From Dr. Charles Stanley, InTouch Ministires comes a message about overcoming fear.
In a world of anxious circumstances, it’s no wonder that many of us find ourselves dealing with fear. In this message, Dr. Stanley explains what causes us to be afraid, the consequences of living in fear, and how many of the negative emotions we experience in life are rooted in fear and that we can be free of this stressful emotion.
Healing Damaged Emotions (Part 3) — Victory Over Fear
By Dr. Charles Stanley
Key Scripture: Isaiah 41:10-13
I. Introduction: All you have to do is watch the news to see terrifying events happening around the world. However, in spite of all this, God’s people are called to live fearlessly. How can we remain calm and confident in the midst of it all? We must remember that the Lord has promised to strengthen, help, and uphold us, and He always keeps His Word.
II. What is fear?
A. Fear is an uneasy feeling of dread—like an alarm, warning that something bad is going to happen. It could be caused by a threat or feeling a loss of control in a certain situation.
B. When the Bible speaks about the fear of the Lord, it is a good fear—one created by a healthy reverence for a holy, righteous God.
C. Remember that fear itself is not bad. But when it’s continually with us, it becomes a problem.
III. Many emotions are linked with fear. Many of the negative emotions we experience in life are rooted in fear. For example:
A. Greed is fear of not having enough.
B. Rejection is concern about not being accepted.
C. Guilt is apprehension that our wrongs might be discovered.
D. Discouragement is a fear of failure caused by a lack of confidence.
E. Anger is caused by a fear that we may not get our way.
F. Jealousy is the fear of losing control of what we desire.
G. Indecision is caused when we worry about making a wrong choice.
IV. Why are we afraid? “God has not given us a spirit of timidity,” so He is never the source of our fears (2 Tim. 1:7). Where do they come from?
A. Childhood lessons: In their attempts to protect and train us, our parents may have ingrained fears in us.
B. Imagination: Sometimes, the nervous system cannot distinguish between a real or imagined danger.
C. Sin: Fear is a consequence of disobeying the Lord. It is good because it reminds us we’ll give an account of our lives to Him one day.
D. Ignorance: Some of our fears are based on misinformation instead of truth.
E. Doubt: The Lord is our source of security. When we doubt His love, fear replaces trust and peace.
F. Poor Self-Image: All people need to feel accepted and valued by others. Without this, the fear of rejection takes its place.
G. Unattainable Standards: Sometimes we aim too high and become anxious when it we miss our goals.
H. Wrong View of God: If we primarily view the Lord as our Judge, we’ll be afraid and misunderstand the vastness of His love.
V. What are the consequences of fear? Passing moments of fear are natural. But when you allow it to rule you, there are consequences. For example, fear:
A. Divides your mind. You can’t concentrate if apprehensions are constantly distracting you.
B. Stifles your ability to think and act rightly. Anxieties cloud your mind and keep you from behaving as you should.
C. Causes indecision. Fear can paralyze you when you need to make choices.
D. Undermines self-confidence. God has given every person skills and talents, but fear causes you to doubt you can accomplish His work.
E. Results in panic. If you lose the ability to manage your fears, they control you.
F. Enslaves you in uncertainty. Whenever long-term situations like health or financial worries have uncertain outcomes, you can be consumed with worry about the future.
G. Destroys relationships. Those who have experienced difficulties in past relationships may find the fear of repeating those mistakes keeps them from forming new ones.
H. Steals joy and peace. Think of your life as a machine and joy and peace as the oil that keeps it running. Fear is like sand that grinds away at the gears and erodes your happiness.
I. Blocks spiritual growth. You’ll never be able to become the person God wants you to be if you’re afraid to step out in obedience.
J. Affects health. Prolonged fearful anxiety is linked to many physical disorders.
VI. How should you deal with fear?
A. Acknowledge it. Before you can begin to deal with your fear, you must admit it’s a problem in your life.
B. Identify its source. Ask yourself if you’re afraid of a situation with an uncertain outcome or of the consequences of past choices. Once you know the true source, you can address it.
C. Change your focus. When your attention is fixed on your fears, they only get worse. The only way to reverse this negative process is to shift your focus to the most powerful weapon you have—the Word of God.
D. Rely on Isaiah 41:10. What you are facing is a faith battle. This verse can be your anchor in fearful times if you’ll believe it and count it as true in your situation.
E. Lay down your fear. Based on the certainty that the Lord is faithful, loving, and omnipotent, you have no reason to hold on to your anxieties.
VII. Conclusion: What are you going to do with your fears? You can either keep them and suffer the negative consequences, or you can trust the Lord and place them in His loving hands. Although God doesn’t say in Isaiah 41:10 that He will remove you from fearful circumstances, He promises to strengthen and sustain you through them.