Cast out your fears

1 John 4:18 NKJV

You would be surprised how many people, even successful ones, struggle each day with unexpressed fears. Maybe you’re one of them. The Bible says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV). Now if our fears don’t come from God, where do they come from?

Different sources: (1) The way you were programmed growing up in your family. (2) Overdosing each day on the news, 99 percent of which is negative. (3) Satan. The point is, your fears don’t come from God.

Recognizing the true source of your fears is the first step to overcoming them. And God has given you a powerful weapon with which to defeat them: “Perfect love casts out fear.” You say, “Yes, perhaps if I loved God more perfectly, I wouldn’t be so afraid.” No, you’ve got the cart before the horse. Try as you might, you could never love God perfectly. There’s only one “perfect love,” and that’s His love for you. And it’s unconditional, bought and paid for by Jesus Christ when He died for you on the cross.

Having a revelation of the unmerited, undeserved, unearned love, grace, and Favour of God toward you will enable you to rise up and begin to “cast out” fear, anxiety, doubt, guilt, condemnation, and worry. God’s love for you is not based on your performance, but on Christ’s. When you trust in Christ’s performance instead of your own, you are “accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). And when you have the assurance of that, you know you also have the power to “cast out” your fears.

Soul food: Exo 17:1-7; John 4:1-42

Casting out fear

1 John 4:18 NKJV

So many people struggle every day with unexpressed fears. Even people who we think have everything they need, and who seem to have it all together, have fears that we don’t know about. The Bible says, ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind’ (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV). Our fears don’t come from God. So where do they come from?

There are lots of different sources of fear, such as: 1) Things we picked up from our families as we were growing up. 2) Things that are happening in the world. 3) Negative experiences that we’ve been through. 4) Satan. Recognising the true source of our fears is the first step to overcoming them. And God has given us a powerful weapon to defeat them with: ‘Perfect love casts out fear.’

We might think, ‘Maybe if I loved God more perfectly, I wouldn’t be so afraid.’ But if we think that, we’ve missed the point. We’re imperfect people, so we could never love God perfectly, no matter how hard we tried. There’s only one ‘perfect love’, which is God’s love for us. It’s unconditional, bought and paid for by Jesus Christ when He died for each one of us on the cross.

When we realise the undeserved, unearned love, grace, and favour of God towards us, we’re enabled to rise up and begin to ‘cast out’ fear, anxiety, doubt, guilt, condemnation, and worry. God’s love for us isn’t based on our performance, but on Christ’s. When we trust in Christ’s performance instead of our own, we can rest assured that we also have the power to lean on God and let His love ‘cast out’ our fears.

Exo 17:1-7; John 4:1-42

The battle over the resurrection

1 Corinthians 15:17 NKJV

Fox News reported that a professor in Florida told his students to write the name Jesus on a sheet of paper, put the paper on the floor, and stomp on it. All of the students did – except one! Out of love and loyalty to Jesus, he said he wouldn’t do it. Even when threatened with dismissal, he refused to submit.

This leads us to ask the question, “Why would a teacher, even an atheist, do such a thing?” Answer: Because sometimes we fight what we fear. It’s called “living in denial.”

Think about it: Hatred and resentment normally end at the grave because the person is dead and no longer has any power over you. So why then do some people still hate Jesus? Fear! Deep down they fear He’s alive and that His influence in the world is growing. And His influence will continue to grow! “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9 NKJV).

The historical truth of Christ’s resurrection is beyond dispute to any honest, open mind. But the greatest proof of His resurrection can be seen in changed lives. Paul writes: “You have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by the same Spirit living within you” (Romans 8:10-11 NLT). Songwriter Alfred Ackley put it this way: “You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.”

Soul food: Num 21:4-9; Matt 27:51-66; Ps 69:7-21; Deut 21:22-23

Dealing with fear (7)

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

During the American Revolution, Spain gained control of the Bahamas. In April of 1783, Andrew Deveaux, a lieutenant colonel from South Carolina, recruited a handful of militiamen and Harbour Island settlers to retake Nassau using a clever strategy. Deveaux had only two hundred men with him, a far smaller force than that of the Spanish, but he managed to capture the high ground on the island after a brief skirmish. The Spaniards then watched as boats repeatedly ferried load after load of men from Deveaux’s ships to his defensive position on the shore. What the Spaniards didn’t know was that the same men kept going back and forth, standing up on their trip over to the island, and hiding themselves by lying low in the boat on the trip back to the ships. The leader of the Spanish troops, fearing a defeat from a larger force in an invulnerable position, surrendered.

When you succumb to fear, you’re already beaten. People ruled by fear stay where it’s safe. And that’s sad, because you can’t reach your potential by staying where it’s safe. Shakespeare said, “Our doubts are traitors, and they make us lose what we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

What would you attempt in life if you were sure you couldn’t fail? Before you answer, read these words of David: “When I cry out to You…my enemies will turn back…I know, because God is for me” (Psalm 56:9 NKJV). Believe that God is on your side today, then step out and attempt the thing you’re afraid to do! You’ll never be the same again – you’ll be liberated!

Soul food: 2 Kings 4:42-44;
Mark 6:30-44

Dealing with fear (6)

Joshua 3:13 NLT

Achieving personal goals. The Israelites had a God-given goal: to enter the Promised Land. But to get there, they had to cross the River Jordan at flood stage. The only way to achieve what they’d set out to do was to go through something that caused them to feel fear.

When God gives us a goal, we often have to go out of our depth at some point to achieve it. It’s in those experiences where real growth happens. But when we let fear take hold, we end up in a debilitating cycle: First, our fear stops us taking action. Lack of action stops us gaining experience. Lack of experience stops us increasing our understanding. And lack of understanding increases our fear.

Taking action means we’ll have to move into the unknown and do the untried – and that can be scary. But if we give in to our fears, we can’t move forward, and we won’t gain valuable experience that can help us in future. Avoiding something because it’s scary or uncomfortable means we can’t experience God walking through it with us or witness His power at work in bringing us through it.

The Israelites witnessed God’s miraculous power as they were crossing the River Jordan: ‘As soon as the feet of the priests…touched the water at the river’s edge, the water above that point began backing up…and the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over’ (Joshua 3:15-16 NLT).

When God gives us a goal, He’ll equip us to see it through. What miracles could we see if we were prepared to step in faith into the unknown with Him?

Job 24-28; Matt 24:26-35; Ps 13; Prov 8:14-16