What is your fear doing?

no fearWhat does fear look like in your life?

Zombies, ghosts, vampires, and evil witches (as opposed to the good ones) — only get to me when I read stories or watch movies containing them. My solution? Avoidance. No matter how much I tell myself (and truly believe) they aren’t real, I still get nightmares. So while I’m not exactly afraid of them (seriously, I know they’re not real) they somehow get to me on a subconscious level. But these fears really don’t affect the way I live my life much.

But many fears do affect daily living and life choices to varying degrees. For example, those afraid of heights avoid skydiving and climbing ladders, and a fear of spiders causes entertaining reactions from many people. These fears are manageable though, and not usually significantly life-altering.

Then there are the fears that keep us from progressing in life.

Fear of failure makes us not even try. Fear of what others think leads to dangerous conformity. Fear of rejection prevents relationships from blossoming. Fear of the future causes staunch routine and vehement resistance to change. Fear of what might happen motivates many to seek relationship-damaging control. These fears I know well either through observation and/or personal experience. How about you?

To some extent, every fear holds the potential to limit life and keep us from following God’s will, but some fears certainly seem to have more power for doing so than others. So what can we do when fear grips us, and we simply want to hole up somewhere and live a safe, comfortable life?

The Bible says numerous times — someone counted 365 times, one for every day of the year — to not be afraid. God obviously knew fear would be a stumbling block, so he gave an abundance of encouragement for overcoming it.

Overcoming Fear

For me, overcoming fear lies with the examples found in God’s word of how others handled fear. These stories help change how I think about fear.

My favorite example is when Joshua became the leader of the Israelites and then faced the daunting task of leading God’s people into the Promised Land. God encourages Joshua by telling him to “not fear” and “be of good courage” multiple times (Deuteronomy 31 & Joshua 1:5-9).

The same God who encouraged Joshua and promised to never abandon him — and Scripture  shows God followed through on that promise — is the same God who will do the same for me today. That gives me courage to keep moving in spite of my fears.

Benaiah is another example of courage in the face of fear (2 Samuel 23:20-23 & 1 Chronicles 11:22-25). He faced a lion, two great warriors, and a man with a spear when he himself had only a club, and he came out victorious. In fact, his bravery (as well as many other positive characteristics) moved him up the ranks in both David’s and Solomon’s armies. Benaiah must have felt fear (who wouldn’t?), but he still did what was necessary to achieve victory.

We can’t stop fear. We will face it, and it will grip us. And while we may not be able to control the circumstances surrounding our fear or often even our reactions to what we fear, we can choose to pursue freedom from all fear (Matthew 6:25-34 & John 11:25-26).

Remember that focus determines reality, and with the power of God working in and through us, we can face our fears and push through to accomplish the will of God. We can focus on the fear itself or on the one who conquered sin, death and the grave. That choice determines the impact fear has on our lives.

DISCUSSION: Ask yourself what you’re afraid of. How does that fear shape your life? Are you focusing on the fear or on the one who calms all fears?

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8 Replies to “What is your fear doing?”

  1. I remember reading a book by Mark Batterson called "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" on Benaiah. Good book. Good challenge from you today kari. No fear allowed.

  2. What I find most interesting about your teaching (and it certainly is a teaching!) is that Benaiah, someone unknown to most of us, "did it afraid," as Joyce Meyer would say. We tend to focus on the heroes of the bible and how they faced their fears, but to know that a working man battled fear too…I can relate, somehow more to that than the bravery of a hero. I can identify with a regular guy. And if he moved up in the ranks, so can I. Great teaching, Kari.
    My recent post Spiritual Kale

    1. Thanks, Mary. I actually get discouraged with "face your fear" talk sometimes since so often life is about moving forward even when fears aren't conquered. I too identify with the "working guy.' Thanks for the additional insight.

  3. You hit on one of my favorite passages, Joshua 1:9. I love that story. I have often been fearful and still at times have to seek the refuge of God when I come up against something that frightens me. You hit on several of my "fears" when it comes to moving forward with things, failure and approval. Thanks for sharing. God Bless.

  4. I have several different fears that often block me toward my life purpose and areas of passions. I'm learning to just do whatever I might fear no matter how I might feel at the time. I see and think about how I will feel when I'm done with whatever the fear area might be. this helps me to dive right into it. Great post!
    My recent post The Thinking Process to Creating Winning Ideas

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