How to ‘Fear Not’ in a Scary World

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All it takes is a few minutes of listening to the news to realize we live in a scary world. Disease, disasters, wars, and terrorism dominate the headlines almost daily

But the number one command in the Bible is “fear not.” Don’t be afraid. Jesus is fairly clear in his sermon on the mountainside that we are not supposed to even worry. So what should we do when there appears to be a clear and imminent threat to us? Should we pretend it doesn’t exist? Isn’t it important to be well-informed? Evil is real, and as Christians we have a responsibility to identify it and stand against it, by any and all means.

This all seems like good conventional wisdom. But Jesus calls us to see the world through another lens. He acknowledges evil. Jesus was regularly confronted with tangible, raw evil. He cast it out. He overcame it. And he calls us to do the same. But minus the fear. Jesus was never afraid. He wasn’t afraid of the man with a legion of demons. Jesus didn’t worry about what might be done with the Roman leaders who were in cahoots with the Jewish elite in order to kill him. There was no fear in Christ. He lived out what he taught us to believe—not to fear. Ever.

Imagine how it changes your vote if you have no fear. (And in case you’ve missed my hints, I believe that “worry” is just another name for fear, and “concern” is a slightly softer synonym for worry.)

Have you ever considered a life with no fear? Can you imagine how free you’d be? We know that’s possible because God commands it. So here are three ideas for getting there:

  1. Identify your fear. Say it out loud to a friend or your spouse and then write it down. Do this with any and every fear you can think of. Ask someone who knows you best to help you. Be brutally honest. It could be fear of intimacy. Fear of heights. Public speaking. Terrorism.
  2. Pray—out loud—with your spouse or trusted friend. Pray specifically that God will heal you. A fearful outlook needs healing. It’s not normal and not healthy. There is nothing good about fear. Admit it and pray that you’ll be free from it.
  3. Every time you read or hear something that makes you afraid, stop. Delete. Turn it off. Every effective communication evokes an emotion. And the two most powerful emotions on earth are fear and love. Ask yourself if a specific bit of communication encouraged fear or love in you. If it’s fear, it’s not from God. Period. Ever. No excuses. There is an author of fear, and it’s not God. God writes love.

Practice these three habits regularly and you will soon understand what Jesus means when he commands us to “fear not.”

 

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photo credit: Edvard Munch

Carl Medearis is author of Adventures in Saying Yes. To order, go to resources.