers in a good, powerful and loving God who is
concerned for His children how is it that we sometimes still have times of
fear? Why is it we can not have faith in God so that we are not afraid.
The disciples of Jesus as they walked with God in human flesh still were
fearful of storms, of crowds, of poverty, of armies, of the loss of their
leader. They let fear get the better of them (see
In this lesson, I would like to look at the topic of fear and the
relationship between fear and faith in the life of Christians. This is the
irrational or compulsive fears that ignores logic and God's promises that
As you go through this lesson, read the verses in
Bible to help you find the answers. Try reading the verses first in a
Bible in your own
language (Chinese) and then in
an English version and
writing down any questions you would like to ask later and
answers to these questions that follow.
Note: The Bible verse
references below are linked to an English version of the Bible. If you
would like to follow the
Bible verse link, it would be good to "right click" on the Bible
verse link and choose to open in new window resized the window so that
you can quickly go back and forth from this page to the verses.
Study of God's Word
Food for thought
Has past failures in your life or in the lives of others ever made you
afraid to try to do something? Have these made you afraid to try again?
- Example of the
effects of fear
Read Deuteronomy 1:19-33 and then consider the following questions.
About the year 2,000 BC God gave a man named Abraham a promise that he
would become the father of a great nation and promised him that this
nation would be the land the at the time of Abraham was called Canaan (Genesis
Today it is the country of Israel.
Approximately 600 years have passed and Abraham's descendants (now called
Israelites) had just been freed from slaver in the country of Egypt and
God had promised them that now He would lead them to the promised land that would finally become their own. God promised that He would
help them conquer the land of Canaan. They are approaching Canaan
from the south east and have stopped on the east side of the Jordon river
across from Canaan. Now Moses is preparing the people for there advance
into the promised land. This is not the first time that the Israelites
were preparing to attack and conquer the land.
Forty years earlier their fathers were asked to go in and conquer the
land but they fail because of fear and lack of faith in God (Numbers
13:17-14:45). Now Moses
their leader is reminding the next generation of what happed to their
fathers 40 years earlier. What we are reading in these verses is a
reminder of how the fear of their fathers 40 years earlier
had resulted in suffering and hardship failure because of that generations
fear. He is challenging them not to let fear do the same thing in their lives as it did to their fathers.
Horeb (v. 19) - is another name for Mount Sinai in the desert
were God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.
Amorites (vv. 19) - are one of the treble nations that ruled a
part of the promised land that God had promised Israel.
Aakites (v. 28) - are a race of people who where
known to be very tall (see also
1 Samuel 17:4-7).
the people are reminded that before God had giving a clear command and a
promise. What was God's plan for them? Why did Israel disobey the first
time and not follow God's plan for their lives (Deut.
Answer: God had promise the people that He would
give them a gift, the land that would become Israel as their home. Now
was the time for them to go and get the gift God had promise ever since
the time of Abraham (see background information above). That was God's
plan for their lives. God has a plan for all of His children who have
put their faith in the Lord Jesus. There is no need for us to fear the
future for God keeps His promises if we will trust Him and move ahead as
He directs us.
What promises have God giving a Christian, a child of God, to help
them with their fears (2 Timothy 1:7; Romans 8:15)? Are you using these
promises or has fear caused you to ignore His promises and plans for
God has given believers His Spirit so that our fear can be replaced with
power, love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). He has given you a Spirit
of sonship so that we can call out to God as our father in prayer to
help us with our fears. He has adopted those who believe in Him as His
own children and we have all the rights of the children of the
King. We don't have to face life alone.
What is the first principle about fear and faith that we can learn
from these verses?
Principle #1: Our fears can cause us to disregard
God's wonderful plan for our lives.
verse 1:26 we have another result of fear. What is this result?
What does the Bible call this (James 4:17)? What is another principle we
can learn from these verses?
result of fear is that we do not do the good that God wants us to do.
Because of fear we disobey God. The Bible calls this sin.
Principle #2: Fear results in disobeying God
In verses 27-28, what was the result of their fear? How
did it effect their attitudes? (see also the original response in
What is another principle we can learn from these verses?
Answer: We see hear a common example of the
results of fear. We start to complain, distrust, blame others and become
depressed. We become irrational in our thinking. When you talk to a
fearful friend or family member, you find yourself wanting to say, "But
that is silly!" For it's easy for us to see the irrationality and absence
of perspective of other people who are controlled by fear. The spies
brought back a distorted picture. They said "We seemed like grasshoppers
in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them." (Numbers 13:33).
Principle #3: Fear distorts
God's purpose for our lives
we see something else that fear can do. What is
this? What is another principle we can learn from these verses?
Answer: It can cause others to be discourage as well.
Fear can spread. Ten of the twelve spies came back with a "bad report"
about the task ahead of them and those ten infected an entire
nation not just for a week but for a generation (Numbers 14:20-23). If
you don't think fear is contagious, just try standing in a building and
call "Fire!" If you do you will change the moods and plans of a number
of people in an instant. You'll also endanger everyone around you.
Principle #4: Fear discourages other people
- What do we learn from
verses 29-33 about fear? What is another
principle we can learn from these verses?
people of Israel had seen the power of God to liberate them from slavery
in Egypt and protected them as He lead them through the desert. Whey
then why should the disbelieve God's promise now. God had been testing
them but now because of fear they did not pass the test of faith in God.
We have our past experiences of God's help but each new situation test
us again to trust Him and not be afraid. By remembering God's past
faithfulness should give us perspective, but we don't remember the past
but our thoughts are frozen in fear because of our present situation.
Principle #5: Fear disbelieves God's Promises
- How to Deal
with the giant of fear in our life
Confront Your Fears Honestly
lesson do we learn from
4:10-16? How would you summarize the first step we need to take to
deal with our fear?
Answer: We should not hide our fears but
go to God in prayer as David did in Psalm 139:23-34. Ask Him to reveal
what the real problem is that causes you to be fearful or anxious ask
Him for His guidance (Philippians 4:6-7). With this information
honestly confront your fears and move ahead (Esther 4:10-16).
There was a Canadian family who were convinced a world war
was about to break out and they were terrified. They decided to ran
away, hoping to find some corner of the earth where they would be free
and clear from the fighting. In the spring of 1992, moved to a
quiet little spot known as the Falkland Islands, an obscure piece of
British real estate of the coast of Argentina South America. the
family relaxed and enjoyed five days of peace and tranquility before
the Argentineans invaded their backyard and began the famous Falkland
War. What does this illustrate? There is nowhere to to run and
hide from our fears. Better to take a stand and face the truth of the
fear. What is it that really concerns you and why? (from
the book "Slaying the Giants in your Life" by David Jeremiah © 2001 by
David Jeremiah pg. 12)
Confess Your Fear as Sin
- What can we learn from
Psalm 32:3-5? Summarize what the
second step we need to take to deal with our fears?
Fear is an emotion and sometime we can not completely control our
fear. But often fear is the result of disobeying God or not trusting
Him. God tells us not to fear so confess to God this sin of
disobedience to Him. It is a choice we make. If we do not confess our
sin our fears then our emotions will torment us. It will effect us not
only emotional but physically as well. It will prevent us from being
able to fulfill what God intends us to do. It disappoint others and
effects our relationships with other. By confessing our fears to God
as sin we in effect are repenting. That means we are making a
conscious act of our will to turn away from our fears not allowing
them to control us and to move ahead with God's help to do what our
fears have hinder us in the past. We will know the forgiveness
of God and our guilt will no longer hinder us from using God's
resources to help us with our fear.
Claim God's Promises of Protection
- What does
suggest to us as the third step we should
take to deal with our fears?
Try some of these promises in God's word. Do these help you
understand the resources you have in God's promise?
Answer: The Bible is full of promises which you can use as
resources to encourage you when you are afraid. Try writing some of
the verses in this lesson or any others you may find as you read
the Bible down on small cards. Carry them around with you so that you
have them available when you need them and to help you memorize these
verses. You may want to highlight these verses in your Bible so you
can find them easier later.
In our example above about how the message of 10 of the spies cause
Israel to become fearful when asked to go in and claim the
promised land. But there were twelve spies that were sent out. Two other spies who came back with an encouraging message
saying that with God we can defeat them. They were Caleb and
Joshua (Numbers 13:30; 32:7-12).
What was it that made them different than the others? As we study them
we will see another step in conquering fear.
Develop a Closer Relationship with God
- What can we learn from the example of Caleb and Joshua about the
source of their courage and lack of fear (note
Numbers 32:12)? See
Joshua 14:6-15. Here is another passage that can be helpful. What
additional information can we learn from
1 John 4:18-19? How would you summarize the fourth
step in conquering fear?
Answer: Joshua and Caleb, unlike the
other spies had a different report than the others. All of the twelve
spies saw the same things but these two used a different criteria or
measure stick to evaluate the situation. The other 10 measured the
giants or the situation by their own standards or size and they felt
like grasshoppers compared to the enemy. Is this not often the way we
can view things. We so the problem or danger as bigger than it really
is because we are basing our assessment on our own insecurities
making the problem worse. Joshua and Caleb used a different
measure stick. They were not comparing the problem with their own
abilities but God's ability. They were seeing the enemy as grasshopper
when they compared them with the almighty God who would be with them
to give them the victory. Our worries and fears became insignificant
when we compare them with our God whom be serve.
The question then becomes, how did Caleb and Joshua come to have
such a view of God and the faith that God was active in their lives?
The answer is in Numbers 32:12. "They followed the LORD
wholeheartedly". They follow God with all there heart. This would mean
that they had developed a close personal relationship with God. This
would mean that they were continually talking to God in prayer
(Philippians 4:6-7) and listening to God by studying His word to us
the Bible (Joshua 1:7-8; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). The closer
their relationship developed with God the more they would come to
understand that the opposite of fear is love. Study careful 1 John
4:18-19. After you spend time with your Creator you are simply
incapable of shrinking in fear. You have seen His power. You have seen
His love and faithfulness to you. You will come to realize that
because He first loved you then you can love and trust Him. As you
read the Bible you will realize that His Spirit and power is living in
you (2 Timothy 1:7) and that He will never leave you (Deuteronomy
31:6) if you have believed in the promises of God through faith in
Jesus Christ as your redeemer. You will know more fully what it means
to have God as your father (Romans 8:15). We will not have time
to nurture some deep fear and build it up to become a giant, because
the Spirit will see that our hands are active in ministry and loving
service to God and to others. The more we reach out to love and
serve others the smaller our fears become. "There is no fear in love.
but perfect love drives out fear ..." 1 John 4:18 (NIV).
The next point is the most important and all the above is meaningless
unless you know for certain that you are able to draw near to God and
claim your rights as a child of God. It also is important to be able to
deal with the most common fear we all face. There is one fear that is common to all people and that is the fear
of death. The apostle Paul when he was in prison in Roman for preaching
the gospel was facing a trial that could lead to his death. What was he
feeling at this time? Was he afraid, anxious, discourage? We know
because at this time he wrote a letter to his friends in the city of
Philippi in Greece. This is what he wrote. "For to me, to live is
Christ and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21 NIV)
Commit Your Life to Jesus Christ
- What then is the source of overcoming our fear of death
Answer: Christ Jesus' death on the cross
for us has destroy the power of death for those who believe in Him. We
thus are freed from the fear of death. You are freed from the power of
the spiritual being the devil who tries to convince you not to believe
in God's promises. Just as Christ conquered death when He rose from
the grave we to have His promise that we will not die but will rise
again to eternal life with Him. This was the secret of Paul's
statement that "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain".
Have you accepted Jesus Christ death for your sins? If so you have all
the promises of God listed above to call when you are afraid, even
afraid of dieing. If you would like to know more about how you
can have this assurance of eternal life with God see
"How you can
personally" for a summary or
to Life for a more complete Bible study series on this topic.