We fear what we cannot control.
Situations and circumstances of life can paralyze us with fear. Fear can control your thoughts and emotions, and it can take a toll on your health. Fear is an emotional, mental, physical and spiritual battle.
God can help you overcome fear. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead — the Holy Spirit — now lives in you if Jesus is your Lord and Savior. And He will help you to overcome even the most gripping fear.
The disciples of Jesus needed to know this truth in the days and weeks after his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven. They were locked in their houses fearing the authorities, wondering if the authorities were coming for them next to put them to death. They waited and prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon them. And I’m sure they remembered an event that happened just a short time before that, when they were with Jesus in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. That night on the boat showed them (and us) the way to overcome fear.
35 On that day, when evening had come, He told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.” 36 So they left the crowd and took Him along since He was already in the boat. And other boats were with Him. 37 A fierce windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke Him up and said to Him, “Teacher! Don’t You care that we’re going to die?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 Then He said to them, “Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?” 41 And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
To overcome fear, you must seek the truth. Your enemy the devil will use fear to defeat you, to paralyze you, to keep you from being who God called you to be and from doing what God wants you to do. The enemy will lie to you. Jesus had told them, “We’re going to the other side.” The devil whispered in their ears, “You’re going to die in the middle of the lake.” Which was correct? The words of Jesus of course.
Here are some truths from God’s Word to help overcome fear:
Jesus says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5)
Greater is the One who is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no danger, for You are with me, Your rod and Your staff — they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 8:35-39)
Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).
To overcome fear, you must trust in Jesus. Overcoming fear does not mean that your emotions will always be in order. There may be a knot in your stomach, your heart may be racing, and your mind may be tempted to focus on the thing that is making you afraid. To overcome fear, you must put your focus on Jesus and trust in Him. No matter how big the giant is that is causing you to be afraid, it is not bigger than Jesus. Trust in Him.
The disciples were caught in a life-threatening storm in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. Even the seasoned fishermen in their boat were paralyzed by fear. But Jesus was calm. They needed to learn that…
- Jesus is the One who crosses with you
- Jesus is the One who is calm
- Jesus is the One who cares
- Jesus is the One who controls the situation
- Jesus is the One who calls you to trust in Him
Jesus spoke the words, “Peace, be still” and the storm ceased. The disciples learned by experience that they could trust in Jesus no matter how big the storm and no matter how much they were afraid.
To overcome fear, you must tackle your fear. Some people obsess over their fears, never learning how to tackle them. You tackle your fear with faith and reverence for God, having a holy awe and fear of Him. The fear of the Lord is a good fear because it causes us to realize how awesome God is and how much we can trust Him.
Mark 4:41 tells us that after Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples were terrified of Him. The Greek word translated as terrorized is a different word than the one used earlier in the story to describe how they were paralyzed by fear of the storm. This shows us that when we have a right view of God — that He is big enough to help us overcome all our fears — then we can tackle our fear, hitting it head-on.
TRUTH + TRUST = TACKLE
TRUTH of God’s Word + TRUST in Jesus = TACKLE your fear
And the disciples learned the lesson.
Let’s jump back to the scene in Jerusalem during the festival of Pentecost, a short time after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. With Jesus no longer physically on the earth to be the One to calm their fears, the disciples learned to rely on the Holy Spirit to empower them and overcome their fear. And they did! On the day of Pentecost, they stood to proclaim the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and called people to trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. The disciples did not worry about rejection, persecution or even arrest. They overcame their fear and proclaimed the good news. The result? 3000 people were saved and baptized in one day!
So what fear is gripping you? Through His Word, God shows us the way to overcome fear. Seek the truth. Trust in Jesus. Tackle your fear.