Golden Nuggets
For Spiritual Growth

How to Deal
With Fear That
Hinders the
Christian Walk

Another in a series of tracts
for the edification of
born-again believers.

To the born-again believer who has been saved by repentance toward God and
faith in Jesus Christ, a great promise is given:

    "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them
    that believe on his name:"
    John 1:12.

With this promise the Christian has the potential to be conformed to the
image of Christ (Romans 8:29), but sometimes his old sin nature gets the
best of him and hinders his spiritual growth.   At times like this it is
good to have some golden nuggets from God's Word and someone willing to
point them out - as illustrated in the following dialogue.

How can I help you?
Well, I have this problem with fear.
How so?
I just worry too much.   I tend to be fearful and I know that as a Christian I'm not supposed to be so fearful.
It keeps me from doing more for God.

Well, it's good that you recognize that too much fear is out of place in a Christian's life.   In fact, the Bible
says:

    "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of
    love, and of a sound mind."
      II Timothy 1:7

Fear is a God given emotion that keeps us out of danger, but we are not supposed to have so much that it
immobilizes us and keeps us from serving God like we should.
I know what you mean.   That's why I need some Biblical advice on how to overcome it and live a victorious
Christian life.

Well, I'll try the best I can to show you what God says.   Let me start with a question and I would like an
honest answer.   On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate yourself in the area of showing love toward
others?
I would have to say maybe a 3 or 4.
I appreciate your honesty.   As a 3 would you say you tend to be self- centered?

The man was somewhat embarrassed at the question, but nevertheless wanted
to get the victory over his excessive fear whatever the cost.

Yes, I've always felt that I'm too selfish as a Christian.   But what does this have to do with fear?
A lot!   Let me ask you, what kinds of fear do you have?   Just rattle them off for me.
Ok, among other things I'm afraid of witnessing to others; I'm afraid of how things are going to turn out;
I'm afraid of getting emotionally hurt if I reach out to others.

Is it safe to say that you have a fear of what might happen to you?
I guess so.   Does that mean anything?
Yes, it means you are practicing self-preservation.   It is a normal reaction to the world around us.   The
problem is when we become so preoccupied with it that it generates unwarranted fears that hinder our
Christian walk.
How does someone become so preoccupied with self-preservation?

From being self-centered.   When we put too much emphasis on self we become preoccupied with our well
being.   We become very concerned with anything bad that might happen to us.   The act of worrying about
these "unseen" dangers results in fear.   Let me draw it out for you.

    Self-centeredness
        (causes)
        Self-preservation
            (which generates)
            Fear

I guess all this preoccupation with self is not Christian-like, is it?
Right, but it gets even worse because fear prevents us from showing love toward God and others.
What?   Why is that so?
Because fear and love are opposites.   Look at what God says:

    "There is no fear in love..." I John 4:18a

Remember the Bible defines love as an action, a giving of oneself, an act of self-sacrifice - regardless of
emotions or feelings.   Love asks, "What can I do for others?" but fear asks, "What will they do to me?"
You mean you can't put yourself out for others when you are busy practicing self-preservation?

Exactly!!   Love reaches out to others.   But   Fear draws in toward self.
                  Love thinks no evil.   But   Fear thinks of little else.
                  Love toward others makes us vulnerable.   But   Fear is always seeking its own safety.

So let's see what we have so far.

    Self-centeredness
        (causes)
        Self-preservation
            (which generates)
            Fear
                (which results in)
                No love toward others

It's like a domino effect.
Actually, it is more like a vicious cycle.
What do you mean?
When a person doesn't express love toward others, they remain self-centered and a vicious cycle is formed.

    Self-centeredness   ->   causes   ->   Self- preservation
                                                         
         produces         Vicious           which generates
                              Cycle                  
        No love    <-    which results in    <-    Fear

You mean to say, I'm trapped by my own selfishness and fear?
Yes, selfishness feeds more selfishness.   It's a by-product of the flesh (Galatians 5:19).
So, how do I break this vicious cycle?
The Bible has the answer:

    "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because
    fear hath torment.   He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
      I
    John 4:18

You must put on perfect love as follows:
#1 - The biggest threat to our self-preservation is death, but when we accepted Christ as Saviour
He died in our place.

    "And deliver them who through fear of death were all their
    lifetime subject to bondage."
      Hebrews 2:15

Before salvation we were in bondage of fear, with death looming over our heads throughout our
lifetime, but after salvation:

    "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have the boldness
    in the day of judgment
    : because as he is, so are we in this
    world."
      I John 4:17

Fear of judgment has been done away with.   The Son's perfect love casteth out the fear of
death.

#2 - The next biggest threat to our self-preservation is fear of the unknown, but our Heavenly
Father is in control.

    "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
    nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things
    to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall
    be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in
    Christ Jesus our Lord."
      Romans 8:38-39

See also Romans 8:28; Matthew 10:26-31; Hebrews 13:5-6; Psalm 23:1-6; Psalm 27:1-3; Job
13:15; Luke 12:22-30.   The Father's perfect love casteth out fear of the unknown.
#3 - The remaining threats to our self-preservation come from interacting with others, but with
the Holy Spirit's leading we can begin a love ministry toward God and others and break the
vicious cycle of self-centeredness.   I want to show how putting on a loving attitude and practicing
it daily will result in overcoming the different fears we may be encountering.   Let's refer to I
Corinthians 13, the famous chapter about love, and see how love deals with the fears associated
with envy, pride and boastfulness.
Love Casteth Out Fear From Envy - Sometimes we have a fear of being left without our share
of something.   That's because selfishness doesn't want to settle for less than what another may
have, but charity (love) envieth not (I Corinthians 13:4).   Start loving others and contentment will
follow.   The fear is cast out.
Love Casteth Out Fear From Pride - Sometimes we have a fear of being seen as a loser.   That's
because selfishness feeds on feeling proud, but charity (love) is not puffed up (I Corinthians 13:4).
Start loving others and humbleness will follow.   The fear is cast out.
Love Casteth Out Fear From Boastfulness - Sometimes we have a fear of being ignored.   That's
because selfishness seeks the center of attention and recognition, but charity vaunteth not itself (I
Corinthians 13:4).   Start loving others and meekness will follow.   The fear is cast out.

As we have seen a lot of our fears come from just plain self-centeredness, but charity (love)
seeketh not her own (I Corinthians 13:5).   Start loving others and you become less selfish, which
results in less fear, which results in a greater willingness to love and the vicious cycle is
eventually broken.   Exhibiting the Holy Spirit's perfect love casteth out fear.   For example, a
mother who ordinarily is immobilized by the fear of a mouse will throw herself into the path of
a wild animal to save her child.   Between love and fear, love is the greater, always!

Reader, if you have a problem with excessive
fear (the kind that hinders your Christian walk),
please remember perfect love casteth out fear.
Trust God and His loving promises and start
practicing love toward God and others.   Just do
it - regardless of feelings - and break the vicious
cycle of selfishness and fear.

 

For more information please contact:

FARGO BAPTIST
CHURCH

3303 23rd Avenue SouthWest
Fargo, North Dakota 58103
(701) 232-5500

Pastor T. C. Scheving

[Christian Helps Ministry (Valley City, ND)] [Christian Home Bible Course]