The well known Baptist pastor George Truett was once asked to speak twice a day for a week-long series of messages at a leading university. Before Truett’s arrival, the president of the college sent out a questionnaire to the students, asking them to choose the topics upon which they would like to hear Truett speak. To the complete surprise of the president, the faculty, and Truett himself, the majority of the students wanted Truett to tell them how they could conquer their fears.
Fear is something that we all must face at one time or another. The diseased person is afraid the illness is incurable. The faithful spouse is afraid the marriage partner is cheating. The employee is afraid of losing his/her job. The President is afraid of an enemy attack. The veteran starting quarterback is afraid of the talented rookie who wants the position. The young boy is afraid of dogs. The young girl is afraid no one will like her. The high schooler is afraid of life after graduation. The college student is afraid of not being able to pay back those student loans. The business owner is afraid the business will fail. The single parent is afraid there won’t be enough money to cover the bills. The elderly person is afraid of dying. Round and round the merry-go-round of fear goes and where it stops nobody knows.
Variations of the words “fear” or “afraid” are stacked hundreds upon hundreds of times in the Bible. You won’t read either the Old Testament or the New Testament long before you bump into one of these references. The Old Testament’s first one involves Adam, in the wake of the sin in Eden, being afraid of God (Genesis 3:8-10). The New Testament’s first one involves an angel telling Joseph not to be afraid to marry the now pregnant Mary (Matthew 1:20).
The sheer number of the Bible’s references to fear tells us all we need to know about the human condition. Despite our attempts at courage, bravery, and confidence, oftentimes our daily lives are still marked by fear and its running mate, worry. No matter how hard we try, there will always be those moments when we all, deep down, become just frightened little children.
Of course, the problem is that our fears aren’t always baseless and unfounded, are they? Sometimes diseases are incurable. Sometimes one spouse does cheat on another. Sometimes employees do lose their jobs. Sometimes enemy nations do attack. Sometimes the rookie quarterback does send the veteran to the bench. Sometimes dogs do bite. Sometimes young girls do make life hard on other young girls. Sometimes life does knock the snot out of the high school graduate. Sometimes the college student can’t land a good enough job to pay back those student loans. Sometimes business do fail. Sometimes there isn’t enough money to cover the bills. And as for the elderly being afraid of dying, well, nothing is more frightening than eternity if you aren’t prepared to face it.
Furthermore, what the Bible teaches is that if you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you should be afraid. I’m not trying to hurt your feelings, but you need to understand that if you are without Christ, God isn’t your heavenly Father and is under no obligation to help you with what is scaring you. Oh, sure, He might help you — because He does love you — but His help isn’t something to which you hold a guarantee.
The Christian, on the other hand, does hold such a guarantee. This explains why there are so many verses in which God commands the believer to not be afraid. Concerning your specific fear or fears, Christian, I guess the best I can do for you is throw the Bible at you. So, I’ll close out this post by simply citing a few passages. Here are seven of them, all from the N.K.J.V. translation. As you read each one carefully and thoughtfully, allow the words to sink deep down into your soul and help you with whatever is scaring you:
- Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
- Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
- Psalm 23:4: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
- Isaiah 41:13: “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.'”
- Matthew 8:26: But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”
- Luke 12:32: “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
- 2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.