Fear is a major element in our lives. We all have fears. Some people's
keep them living in terror. They never experience joy and peace. I've
heard that Edgar Allen Poe, the writer of horror stories, lived in
constant terror himself. For people who specialize in horror, it
encompasses them. This isn't the way it should be for the servants of
To live in fear, not only harms Christians, it harms their
testimony. When non-Christians see us living in fear or joylessness,
they're sure we have nothing that could interest them. We testify by
this fear, that our religion offers them nothing for comfort and
support. We testify we can't count on God to take care of us. We also
testify that Gods unable to overcome our fears. My goal isn't just to
lay a guilt trip on us, especially in the area of fear, but we need to
be aware of just how damaging allowing fear to reign is. God's goal in
this, is in the area of comfort to those that love Him.
Before we get into the passages in God's Word for comfort,
we need to look at the passages calling us to the right area of fear.
Christians aren't to be devoid of fear, it's to be in the right thing.
If we fear the right thing, we don't have to fear the things that tend
to overcome us.
The thing to fear isn't really a thing, but a person - the
Lord! This is a large area in itself, but we will touch it only
11 Serve the LORD with
fear, and rejoice with trembling.
We can see this 'Fear of the Lord' is a real bonafide FEAR.
It's not a make-believe, official front we put on. If the fear isn't
there, we're fooling ourselves big time that we know Him. This fear is,
notably, in the midst of joyfulness. The world's fear doesn't offer
18 Behold, the eye of the
LORD is upon them that fear him,
upon them that hope in his mercy;
From this verse, we see the beginning of
the answer to our
fears. When we fear the Lord, we can know He watches over us.
26 In the fear of the
LORD is strong confidence: and his
children shall have a place of refuge.
It only gets better. We can have absolute certainty God
will take care of those who fear Him. That wonderful word, 'refuge' is
a shelter for our fears.
I found a verse in the Psalms that outlines the 'fear of
the Lord' from another angle:
18 If I regard iniquity
in my heart, the Lord will not hear
From this, we see our comfort is removed
if we don't purify
our hearts. God doesn't want us placing hope in false confidences. He
wants us to be at peace when we should be, but not when we allow
23 The fear of the LORD
tendeth to life: and he that hath
it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.
We have more good promises in this line of 'fear of the
Lord'. This 'fear' is healthy. It leads us in the way of satisfaction
and with the knowledge that things contrary to God's plans for us,
won't come upon us. If we depart from His fear, for the Christian, His
discipline will come, and hence the 'fear of the Lord'. If we walk in
His fear from the outset, so we don't sin against Him, we can have
peace and confidence. Trouble that isn't in His perfect will, won't
come our way.
5 But I will forewarn you
whom ye shall fear: Fear him,
which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say
unto you, Fear him.
Jesus clearly tells us who to fear and why. He's the
ultimate Judge. When it comes to balancing fear, this is the weight to
test it by. Say our boss or government tell us to do something contrary
to God. We may fear consequences of disobeying these fleshly powers,
but when we weigh the issue before God, the fear of man should become a
shame to us.
31 Then had the churches
rest throughout all Judaea and
Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the
Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
The 'fear of the Lord' automatically goes with comfort. If
we walk in the 'fear of the Lord' the comfort of the Holy Ghost will
follow. The one is our part, the other is God's. The Holy Spirit not
only gives us a mind of peace and joy, as we obey, He also enables us
to obey and walk in faith.
1 Having therefore these
promises, dearly beloved, let us
cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
This 'fear of God' pushes us to diligence in being
conformed to His image. We've seen what's called for in this 'Fear of
God'. It isn't just a state of mind, but a knowledge and faith that
brings godly action. It demands we purify ourselves and put iniquity
from our lives. Having done this, we're able to move on to promises for
overcoming fear in our lives.
A. The Christian Facing Potential Fear
10 For he that will love
life, and see good days, let him
refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11
Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 12
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open
unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do
evil. 13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that
which is good? 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy
are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 But
sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an
answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you
with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they
speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely
accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17 For it is better, if the
will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the
unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh,
but quickened by the Spirit:
1 Peter 3:10-18
Let's go through this passage verse by verse, because it
brings out the whole issue of fear every Christian must face.
Looking at verse 10, we see the person outlined who wants
to avoid fear. He's told essentially, to 'fear God'. We see he's to
guard his mouth from evil.
In verse 11 we see the word, 'eschew' which means to 'shun'
or 'avoid'. In this verse, we're told to avoid all evil and pursue
righteousness with diligence.
In verse 12, we see the eyes and ears of the Lord are
attentive to those described in verses 10 and 11, but are reminded,
He's opposed to nonconformists of 10 and 11. A verse that goes with
50 And his mercy is on
them that fear him from generation
Now looking at verse 13, having laid the groundwork of
'fear of the Lord', Peter moves on. Addressing those on the good side
he asks, 'What is there to fear?'
In verse 14: You say suffering? Isn't that what it boils
down to? We see something interesting here, being righteous we may
suffer, or rather will suffer (2 Timothy 2:14). Peter goes on to add to
that - don't fear, don't be troubled. We also see this echoed in
11 In God have I put my
trust: I will not be afraid what
man can do unto me.
In verse 15, this pulls us into the big three: faith, hope
and love! Sanctify in our hearts the Lord: He is set apart as we stay
faithful in suffering through love. He is glorified as we abide
faithful. In holding our faith, not fearing He's abandoned us, He's set
apart in the object of our faith. The end we see down the road in
Christ. This suffering can be the doorway of reaching others for Him.
In fact, it's the most common doorway. The fear mentioned here is
notable. 'Fear of the Lord', not fear of circumstances and suffering.
Verse 16 hits the nail on the head. Those who walk in the
'fear of God' have a clean conscience. The persecutors will be put to
shame when our object of hope is fulfilled in due time.
Looking at verse 17. This verse reminds us that if we
suffer, it's still nothing to be afraid of. For the saint, we're in
God's will. The situation isn't out of control.
Now at the final verse, 18. So we don't think God is
heartless and doesn't care about our suffering (1 Peter 5:7), we're
reminded of two things: First, Christ led the way by faithful example,
facing total contradictions of justice. The second power point of this
verse are those last four words, 'quickened by the Spirit'. This is the
'how' we accomplish 'love life and see good days' (verse 10) in the
face of suffering in this world. Walking in legalistic flesh, will
never accomplish the miracle of this passage. Only a Spirit-empowered
life can and will accomplish this.
A verse out of Isaiah that condenses the above passage of 1
unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people
in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be
ye afraid of their revilings.
The first part of this verse defines the 'God Fearing'
people. Those who can safely abandon fear otherwise. The second half of
this verse directly addresses the 'Man Fearing' concern.
B. Don't Focus On Man, Focus On God
Where we put our focus determines our fear. We find in
Proverbs the following:
25 The fear of man
bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his
trust in the LORD shall be safe.
How do we avoid the fear of man? This verse tells us. The
answer is faith in God. If we don't have faith in God, we will fear
Jesus built more on this focusing on man:
4 And I say unto you my
friends, Be not afraid of them that
kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
It's obvious from this, that man's
greatest fear lies in
what can be done to the flesh. Jesus brings this fear into perspective
by looking beyond that limitation. The point here, is that the threat
of man is opposed to God. Where does our true focus lie? Where does our
God's servant does get a promise he can rest on:
5 Let your conversation
be without covetousness; and be
content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never
leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is
my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
From the second part of verse 5, we see God's diligence to
care for His own. Seeing He's diligent, we know no one can stand in His
way. His promise of help in verse 6 is secure. This is what gives us
the peace to face whatever man throws at us. God wants us to know He's
with us, to set our minds at peace. He wants us to be able to make the
confession with confidence, as we see verse 6 starts, 'So that we may
So far, we've been examining man's threats and overcoming
that fear. Now we move on to general fears and focusing on God in the
face of them:
25 Be not afraid of
sudden fear, neither of the desolation
of the wicked, when it cometh. 26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence,
and shall keep thy foot from being taken.
This is a beauty. I think most people's fears are what's
termed here 'sudden fear'. We worry about what might happen. Actually,
only the tiniest amounts of those imagined fears, every do happen. All
that worrying robs joy, and it does nothing to stop the event from
happening. Now we should naturally take proper precautions to avoid
bringing catastrophes, but worrying doesn't help. Leave the outcome in
I remember hearing about a Christian man who suddenly had a
fear one day he was going to hit a child with his car. The sudden fear
just gripped him and he prayed fervently that God wouldn't allow such a
horrible thing to happen. He said such an event would be too great for
him, and so prayed fervently until the fear was gone and replaced with
a sense of peace. The next day he was driving along with a car full of
passengers. He suddenly heard, in his spirit, a command to immediately
stop his car. He did and just as he did, a toddler ran out in front of
him from between two parked cars. The child's mother came running out
and grabbed him. She never realized just how close he came to dying.
Such an incident illustrates how God does watch over the Christian and
takes measures to care for him.
This passage in Proverbs also shows that evil will befall
the wicked, but that it's not accidental. For the God-fearing
Christian, God takes care of us and actually preserves us. For the
wicked, both chance and judgment meet them.
Another verse that's good to commit to memory is:
3 What time I am afraid,
I will trust in thee.
This is easy to remember when sudden
fear seizes you. This
reminds us how to overcome all fear. Have faith in God. Look to him,
not to the object of our fear.
Next, we have a passage that doesn't specifically mention
fear, but definitely has an impact on this issue.
19 Speaking to yourselves
in psalms and hymns and spiritual
songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving
thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ;
Verse 19 speaks of our focus. Again, it
should always be
God. This focus is a joyful pursuit, 'making melody'. This singing
uplifts us and reminds us of how great God is, instead of worrying
about how bad the potential fear is.
Verse 20 shows these are songs of thanks. It also tells us
that everything that comes our way is God's will for us. We may not
understand why, but we can know Gods in control and He has a beneficial
In the following passage the 'Be careful for nothing,' is
referring to anxiety, fretting and worrying over things:
6 Be careful for nothing;
but in every thing by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto
God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall
keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6,7 (Philippians 4:4-9)
We're told how to clearly deal with our worrying problems.
Tell God about it. Give it into His hands and, thank Him for faithfully
seeing to the matter. Some things do require more prayer than others
for victory, and that's where 'supplications' comes in. For example, we
have Daniel praying and fasting for the restoration of Jerusalem. It
took battle, but with verse 7, we have peace with our victory. This
isn't just a man obtained calmness either. This is God's hand upon us
for a stable mind and emotions. This peace is our decision however, as
we can see from Colossians:
15 And let the peace of
God rule in your hearts, to the
which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
It's up to us to decide to give it to
God, to trust Him and
to thank Him. If we do these things, we can trust Him to supply the
C. Comfort For The Time Of Trials
18 In every thing give
thanks: for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
It's important to remember that this
verse was written to a
particularly persecuted church in Thessalonica. Paul knew we need to be
reminded to thank God. Only by thanking, do we truly put our trust in
action in our heart. We're also at peace knowing He's in control, and
we remind ourselves of this fact through being grateful.
We have a biblical illustration of this in Acts 16:22-34.
Paul and Silas are beat and thrown in prison. We see from the passage
they are singing and praising God in this disheartening situation and
condition. In this particular instance, God worked a miracle and opened
all the doors, which resulted in the jailer's conversion and Paul and
Silas' more merciful treatment.
In Romans we find an oft quoted verse:
28 And we know that all
things work together for good to
them that love God, to them who are the called according to his
As we walk faithfully before God, we have the assurance
that whatever befalls us is in God's greater wisdom. This true
confidence removes the fear.
In Isaiah, we find more than warnings of judgment, if
repentance isn't forthcoming. We find these passages of comfort for
those who fear God:
4 Say to them
that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear
not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a
recompence; he will come and save you.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for
I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I
will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Isaiah 41:10(-14) (Isa
God directly addresses the fearful. He wants to comfort the
down cast that lean upon Him. In verse 10, God clearly points out He
will actually strengthen us and hold us up. He goes a long way to pull
us out of fear.
Jesus wanted us to know of how great a value we are before
the Father. He wanted us to take comfort in remembering that God places
great value on each and every one of us. Jesus said that God takes care
for every single sparrow, and then uses that point to draw out this
comfort against fear:
31 Fear ye not therefore,
ye are of more value than many
Matthew 10:31(Luke 12:7)
Finally, in this section, we have a rather peculiar verse:
31 The horse is prepared
against the day of battle: but
safety is of the LORD.
This is a proverb that reflects on the military strategies
of the days in which it was spoken. The kingdoms at that time depended
upon having horses and chariots for superior military protection. It's
kind of like modern countries accumulating masses of arms and nuclear
warheads. The countries count on this stockpile to keep them safe, but
this verse points out that man's confidence is faulty. God can easily
override man's strengths, to accomplish His will. He can even cause
such might to fail when aimed at His faithful servants, if that's
according to His will. We find many examples of this throughout the
Bible. The story of Gideon and his small army against the Midianites
(Judges ch. 7) is one example. We also have the account of the army of
Assyria (2 Kings 18:17-19:37) that surrounded Jerusalem when Hezekiah
was king. In the New Testament you find Peter miraculously delivered
from jail (Acts 12:1-11).
D. Strength For Living By The Spirit
We're to find the courage and peace for our challenges in
life, through the Holy Spirit's abiding in us. He is our strength.
7 For God hath not given
us the spirit of fear; but of
power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
The Holy Spirit keeps our minds sound and stable, not
erratic through fear. Not panicky in dismay. We're intended to have a
mind abiding in courageous confidence, and we're supplied with what we
need. Having a mind settled in peace, we look to others in love,
instead of focusing on self in fear.
The following two passages address the area of where we get
16 That he would grant
you, according to the riches of his
glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted
and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what
is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the
love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with
all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding
abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that
worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
The 'inner man' in verse 16 is our spirit. The Holy Spirit
abides in the Christian's spirit, strengthening us according to our
needs. We abide in Christ by faith, and by this simple act of faith, we
find the fulfillment of the 2 Timothy 1:7 verse listed just before
We see the love detailed in this Ephesians passage. Again,
where there is no fear, love is free to replace it and flow out. This
love exceeds man's intellectual understanding. He can't understand how
anyone can have such a love. Remember how Jesus loved His persecutors.
He didn't get swallowed up in fear, because love was actively at work
In verse 20, we're reminded that God's strength in us is
beyond our wildest dreams. This means that it can conquer our greatest
fears. We're told here that power is in us. From this (in verse 21)
proceeds that thanksgiving and praise we talked about earlier. A verse
in Philippians recaps the Ephesians passage in a very succinct manner:
13 I can do all things
through Christ which strengtheneth
I read the story of five missionaries who were led of God
to reach out to a hostile tribe in South America. They lost their lives
in doing so. They left behind their wives and children. They knew the
risks, but as individual families, were committed to taking the Gospel
to people who had never heard it. When the news of their deaths got to
their wives, the women received Christ's special comforting. Not one of
them was hysterical. They were grieved, naturally, but they testified
to Christ's supernatural comfort and peace. Even in the midst of our
worst fears, Philippians 4:13 holds true.
E. True Peace Because His Promises Are
This final section is a collection of the passages that
speak great comfort when facing fear. You will notice all but the last
two are from the Psalms. The Psalms aim to help comfort in times of
sorrow and affliction and, when in real trial, the book of Psalms is an
excellent place to meditate on God's Word.
4 Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff
they comfort me.
This is a single verse out a whole
comforting Psalm. This
verse lays out the greatest of fears yet sends comfort by reminding us
we don't need to be afraid, as we recall God's presence.
1 (A Psalm of David.) The
LORD is my light and my
salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of
whom shall I be afraid?
This verse is not just a meditation on a fact, but a
rejoicing. This is a joyful recollection in bold confidence.
7 The angel of the LORD
encampeth round about them that
fear him, and delivereth them.
Here's a verse promising a guardian angel who watches and
protects those who walk in the fear of the Lord. The 'encampeth' adds
extra comfort in knowing the angelic protection is here to stay. If
you're afraid as you go to sleep, this fact helps comfort in
remembering the angels have their bedrolls spread out with you.
We find an example of this in the story of Elisha (2 Kings
6:8-23). His city was surrounded by an army, come to take him. His
servant was afraid, but Elisha prayed God to let his servant see that
angelic army that was there to protect him. God answered his prayer.
24 Though he fall, he
shall not be utterly cast down: for
the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. 25 I have been young, and now am
old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging
Verse 24 lets us know the righteous may suffer some kind of
hardship. Walking in the fear of God doesn't promise us 'a rose garden'
as the song goes. The verse also points out that, even though this is
so, we can have comfort in knowing Gods carefully watching over the
whole situation. He never lets it get away from Him.
The Psalmist reflects on his experiences and observations
in verse 25. The righteous may go through sufferings, but are never
1 (To the chief Musician
for the sons of Korah, A Song upon
Alamoth.) God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in
trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and
though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though the
waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with
the swelling thereof. Selah.
We're told that our confidence is no make-believe, false
comfort. We can rest assured God is 'very present' when things seem
their worst. The author uses a poetic picture showing how our whole
world may be falling apart, but we don't have to be afraid. Not being
in the problem, we may wonder how could we be comforted. God doesn't
give us His comfort ahead of time so we can bankroll it. 'Give us this
day our daily bread' like we find in the Lord's prayer. In the day we
need that comfort, it will be there.
4 In God I will praise
his word, in God I have put my
trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
We see this comfort starting with
praise. We know we can
trust His promises of care found in His word, so can rejoice in His
promised help. We put our trust in those promises, so have no fear.
7 He shall not be afraid
of evil tidings: his heart is
fixed, trusting in the LORD.
These 'evil tidings' may be real or rumor. Whatever reports
come our way, if we trust in the Lord, our hearts won't be filled with
Now days, there seems to be an abundance of 'evil tidings'
over the news services. There's always some 'bad news' about what's
going to happen in our backyard. A scare of 'act quick or we'll all
lose our rights.' There's truth to much of this, and sometimes it calls
for action. Even if we have to take action, we need to remember, if the
heart's fixed, trusting in the Lord, we'll have no cause for developing
6 The LORD is on my side;
I will not fear: what can man do
This is the type of verse that armies use to bolster up
their ranks. Each opposing side yelling the same thing, 'The Lord is on
our side!' Only if we walk in the fear of the Lord, can we know this to
be so. Allowing for that, we can rest in peace.
19 He will fulfil the
desire of them that fear him: he also
will hear their cry, and will save them.
This is a great one. God cares about our desires, if we
fear Him. He's attentive to our cry and will be with us and strengthen
24 When thou liest down,
thou shalt not be afraid: yea,
thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
This verse is good to comfort those who
fear the dark. We
don't need to worry, God will watch over us when we're asleep and
unable to watch over ourselves.
For our concluding verse we have the words of Jesus.
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.
What greater comfort could we ask for?
Jesus promised His
own abiding peace. This peace isn't anything like the world offers. Its
quality is of another realm. Psychologists try to help their patients
overcome fears through all sorts of therapy techniques, but we're told
God's peace is totally unlike that attained through such therapy. The
one is a work of the flesh, the other is a Spirit-filled fruit. Jesus
cares and takes active part to help. What He calls us to do, is to
place it and leave it in His hands.
If we walk in the fear of God, we have all we need to face
our fears in life. We live our lives entertaining all kinds of fears:
job security, finances, health, personal safety, any area where we can
be afflicted. They govern our behavior, and act as motivators for how
we live. God intends for us to be free from this oppression and to walk
solely in the fear of God. This fear will result in wise behavior and
A living faith is what's called for. A living faith trusts
God, brings forth fruit in accordance with the fear of God, and
proceeds victoriously in life over the enemies of our mind. It boils
down to a call from God. You may say it's a call or a command. Maybe
you will look at it as a promise. However you look at it, His words
distill down to 'NEVER FEAR!'