The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself

During the first of FDR's inaugural addresses in the Great Depression he made the statement:

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

Today, like the Americans of 1933, people seem to have a lot of fear about things don't they. The question we must ask ourselves is "Should Christians fear?" If you feel the answer is yes, the follow up question becomes "What things should we fear?"

We're going to talk a bit about what the Bible has to say about fear and give you some scriptures you can use when you are afraid. To start off, I'd like you to give me some basic fear topics, and I'll try to classify them into one of the main groupings. Then we'll look at some scripture that you can look up or memorize to help you when these particular fears hit.

14 kinds of fear God delivers from:
  1. Man fear (Gen. 15:1; Lk. 12:5; Heb. 13:6). 35 times fear of man is referred to in scripture. Fear of God is referred to 160 times. We are to respect, reverence, and honor God, and have no fear of man. 80 times man is told not to fear, referring to fears that should not distress anyone who trust in God.
  2. Death (Gen. 21:17, 35:17; Heb. 2:15)
  3. The future (Gen. 46:3, 50:19-21)
  4. Danger (Ex. 14:13)
  5. Idol gods (Judg. 6:10; 2 Ki. 17:35-38)
  6. Dreams (Job 4:14-16)
  7. Evil (Ps. 23:4; Pr. 1:33)
  8. War (Ps. 27:3)
  9. Nothing - imaginative fear (Ps. 53:5)
  10. Enemies (Ps. 118:6)
  11. Punishment (Pr. 1:26-27)
  12. Darkness (Cant. 3:8)
  13. Ghosts (Mt. 14:26)
  14. Spirit of fear (2 Tim. 1:6-7)

Now I know that there are a few of these that you probably don't have any fears about right now, but at least some aspect of most of them are bandied about regularly in the news media today.

Fear of man and fear of enemies

I'm going to spend a bit of time on this topic since it is one of the most common. I've lumped fear of man and of enemies together since enemies are usually thought of as individuals. We'll deal with group fear like war and evil later on.

The fear of man can be particularly active as we change schools and move into new surroundings where there are frequently many more people around than we are used to having present. Perhaps some of you will soon be the oldest in your school and as Christians you'll need to make sure you aren't someone that is instilling fear in others. You need to be the 5th or 6th grader who is someone the little kids can rely on to stick up for what is right instead of being a bully.

Regardless of who you are, the fear of men strikes everyone at times. There is a basic self preservation instinct that kicks in when we feel threatened that injects fear into us and gets our adrenalin pumping to help us get out of danger. And yet God would tell us not to fear man. That's a real hard thing to do.

The basic fear instinct is very strong. It's hard to all of a sudden put your entire trust in God, but sometimes you are left with no choice. If you develop a trust in God a little bit at a time along your life's course it will be easier to have that incremental bit of trust when the next big thing hits rather than having to have a monumental leap of faith.

Think of a staircase like the one leading to this floor inside or the fire escape outside. It isn't too hard to get from ground level to this floor one step at a time, but it's just about impossible to go from the ground to this floor in a single step (at least with current technology). So it is with trust in God. The patriarchs of the Bible didn't just get a miraculous dose of trust all at once. They built it up over years of relationship. Today, we have the help of the Holy Spirit to give us the faith we need to meet the needs of particular situations. But at war with the Holy Spirit's gift of faith is our own human lack of faith. We need to accept God's help to carry us over the hurdles of life. Even with God's help, it's easier for us to make incremental adjustments than big ones.

The Israelis had fear during most of their recorded history, and it is still present to a point today. Unlike our current anti-gun culture, every qualified Israeli (male and female) serves in the armed forces starting at 18 for a two to three year period. They then continue in the reserve for around 25 years, and may be called up to serve one month a year. There is a stated position that they cannot afford to lose a single conflict, and this is largely true.

During their history, they have perpetually been surrounded by enemies that wanted to wipe them out, with only brief periods when they were led by a Godly leader and had His protection. In times of God's favor, word of what God was doing for them sent fear in the other direction and often routed the enemy for them. God saw His people through danger time and time again. He defeated Pharaoh and his armies (Exodus 7-14) and set His people free. He battled against the inhabitants of the land they were to live in, doing miracle after miracle in battle for His people.

Yet, at the end of the Babylonian captivity when Nehemiah was written, the people are once again wracked with fear. They went back to Jerusalem to rebuild and restore the temple of God, and after a bit they grew fearful and decided to build walls around Jerusalem first. The book of Nehemiah continues (Neh. 6) with the great building program of the walls and gates of the city so the people could be safe as they worked on God's temple. It was accomplished in 52 days, which discomfited the enemy which was harassing them, but did delay the actual needed work of fixing up God's house.

The Israelis had forgotten about the walls of Jericho. These famous walls didn't keep out the Israeli spies (Joshua 2) and then fell after the people marched around them (Joshua 6:1-20). It is always better to put God in control and let Him fight your battles for you.

When God was with the people, He did the fighting for them far away from their families. In some battles (Judges 7) he even said - Hey Gideon - you've got too many soldiers there. Let's weed some out so you can see how great I Am! Oftentimes, God sent His angels to do the fighting for Israel. You never want to be an army going up against angelic forces, let me tell you (2 Kings 19:32-35)

In the end, the walls that the people made and were so proud of were useless. The Romans still took the city when God's time was right.

When we get away from God and start relying on our own defenses, we are no match for the forces of the enemy. Too often, the defenses that we have made with our own hands prove useless. The battle is waged in our midst rather than on the battle fields that God would have prepared and chosen had we put our trust in Him.

Also remember that God commanded us to love our enemies and befriend those who are mean to us (Matthew 6:43-48; Romans 12:14, 17-21). Remember that He said that vengeance was His to repay. It isn't ours.

Fear of death

You probably aren't afraid of death too much yet, but should you encounter a situation where death seems eminent, put your trust in God and always strive to live a life that is acceptable to Him with your sins covered by the blood of Jesus. Whether or not we face death in the near term or whether God might grant us bonus years past our three score and ten, remember that none of us is promised a tomorrow. The reality is that God could send Jesus back for His church at any second. We need to be ready for His return even when death seems far off.

God hasn't promised to make us supermen who can survive anything that Satan or the world throws our way. He did promise protection from some of the curses of the world. In Mark 16:15-20 where John Mark records the great commission, Christ declares that there would be protection from serpents and poisons.

I think that some few Christians today are taking this to extremes and end up testing God in ways they should not. I believe that here, God is declaring that should there be a chance encounter with natural forces in an unexpected way while you are carrying out God's plan, He will protect you. This would be similar to Paul's encounter with the viper on the island of Melita in Acts 28:3-10. I think that some missionaries make use of this on a frequent basis as we go from our pampered United States society where you can turn on a tap anywhere and get really clean water and are transported to countries where you have to hunt for clean water or try to treat it yourself or simply drink it and hope you survive the parasites and crud that is in it.

If you aren't a part of the work of the great commission, I'd be hesitant to do stupid things on purpose just to see if He'd protect me. He might, but He also just might bring me to heaven sooner than I'd expected and greet me with a "Well, that was a pretty stupid thing to do wasn't it. Didn't you know I put that healthy respect for dying from snakebite or knowledge that something was poisonous and unfit to drink in your mind for a reason?" Christ took victory over death at His resurrection from the dead and has the keys to hell and death. Christians are ultimately safe as long as Christ has those keys. (Revelation 1:18)

Along with the fear of death comes the fear of illness and disease. Christ has been called the Great Physician. That is because the Bible says He bore the punishment of the whip laying stripes on His back and sides for our diseases. (Isaiah 53). Through the work of the Holy Spirit, Christ healed many people who came to Him for help while He was on Earth. He was the instrument through which God worked - he didn't do the healing Himself. He did not heal everyone on Earth just because He was on it, but those who came and asked were healed.

Through the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the New Testament church, of which we are a part, was promised the same power to act that Jesus had. The only constraint is that we don't ask amiss or to consume on ourselves. The work of the Holy Spirit is done to make our lives better, yes, but it is primarily to validate His church and prove that He Is.

I'm not against physicians, hospitals, or any of the modern wonders of medicine. Man's knowledge has come a long way in the last few thousand years. Doctors can fix a lot of things and there is nothing wrong with seeking a doctor's help if there is something wrong. There also isn't anything wrong with going up and requesting healing. There are still many things that the doctors can't really fix. They can treat symptoms and try to make you feel better, but don't yet have the knowledge to fix the underlying problem. Always remember that they just have a license to practice medicine.

If you are healed, give God the glory. If you go to a doctor and they fix you, give the doctor the glory. The principle expressed by Christ with the tribute money:

Matthew 22:21

...Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

applies here as well.

To often today if something miraculous happens in the body of believers the world never hears about it because we can't be bothered to share the Good News or because we are ashamed of the gospel and of being a Christian and would like to just quietly move about the world without being ruffled by it. The criticism that we'd have to endure if we reported a miracle is just too much for most Christians to take. So when God does touch you and heal you of diseases that the doctor's can't fix, Give Him the Glory!

Fear for the future

Today, more than any time in the last few decades there is worry about the future. People are losing their jobs and things of this Earth that people have put their trust in are proving to be worth less than we had hoped.

Yet today, Christ would tell us the same thing that He told His followers in the Sermon on the Mount.

Mt 6:25-34

6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

6:28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

6:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Fear for danger

We live in a dangerous world. Sometimes the danger comes from the world itself (earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, blizzards, famine and the like) and sometimes the danger is man made.

God didn't want the world to be the way it is, but He judged the sin of Satan and wiped out Satan's original kingdom. Then He made it liveable again and made man in His image. Then man blew it and sinned and He cursed it again. Much of what goes on in the world is just fallen nature doing its thing. Once and a while, I think that God sends judgment on the world using nature as His instrument. This was seen in the flood of Noah's time, when the Red Sea was rolled back for the Israelis to pass and when restored wiped out the Egyptians, and in other times.

I don't know whether the tsunamis of a few years ago in Southeast Asia were sent by God or not. I think their timing at Christmas time and Easter was something to take notice of, but they could have been natural events as well. I don't know whether God has orchestrated the floods that have inundated New Orleans and the Midwest or whether it is a natural outgrowth of how the world works as the climate has changed.

Sometimes Christians suffer from these events as well. I do know that God doesn't want any of His children to suffer. When bad things happen to good people do we reject God. A thousand time no. It is perfectly possible that He warned or encouraged these Christians who suffered to forsake their vacations, seek higher ground, move to a different city, or provided some other possible solution that the Christians chose to ignore in a particular catastrophe. As humans, we don't have the greatest track record of listening and obeying if God is telling us to do something that would cost us in some way or runs contrary to what we want to do.

I would say that I would hesitate to live in places around the world where sin is overwhelmingly prevalent and well publicized just in case those places had a Sodom and Gomorrah moment. But I also know that sin can be found everywhere so no place is completely safe should God decide to try to get the attention of His creation again.

As a Christian though, we know that even if we don't see God act miraculously like He did for Noah (Genesis 6-7), Daniel in the lion's den (Daniel 6) or with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:13-28) to name some obvious examples of God intervening in the face of danger, He is still in control. Sometimes we will have to do something to get ourselves out of danger (like Noah). Sometimes, God will provide all the protection we need. The key thing is to do what He tells us to do.

At your ages, you are limited in your choices since your parents control where you live, where you go to school, and many of your activities. But even as youth, you make choices as to who you hang out with and what you do with them. These decisions will be increasingly yours as your life progresses. I'm not one to say don't associate with the world. Christ went anyplace God told Him to go, regardless of the public opinion of the religious establishment. But He walked in the will of the Father when He did so. You have to set your own limits for what you will and will not do within the bounds of what the Father says are your limits or all bets are off when it comes to dangerous situations.

In the end He is waiting to welcome His followers to heaven regardless of what brought them there. Danger cannot win in the end. (Matthew 10:28-33)

Fear from idol gods

This one might seem obscure to most of you. Perhaps there aren't many who have to deal with this fear. But just so you know that it is a fear that is real even today, think about the missionaries that go into foreign countries today. Missionaries might regularly be challenged by this. It's nice to know that God is on your side and when it comes to a contest between Jehovah and an idol god, the idol god will end up on the ground eating dust without any hands. But that doesn't mean that fear cannot arise.

Some Christian parents worry about this when they send their kids to public schools. They worry that what their Christian kids are exposed to from the world and from teaching about other cultures will somehow lead their kids away from God. I tell you flatly that only you can take yourself out of God's hands. The world can't do it. Your teachers can't do it (John 10:28-29).

Be thankful you are going to an Assembly of God church where you can see God work from time to time in a miraculous way or hear Him speak in services. You have an advantage here over denominations that don't allow the Holy Spirit to work today. God is good, all the time is a true saying that you will hear in all churches. It's nice to hear Him talking to us and see Him working for us just the same. That doesn't make us any more saved than the Christian down the street in a main-line church, and it does mean that Satan will be more on the attack here than in churches that don't make a difference, but God is greater than Satan. Let's put our trust in Him.

Fear of dreams

There are cases in the Bible where dreams caused fear. Nebuchadnezzar would be one example (Daniel 2). Pharaoh would be another (Genesis 41). Today, dreams also cause fear.

The first thing that I would suggest you can do to help prevent this fear is to control, to the best of your ability, what goes into your mind in the first place. If you don't fill your mind with worthless stuff that evokes fear when you see it the first time, your brain will have less fuel to create bad dreams out of. If you don't read bad stuff in books, magazines, and on the Internet, there will be even less fuel.

We don't watch much TV at our house. When I was a little kid though, I watched around 40 to 50 hours per week. But TV wasn't as graphic and dark back then as it is today. My kids feel horribly abused at how little they get to watch which is probably 20% or less of what I watched when young. On the other hand, they are getting mostly good grades in school because they get their work done (again not without a lot of grumbling).

We have chosen to let them watch most anything we actually do watch, since it doesn't involve a great deal of time and isn't awful. This was similar to how I was raised. My dad watched crime shows, and so did I. I also watched a host of other lighter fair like McHale's Navy, Hogan's Heroes, Family Affair, Green Acres, Gilligan's Island, Flipper, and the like. I'd rather they be exposed to something bad while I'm around to talk with them about it than sheltering them from all of life and hoping for the best. Some of what we watch has more violence than they probably should see and there is a certain amount of science fiction (as that is my weakness) that also may not be the best but it isn't much different in the violence category than I grew up with. The sexual content is higher though.

I do filter the Internet connection aggressively, because the stuff that is out in the wilds of the Internet is pretty unregulated and easy to stumble on by accident. It is also something that is easier to find without parental supervision, while the television isn't.

All I can say is that if you have problems with dreams, cut off the source of the bad and fill your mind instead with good and see if your problems go away.

The fear of evil and ghosts

Remember first who is in charge.

Eph. 1:20-23

1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Our fight is against evil, but God is on our side. He has given us the full armor of God to wear when fighting in His army.

Eph. 6:10-20

6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

6:20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

The only unprotected spot was our back. Be prayed up and armed with Scripture and the live word of God through the Holy Spirit and fight with truth. Fear not. Even the battles between Christ and Satan and his armies during the tribulation will be settled with the Word of the Lord (The Sword that comes from the mouth of Christ). No man can stand before it.

I lump ghosts and the like in with the evil category although they could fit in with dreams as well. We need to cut off the sources that feed our imagination. The TV industry has promulgated ghosts and other unreal things a lot lately, and popular fiction has promoted other evil things like vampires. We need to watch what goes into our eyes and ears and try to protect ourselves as best we can from evil. That is hard to do when it seems that evil is everywhere.

There are instances like when Saul went to the woman who had a familiar spirit in 1 Sam. 28:5-19 where a demon impersonates a dead person (Samuel) but this does not mean there are ghosts. There are only demonic forces which may give you the wrong impression that ghosts can appear. They can't. God can bring people back from death as proven by the actions of Christ and others (10 total in the Bible). These are only temporary occurrences however. They do eventually die like the rest. Likewise, once dead and with God, God can command them to return to earth for a special purpose like Moses at the transfiguration (Elijah hasn't yet died.) But these are under God's control and are not meant to cause fear or unsettled hearts as the popular ghost fiction portrays.

We must try to do the best we can to not be bothered with the fiction from writers, the TV, the movies, the video games, and the Internet. Fill your minds with wholesome things and you won't have as much food to feed fear of things that don't even exist.

There's a VeggieTales song that goes "God is bigger than the boogie man. He's bigger than Godzilla or the monster's on TV.... He's watching out for you and me.". That is truth in a nutshell.

Fear of war

Today, wars are going on in several places. A few years ago, terrorism brought the tragedy of war to our own lands for the first time since Pearl Harbor. Some of you and perhaps most of you have some close or distant relative that is fighting or has fought in a recent war. For most soldiers and civilians, the response to the fear of war is the same as that of enemies or of danger. Some will not come home or will come home with injuries. That is the nature of the profession of war.

But I believe that God does care about our soldiers and us civilians. Some of each category may suffer. The reality though is that the chances of anything happening to any one United States citizen isn't very high. So don't fear. Let God do the worrying for you. Many would say that the increased number of conflicts and wars is a sign of the end times. I feel that the Olivet prophecy points to a post rapture time. Nonetheless, if the number of wars and conflicts we have now is any indication of what it will be like post rapture, I really don't want to be around during that period.

Our imaginations or fear of nothing

The fear of our imaginations is easily one of the biggest fears we have to fight. Today parents worry as no parent ever worried in the past for the safety of their young children. They probably have always worried about teenagers but that is another story. We worry about our jobs. We worry about our finances. It seems there are imagined fears everywhere and society has largely retreated behind closed doors. We don't know our neighbors nearly as well as we did 40 years ago. Society is the worse for this.

When I was growing up in Casper, I rode my bike all over Valley Hills. I and my friends would go riding for hours on the dirt trails in the previously undeveloped chunks of land that are now filled with houses. I'd ride down to miniature golf and spend all Saturday morning and all day Monday taking a sack lunch. I'm sure my mom worried at times, but parents weren't as informed then of the crazy stuff that I'm sure still went on just like it does today. We had much more freedom at an earlier age. I walked seven blocks to elementary school much of the time. We didn't even have cell phones so our parents could keep tabs on us. Still don't for that matter.

You kids worry about grades and friends and whether you will be popular or if you are popular you worry about whether you will stay popular. You worry about who you will marry and your future careers. You worry about the country and whether you will have to go to war.

The thing is God is in control and we worry too much. Most of the things that we worry about most that would be bad never come about anyway. We have worried about nothing and had a worse life that we could have had if we'd just have been like the lilies of the field.

God does expect us to be prudent. I don't think that He wants His children to adopt an irresponsible attitude about life. But I do think that the American people and the American government have gotten obsessed with a nanny state culture and we need to take responsibility for ourselves and stop being so paranoid. Let God do His thing. He loves us and that's a great place to be in.

Fear of punishment

Sometimes kids, and adults, end up being consumed with a fear of punishment to the point that they can't live out their lives normally. The best way to combat this, of course, is to not do wrong in the first place. Then you won't have any reason to be punished.

Christ did command us to live perfectly after all. He meant to keep His commandments and when we do occasionally fail, to ask for forgiveness and get right with Him again. Sometimes it is easier to admit when we have failed and move on than to live out our lives waiting for punishment to fall from our parents or bosses or the authorities - whoever the person in authority might be.

Nobody likes punishment, but admitting your mistake and taking your lumps goes a lot further than having to have mom or dad ferret out what has really happened on their own. You'd be surprised at the things that your mom and dad might know about you but are just waiting to see how you intend to handle the situation. Fess up early and often and walk free of the weight of a heavy conscience.

Sadly, there are home situations that aren't very good in many families today. Punishments are often random and out of proportion to the offense. Sometimes drugs or alcohol are involved that make the situation much worse. I'm sure that at times my kids have felt that punishments were too severe. Writing a paper on a section of the Bible can be pretty heinous to a young kid let me tell you. But overall, I've been blessed with some pretty good kids. I also had the advantage of being older when I started my family (at 35) so that has helped give me a better perspective than those who are parents at an early age.

All parents and kids don't have that good a relationship and all I can suggest if you are in a situation where punishments are out of proportion or unexpected is that you pray that God will intervene in the situation and that your parents will get saved and have their hearts changed. Kids are supposed to respect and honor their parents and parents are supposed to love and correct their kids. If everything is in harmony, there is rarely the need for punishment.

Fear of darkness

I've had one kid who was a little bit afraid of the darkness. You can have a fear of physical darkness or a fear of spiritual darkness.

If your fear is of spiritual darkness, remember always that you are the light of the world. You are meant to sit on a hill lighting the world and not to be hid under a bushel basket where your light doesn't creep out at all to light the world. (Matthew 5:13-16; Luke 11:33-36)

If your fear is the physical kind instead, ask your parents for a nightlight, and again stop filling your brains with so much mush from TV and video games. The darkness won't seem so frightening.

Spirit of fear

Finally, we get to the key verse of the lesson. Paul tells Timothy in

2 Tim. 1:6-7

1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

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

Fear can be a real physical force or spirit that can infest people until they become helpless. The medical world calls this paranoia. Fear of one thing leads to fear of another and the effect snowballs. Many people with extreme versions of this fear end up leading constrained lives because of their irrational spirit that invades them.

Some who fear wide open spaces live their lives closed up in their homes. Some who fear germs go around disinfecting everyone and everything they meet. Note that I'm not speaking of people who have actual physical immune system disorders who have a medical reason (temporary or otherwise) where they need a germ free environment. There are others who are afraid of strangers. Others are afraid of particular animals or insects (sometimes based on an incident that happened early in their lives that they may not even remember).

Paul tells Timothy to not be frightened. God has not given us this spirit. He has given us a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind. He is for us and not against us. When things look like they might slide down a downhill slope into one of the pathological states of fear in our lives, we need to pray for God's help and He will provide it. Let His Spirit dwell in you to help battle the worries of the world and you won't have as hard a time fighting fear.

John 13, 14

The key thing in any situation is to be as Christlike as possible. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to work through us. That won't make us immune to all of the things that would normally scare us, but it will give us power to fight off most of Satan's attacks. Christ was successful in His ministry. This was largely due to one simple fact. He did what He saw the Father doing when the Father wanted it done.

After healing on the Sabbath, he responded in this fashion to those arrayed against Him.

John 5:16-47

5:16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.

5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

5:31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

5:32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.

5:33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.

5:34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.

5:35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.

5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

5:37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.

5:38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

5:41 I receive not honour from men.

5:42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.

5:43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

5:44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

5:45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.

5:46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

5:47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

If, like Christ, we are following God's will, we can be sure that He is with us. This won't mean we will never face fear. In the two chapters of John 13-14, we see Christ at the end of His ministry. Many of the fears we have talked about were praying on Jesus as well to some extent. He faced the fear of man in the immediate betrayal by Judas, the fear of those men who would accuse Him, beat Him, and eventually crucify Him, the fear of death, the fear of the future, fear of punishment (though He was sinless), fear of evil, and perhaps others, yet He stood HIs ground and put up no resistance at the garden of Gethsemane which would come shortly after this passage.

Even in these chapters when His end is near and fear should be immobilizing Him, He is teaching His disciples and giving them rituals that would be carried on over the course of church history in the last supper and communion, foot washing and service. He gives some of well known and often quoted scriptures during this time.

John 13:34-35

13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 14:1-3

14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 14:6

14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me.

John 14:12-17

14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Considering the things that Christ did, these are really great promises to close our the promises to help us combat fear. Just remember that we need to be working in the will of the Father just like Christ was in order to claim these promises. God may occasionally give us some things that we really didn't need or that really aren't the best for us if we ask amiss, but if we are working for the kingdom and working in the will and timing of the Father then we won't be asking amiss for things to consume on our on selves when we pray and we will do great things for the Father and for the kingdom just like the disciples. Lets finish with these thoughs from Christ...

John 14:23-27:

14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

14:25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Next up

Next week will be a study on Death and Grief. You can read 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 in preparation for that.