3 Foundational Truths to Fight Our Fears
Wherever you find fearful people in Scripture you repeatedly find God’s response, “Do not fear!” or “Don’t be afraid!”
Fear is among the most common problems we face. We live in a fallen world filled with uncertainties. The types of fear we face seem endless: fear of failure, the future, rejection, being alone, conflict, intimacy, death, job loss, sickness, and a host of other realities. When you add imagined possibilities, the list truly has no limit.
Moreover, the consequences can be ruinous. Fear robs us of the joy, peace, and confidence we should have in Christ. It fixates our thoughts on us instead of God. It drains our physical and emotional energy. It keeps us from sharing Jesus with others and serving one another. Fear cripples the Christian.
The Bible, however, brings good news: God’s Word has much to say about fear. Wherever you find fearful people in Scripture you repeatedly find God’s response, “Do not fear!” or “Don’t be afraid!” In fact, it’s the Bible’s most frequent command.
But easier said than done, right? That’s why God doesn’t leave the matter as a mere command. He supplies solid reasons not to fear and He calls us by faith to apply them.
God’s Answers in Isaiah 41:8-10
There are many places we can go in Scripture to find answers to the problem of fear. One of my favorites is Isaiah 41:8-10, a concise passage packed with potent help for our fears:
8 “But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend,
9 I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So 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.”
How can we as followers of Christ fight against our fears?
First, we can fight fear by remembering that we are God’s sons and daughters and by living out that identity each day. God engages His people in verses 8-9 by reminding us of who—better, whose—we are and what He has done to rescue and redeem us. In fact, in Christ these realities have been brought near to us in more explicit ways (see Eph. 1-2). In Christ, like Israel we have become God’s servants, like Jacob we have been chosen by His grace, and like Abraham we are God’s friends (v. 8; cf. Gal. 3:26-29). Moreover, we who belong to Jesus have been taken, called, chosen, and not rejected (v. 9).
Second, we can fight fear by recognizing that our Savior is with us. God tells us in verse 10 what He regularly reminds His fearful people throughout the Scriptures: “I am with you.” Recall the promise of Psalm 23, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Or listen to the psalmist in Psalm 118:6-7, “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper.”
One reason we fear various situations, people, or events is because we wrongly assume we must face them alone, in our own strength. But the believer in Jesus is never alone, even if every friend or family member abandons us. Even when we fear the future, we need not settle for pop clichés like, “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.” Instead, we can boldly declare, “the Lord and I will cross that bridge.” The cross and resurrection of Jesus assure us that we will never, ever face threatening things alone.
Third, we can fight fear by relying on God’s strength and protection. Verse 10 goes further. Our God is not only with us but is also powerfully for us. God calls us not to fear because “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (the hand of power in Scripture).
It’s not enough that He has saved us, made us His own, and is present with us—the above truths—if He’s not strong enough to help us. If a heavy tree limb falls on your leg, your five-year-old child who loves you and is with you can’t help you. He can’t lift the branch to unpin you. We need the true God—who not only loves us and is with us but also can protect and empower us.
The Bible, of course, never guarantees that fearful things won’t happen to us. God doesn’t promise a “safe,” tragedy-free life. Friends do forsake us. Illnesses do strike. Family members do die. Bosses do fire workers.
But God through Isaiah does guarantee that amid our understandable fears, He loves us, is for us, is with us, and will help and uphold us. Nothing will ever happen to us outside of His sovereign, wise, and perfect will. God will walk with us through any and every crisis and He will help us to handle them in God-pleasing ways.
Questions for Reflection
Which of these three essential truths do you find most difficult to grasp and live out amid your fears? Which truth do your friends most struggle to absorb?
Editors’ Note: This article originally appeared at Biblical Counseling Coalition.