Our society, particularly younger generations, is centered around an underlying culture of fear. In fact, fear is such a fundamental piece of our society, that we have become numb to its presence. Having anxiety or having doubts has become a new normal, and honestly, fear is normal, but letting it control our lives is not. We were not made to live in bondage to fear, but to live out of trust in the Lord.
Two of the biggest fears in our culture today are the fear of failure and the fear of rejection. The truth is, we will fail and people will reject us. We don’t have to wonder about it, those things will happen at some point in our lives. The bigger truth, though, is that Jesus knew that we would fail and still chose to die for us in order to cover our failure, and any God willing to die for us will never reject us.
That being said, we do not trust God in place of fear, but in spite of fear. Psalm 56:3 says “But in the day that I’m afraid, I lay all my fears before you and trust in you with all my heart.” The first thing this verse does is normalize fear as a human experience. This verse is proof that people have been experiencing fear since the beginning of time. There is no shame or condemnation in having fear, it’s a natural feeling. The second thing this verse does is tells us what our response to fear should be. Our response should be to surrender those fears to the Lord and trust Him to take care of us.
For many of us, this seems easier said than done. How do we surrender our fears to God? How do we trust Him? The answer is faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith is belief, hope, and confidence in the things we cannot see. Meaning, we believe God is who is say He is, and keeps His promises. God says He is trustworthy, and He promises to take care of us.
So, the next question is how do we have faith? We have faith through relationship with Jesus. When we spend time with God--in prayer, reading His word, listening to what He wants to tell us--we become more aware of His presence in our lives, even when we can’t physically see Him. The more awareness we have of Him, the more faith we have in His realness, His existence, and His promises. The more faith we have in Him, the more we can trust Him, and the more we trust Him, the less we submit to our fears.
So, an important question to ask ourselves is, “Is there an area of my life where I’m living out of and being controlled by fear?” And if the answer is yes, the second question should be, “What does the condition of my relationship with the Lord look like?” The reality is that if the answer to the first question is yes, the answer to the second question will be something along the lines of, “the condition of my relationship with the Lord is poor, because I’m not spending time with Him.” If we don’t spend time with Him and form a relationship with Him, we will see the fruit of that in our lives--meaning, we will see a lack of trust in our lives, leading to a submission to fear.
However, sometimes the answer to the first question is yes, and the answer to the second question is that our relationship with God is good, and we’re spending fruitful time with Him, and reading His word, and “doing everything right.” So from there we need to ask ourselves “What lies about myself and about God am I believing that are leading to fear?” Going back to the earlier example of the fear of rejection, maybe you believe that people always reject you or will reject you, and that fear carries over into your relationship with God and turns into maybe God will reject you. The first step is identifying the lie, which in this case is “God will reject me.” The second step is telling God you fear He’s going to reject you and allowing Him speak into that place and replace that lie with truth, which here would be “even when people reject you, God never will.”
Most of our fears come out of a lack of trust in God and lies that we believe about Him or ourselves. When we spend time with Him and we learn that we can surrender our fears to Him, He will meet us there. Spending time with Him, results in trust in Him, and trust in God takes away the power and control that we give the fear in our lives, and puts that power and control back in the hands of Jesus.
Author | Stephanie Stewart