Greetings brothers and sisters!
The Bible consistently calls us to not be afraid. Living in fear, with the anxiety and loss of courage it creates, sucks the joy out of life. It can also cause us to make poor decisions. In Genesis chapter 26, Isaac acts foolishly because he was afraid. A little later, the LORD responds by telling Isaac, “Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you” (Gn. 26:24). In fact, God regularly tells his people not to fear – check out Genesis 15:1; 21:17; Isaiah 35:4; 41:10; Jeremiah 46:27; Daniel 10:12; Joel 2:21; Haggai 2:5; and Zechariah 8:13. This is an important teaching from the Bible and God’s people regularly encourage each other not to live in fear: Genesis 50:19; Exodus 20:20; Joshua 10:25; 1 Chronicles 22:13.
Jesus tells us, his disciples, not to be afraid (Matthew 10:31). But how are we supposed to get over fear? It’s clearly a problem that has not gone away (Fear is an early and regular topic throughout the Bible and it’s still present in the lives of Christians today). It seems that to “fear not” is easier said than done. If you’ve suffered from fear or anxiety, you can attest to this. So how should we respond to fear in our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ?
Jesus gives us a great example of how to respond to fear and anxiety in Gethsemane. Jesus is just about to be crucified and he knows this will bring tremendous pain and suffering. This hits him hard. Matthew 26:37 says that Jesus “began to be sorrowful and troubled.” That Greek word for troubled is the Greek word adēmonéō, which Strong’s defines as, “To faint, be depressed and almost overwhelmed with sorrow or burden of mind.” How does the Son of Man respond to this? Jesus responds by praying to the Father. At least three times that night Jesus prays in solitude with great intensity. And he encouraged his disciples to do the same because, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” We need God’s help to overcome serious fear and anxiety.
Jesus goes into Gethsemane with his soul “very sorrowful, even to death” and, after a night of intense prayer, comes out by telling his disciples, “Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” Do you see the transformation that takes place because of prayer? After a night of intense prayer, he has the strength and courage to fear not. Is there an area in your life where you’d like to be less controlled by fear or anxiety? Have you practiced spiritual disciplines like solitude, meditation, prayer, study, and fasting to ask God to heal this part of your life? If not, try praying intently and ask the Father for healing. If you have prayed intently and still suffer from fear and anxiety, you may need some human help to overcome this – I’d love to hear from you so that we can work on this together. Sometimes God works through humans to help us overcome serious fear and anxiety.
Grace, mercy and peace,