Fear is a word that in some way connects to all of us. I have not met anyone who did not, at some time in his or her life, experience fear. I’m talking about the fear that grabs hold of you and will consume your every thought. I know I have dealt with it.
In my observations, fear can be categorized into many types. The one I want to talk about for this lesson is fear of something that is actually happening. This type of fear is very understandable. The doctor tells you that you have a serious life threatening disease and fear can be the first reaction. There is a terrible storm that hits your area, flooding, power outages, and winds, again fear can be one’s first reaction. You are out of work, you have no money, and you could be homeless in a week if things do not change. I know that in these situations, it is scary. I believe financial issues are the most common fear people deal with in their lives. Here are some reported facts from a recent survey that support this:
- 76% of American’s live paycheck to paycheck
- 56% of Americans say they have less than $1,000 in their checking and savings accounts combined,
- Nearly a quarter (24.8 percent) have less than $100 to their name.
The 2013 U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are just over 242 million adults living in the United States. Applying this population number to the above facts it shows us that:
- 184 million American’s live paycheck to paycheck.
- 135 million Americans have less than $1,000 in their checking and savings accounts combined.
- 60 million have less than $100 to their name.
Are you one of those in this type of situation? If so, with ¾ of the adult population in the same boat you are not alone. Or are you just wondering what might happen if we, in the US, are just pushed over this precipice of no money and mountains of debt. Does that create fear in you? It does in me.
With this fear, our lives can be in total turmoil. We don’t sleep. We worry. Our family relationships suffer. We can’t concentrate on much but the fear of being one paycheck away from losing it all. If you remember in my lesson on the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus himself was fearful and scared. In Mark 14:33-34 it talks about Jesus going to pray in the garden. It reads “He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” He was literally scared to death because at that time, Jesus was fully human because he needed to be human to die for our sins. What Jesus did is what we need to do. Pray to our Lord and ask for help and also for the ability to get through troubling times.
In fact, here is exactly what Jesus did and prayed in Mark 14:35-36, “Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 3“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
He basically said, Father everything is possible for you. You can make it so I do not have to do this. You can get me out of this situation. But it is your will that I want in my life, not mine. Jesus knew that God his Father and our Father could get him out of that situation. But Jesus also wanted to do God’s will not his so he knew that, if he did have to go through this situation, God would give him the strength and the ability to get through it.
Can you see what I am saying? This is important and key to overcoming fear. God can change the situation and get us out of it or he will give us the strength and ability to get through the situation. In either way, he has our back. We will make it through.
Sounds easy huh? No it is not. At least for me it is not. The biggest battle is with our own thoughts. It is then that you need to use God’s Word to get through this. Yes I said use God’s Word to get through it. I think people sometimes forget that in living God’s Word, you actually have to not just know it, your really do have to live it AND use it. For example, 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Using prayer, trust and God’s Word, we can take our thoughts of fear captive and make them obedient to Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Again, I know that sounds impossible right now with what might be happening in your life. I am sure you are asking, how is taking all my thoughts captive and obedient to Christ going to help me with my situation?
It can. I promise you it can. To better explain, lets look at some facts, from a study at the University of Minnesota, on what the impact of fear and anxiety does to our mind and body.
“People, who live in constant fear, whether from physical dangers in their environment or threats they perceive, can become incapacitated. Living under constant threat weakens our immune system and can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, and decreased fertility. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately. Other consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, accelerated ageing, and even premature death.”
“Fear can impair formation of long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain. This can make it even more difficult to regulate fear and can leave a person anxious most of the time. To someone in chronic fear, the world looks scary and their memories confirm that.
Moreover, fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically. This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. “
“Let’s look at that last part again. Fear interrupts our thinking processes in our brain that allows us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cue and other information that is presented to us. This study tells us that when we are in a state of fear and anxiety we can’t think straight and we cannot make rational decisions.”
We can’t even see opportunities and information that could show us a way out.
And that is important. Often times, having the ability to think rationally and clearly about a problem allows us to actually find a solution, a way out!
Again, lets look at 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
When we do this, and again LIVE God’s Word, we allow God’s Word to end the fear arguments and thoughts that we, or others are saying, in our minds that cause us to worry and panic. We let the knowledge of God, which is what we read and know from His Word, take every single fearful thought captive and let our minds be guided by our Lord Jesus Christ.
What happens then is we are in a state of peace and calm, not fear. Our mind is not racing with fearful thoughts. Our inner voice is not in panic mode. In this calm peaceful state, God allows us to clearly think about the situation in a way that He can show us His way out or His plan for us.
You know I am not just writing to this as a lesson to all of my readers. I am writing this for me also. In fact, this lesson was not a lesson at first. It was an effort by me to search the Bible and try to understand from God’s Word how I can get a hold of the fear in my life. In many areas, I was letting fear dictate how I acted. Dictate what decisions I made for my family and myself when it came to finances, health, and our future. I needed to get ahold of the fear and panic in my life. And I knew the only true and lasting way was in living God’s Word.
So I prayed for God to bring alive His Word in me and help me with my fear. And as a faithful and loving Father, He is helping me. Every word, in this lesson, was written for me too. And it is my plan to learn from it even if I have to read this lesson over again several times. I am going to memorize and claim that, 2 Corinthians 10:5 , can work in my life. I am going to find more scriptures that I can get into my mind, soul and spirit to help me take captivity over fear. Will you do the same? Let’s win this victory over fear together.
I leave you with this. 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”