“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16.9 (NLT)
Let’s say you are driving and you suddenly encounter a foggy road. The first impulse is probably to grip the steering wheel tightly and drive slowly so you don’t lose control. Your palms are probably sweating from fear because you are unsure of the road ahead of you and some parts of you want to just stop driving completely.
But what if I told you to look at the bigger picture and there’s actually a passenger beside you that is willing to take the wheel? And what if, when you let them take the wheel, you see the foggy road is just a brief mist?
Would you feel a lot safer and comforted?
The Bible never assumes that true believers will have no fears or anxiety. In fact, the phrase “Do not be afraid” is written in the Bible 365 times. I think this is repeated so often because since we are born of the flesh, we are bound to encounter feelings of stress, fear, and anxiety every day. However, how we manage and handle the fear is of tremendous importance and we can turn to Scripture, which teaches us how to combat those fears.
Whenever we experience fear or become anxious, we actually demonstrate a lack of faith and in those moments, we don’t fully surrender to and trust in God because we feel as if we should take back some form of control, as if we know what is best for us than Him. Fear is a form of pride as it discredits God’s words about how He will handle the situation. Founder of Desiring God John Piper once addressed this point, underscoring how “God promises to be our comforter and protector, but we deny the credibility of God’s word and allow fear to set the limits of our obedience.” It’s funny how we are built to be dependent beings until the moments when we struggle, which is when we often isolate ourselves and want to become independent.
Founder of Desiring God John Piper once addressed this point, underscoring how “God promises to be our comforter and protector, but we deny the credibility of God’s word and allow fear to set the limits of our obedience.” It’s funny how we are built to be dependent beings until the moments when we struggle, which is when we often isolate ourselves and want to become independent.
However, the hope of the Gospel points to the reality that it doesn’t have to be like this: If we let go and allow the Lord to take a little bit of control, we can witness how the Lord will show His grace, His plans, and Himself in the midst of fear and how He will use fear to strengthen, shape, and surprise us in our daily walk with Him. Having faith means turning to God and accepting what’s been given and then asking to use whatever circumstance we encounter for His glory and for our joy amid suffering.
Having faith means turning to God and accepting what’s been given and then asking to use whatever circumstance we encounter for His glory and for our joy amid suffering.
Here are two things that you can do to build your shield against fear:
(1) Have a “fight” song or verse.
When we encounter fear, oftentimes the first thing we do is spiral and overthink, trying to come up with a million different solutions to the problems at hand. It’s normal to continuously think about the wrong but by having a fighting song or verse, it can allow you to recenter your priorities and focus; to trust and transfer your anxiety to God and place your concern to where it belongs: God.
(2) Remember that God’s Love has the power to banish fear.
Think about where you are right now, and how much the power of the Lord’s love is for you. By thinking about the positives and how much you are blessed through the hope of the gospel, it makes you appreciate how much He has cared for you to map out the path of your life.
Romans 8.37-39 (NIV) says “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,”. Use this as a fighting verse to remind yourself that there isn’t anything in this world that can separate God’s love from us or even diminish His enduring and unconditional love for us. Remember that God loved us so much that he redeemed our lives by His blood, and that we have been saved despite our deepest sins and failures against a holy God.
God endured the wrath of sin and judgment so that we would not have to, if we just trust him. Think about the question: What is the Lord planning in your life right now that the Devil is working OVERTIME to destroy?
Jesus reminds us in the Sermon of the Mount: “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6.25-26) Remember that the Lord will provide for our needs, and this verse demonstrates that if He has time to feed and care for the birds, think about how much He will provide for YOU, His beautiful daughter and son, His creation that he gave his life to save.
While having faith and putting our struggles towards God doesn’t mean we’ll never fight the battle of fear again, it means that we are declaring the Lord as a trustworthy champion over Satan and the challenges he throws at you, and the suffering we may face in a broken world. And by having the Lord by our side, why should we have reason to let fear and doubt conquer us?