The late Ann Landers who ran the popular Agony Aunt column in the US used to receive some 60,000 letters a month. She revealed: “One problem dominates. People are afraid.” People are afraid of losing their health, wealth, and job. They are afraid of the future, being left alone, rejected and embarrassed. They are afraid of death, and even of public speaking.
While some fears are constructive, most fears paralyse and render us ineffective. Throughout scripture, we are told not to be afraid. Jesus often said “Fear not!” and we are reassured in 2 Timothy 1:7 that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
So why do we still have fears?
We are afraid because at the root of our fears is the fact that we find ourselves unable to fully trust God. Fear and the lack of trust go hand in hand.
However, every instance of fear is also an opportunity to trust in God and move from fear to courage.
In 1 Samuel 17, we read the familiar story of David versus Goliath. Picture this: The Israelites and the Philistines are at war in the Valley of Elah. The Israelites are on one hill, and the Philistines on another, with a valley in the middle.
Here comes Goliath, nine and a half feet tall, a giant of a man with a bronze helmet on his head, a suit of armour on his body, a javelin slung on his back – a massive 200 pounds in all.
He stands like an overgrown tree and shouts in a deep voice: “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us. This day, I defy the ranks of Israel!”
Goliath did not just taunt the Israelites once but, like a broken record, he did that again and again for 40 days non-stop! All the Israelites were terrified and gripped by fear.
One of the most powerful weapons that the devil uses against us is intimidation. And I’d like to give you five keys to help you overcome our fears:
5 KEYS TO FACING YOUR GIANTS
1. Guard your eyes – watch what you are looking at
The first principle in overcoming fear is to watch what you are focusing on. Are you focusing on God or your circumstances? Fear comes from focusing on our circumstances rather than on God.
“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” (Psalm 3:3)
“I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.” (Psalm 3:6)
2. Guard your ears – be careful who you listen to
The moment Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him, he said to David, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert?” (1 Samuel 17:28)
But David demonstrated that he was a giant inside. He turned away from Eliab’s discouragement and continued to pursue God’s glory. David did not allow any discouragement to dilute his courage and passion for the Lord.
If you listen to the wrong people, you will exchange your faith for their fear.
3. Guard your mind – remember the right thing
“But David said to Saul: “… When a lion or bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth…this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them because he defiled the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:34-37)
To overcome fear, you must fill your mind with the powerful things that God has done in your life. David remembered how God was with him in the past, and it filled him with confidence.
4. Guard your heart – be confident with God’s provision
When fear threatens to strike, remember to
1. Do what you know
2. Use what God has put in your hand
3. Stick to faithful old sling and stone
David wrote, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” (Psalms 56:3-4)
5. Guard your back – cut off the root of your fear
It is not enough to immobilise our giants or knock them out temporarily. We must literally cut them off from our lives. And there is only one way to put an end to crippling gear – by applying the truth of the God’s resurrection to our lives.
The truth is, all of us have “Goliaths” in our lives and experience challenges that intimidate us. There are fears that haunt, accuse, and make us feel miserable and diffident. These fears rob us of courage and cause us to live in a constant state of fear.
However in Christ, we do not need to be afraid. We are no longer bound in fear, but in the security of our King of Kings and our Lord of Lords. He is our victory, courage and confidence.
To find out more about how you can “Manage Your Emotions – Overcoming Negative Emotions for a Life of Abundance”, visit Benny Ho’s resource page.