Defeating Fear

Fear is a common and important emotion. It is part of the fight or flight instinct. It protects us when we find ourselves in a place of danger. It prevents us from going further where we should not. It tells us when we should be quiet or loud.

Fear can be the reaction to the potential of change. As an overreactive emotion, it interferes with our personal progress. It can bring confusion when it comes to making decisions. it is an excuse for some people not to move off a dead spot but remain status quo.

Most importantly, fear can interfere in our service to God. In the Old Testament, a man named Gideon hesitated in the instructions God gave him to defeat their enemy. He laid out conditions for God claiming that would be a method to know that it was really God talking to him. When the disciples looked out of their boat and saw Jesus walking on the water, they were fearful and concluded that he was a ghost. In both of these examples, and many more that we can draw from the Scriptures, fear causes them to be stymied in their service to God.

Many of us can become fearful in day-to-day events. This would cause us to question our own spiritual condition. It might be that a person is afraid of the second coming of Christ. It might be that reading certain passages of Scripture could cause fear. But what do we do about fear? How do we defeat it?

The Bible is very specific for how we can defeat fear. When we are grounded in the hope that God gives us, we will not be afraid. It is impossible to have hope and fear at the same time. In the description of faith, the writer of Hebrews says in chapter 11 verse one, “now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hope is not a spiritualized version of a wish. It is an activity in our mind and spirit grounded in Christ. When we are facing an obstacle, hope is our motivating factor as it says in Psalm thirty-one verse twenty-four, “be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.”

Hope is something grounded in our relationship with God as our reliance on him and trust in him. It is not like a student who has hope for a good grade on a test. That is a wish for a positive outcome. It is more importantly like the sincere believer who hopes because he knows. From personal experience he knows that God is dependable. He knows that when an enemy confronts us, the enemy is also confronting our Heavenly Father. This special kind of hope is something that is ongoing and causes us to worship God because of who he is to us as it says in Psalm seventy-one verse fourteen, “but I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.”

If we are distracted in this world’s experience, we can either succumb to the negativity it offers us, or we can defeat it by our relationship with God knowing that our hope disallows fear. Being fearful is the opportunity to love and grow closer to God. It is a waste of energy to fight fear. It is better done that we concentrate on a growing relationship with God that has hope and defeats fear by its presence in our heart and mind. David challenged Goliath by acknowledging his fearful presence and powerful weapons. But he saw Goliath defeated already because his trust was grounded in God that generates hope.

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