Anxiety and fear have become epidemic mental health problems in the past decade, even more so during COVID lockdowns and messaging. While some may be based on chemical or physical problems, much is situational and cultural.
However, God loves us. The Bible addresses this topic, as we can expect. From cover to cover, the Bible expresses “fear not” 365 times, one for every day. And if the Bible encourages us to “fear not,” then we know two things. First, we will face fear in our lives. And second, God will help us to overcome fear with faith.
Faith is the opposite of fear. Fear looks at the situation and makes conclusions based on the evidence. Sometimes, those conclusions are legitimate, and other times not.
Either way, we are afraid of facing these dangerous circumstances. But fear is based on limited information, and oftentimes compounded by the enemies of the devil and the worldly systems.
There is more than what we see. The invisible God is more powerful and has more available than we can possibly know on our own.
When he reveals his love and promises, he gives the gift of faith. With faith, we combat fear with a greater, eternal perspective based on truth and an all-powerful Father who loves us.
The Bible acknowledges that fear is a natural human response but teaches it should not control us. Instead, we are encouraged to turn to God, place our trust in His sovereignty, and allow His love to cast out our fears. And he gives us his Spirit of power, love, and self-control so we are empowered against fear.
Here are five verses to encourage us to have faith and trust God in the face of fear.
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1. God Is with You
We all walk through dark times. Whether the sudden death of a loved one, the loss of a job, serious illness, or even severe economic distress, chaos enters our lives through various means. King David was a king, warrior, and worshipper, and he wrote the most famous biblical song, Psalm 23.
In a wonderful psalm, at one point, David expresses how he walks through the valley of the shadow. David fought many battles and wars, often against overwhelming odds.
The valley of the shadow of death might refer to many things, even part of the trek to Jerusalem, but David knew the very real threat of death. What was David’s hope in that dark place?
God was with him. God led David and comforted him. David knew the presence of God, and with the intimacy with the Lord, the warrior refused to fear evil. Likewise, we must cultivate our perception of God’s presence through prayer, praise, and worship.
Part of God’s comforting presence includes his loving hand upon our lives, guiding us along the way. With the personal knowledge and experience of his love, we can face current dark times without fear.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).
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2. Nothing Can Separate
Scripture is full of promises, and we must have faith in the God who makes those promises. He says he will always be with us and will protect and fight for us. This isn’t a powerful man or woman who loves us very much.
God is all-powerful and all-knowing and all-present, and this God is the one who says he loves us and gives us great and precious promises. Therefore, despite the situation facing us today, no matter how dark and impossible, God and his promises are even greater.
Paul writes to the church in Rome and gives a list of different powers we don’t have to worry about when we belong to God. What a list! We don’t do the passage if we only read it as flowery language.
Reading the list, Paul says no power can separate us from God’s love in the Lord Jesus Christ. We should note where God’s love for us resides, in Christ. We experience and enjoy the love of the Father in the Son, available not through our works but through the blood of Jesus.
Finally, Paul writes he has been convinced. Through the presence and faithfulness of God through harrowing situations after another, God has shown himself true and powerful. Let us continue with Christ, facing our fears with the security of God’s love and faithfulness.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
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3. Rest in His Peace
The Gospel of John gives us quite a gift, relaying the words of Jesus to those closest to him the night before he would be crucified.
These men had stuck with Jesus through three years of joyful ministry, through constant attacks by Jewish religious leaders, through confusing teachings and great miracles.
They spent hours upon hours with the Messiah, and they were very close to him. Because of their intimate relationship and the role, they would have in the coming days, Jesus tenderly pulls these disciples aside and shares what they will need in the dark days ahead.
One thing these men would desperately need was peace. While the Jewish leaders beat Jesus and the Romans crucified him, the disciples would feel lost and helpless. So, Christ gives them peace.
This peace isn’t the absence of conflict in this world. This is peace within despite the temporary circumstances. Jesus gives his peace, the shalom belonging to him, which means it is eternal and transcendent.
Nothing in this world can steal or shake the eternal peace of God. God’s shalom has no beginning and will have no end. The peace of Christ is greater than our fear.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
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4. Cast Your Cares Upon Christ
When we feel fear, what do we do with it? One of the lies we believe is that we are powerless with fear. Once, it might have been true we were slaves to fear, but with Christ, we have been given a Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. Christ and his Spirit define me.
Our fears don’t define us. Fear is something I have, not something I am. When I deal with fear, I must realize I’m not a fearful person. I’m a person dealing with fear. With that mindset, we can take our fears and anxiety and throw them upon God.
This gives us specific instructions and directions for our fears. Cast them upon God. Why? He cares for us! He wants us to come to him with our fears, our struggles, our anxieties. Often, we feel we have to hide from God with our fears or struggles, but that is the devil lying to us.
God desires our presence, and he longs to help us overcome our fears. A pastor taught me recently how when he was faced with an overwhelming and seemingly impossible situation, he told God, “Hey, Father, you’ve got a problem.” We must throw our fears at his feet, upon the Lord, knowing he loves us.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
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5. Be Strong and Courageous
Through Moses, God delivered the people of Israel out of the slavery of Egypt, and Moses continued to be the leader through battles, and the giving of the Old Covenant, and even 40 years of wandering as punishment for Israel’s unbelief.
Toward the end of Moses’ life, he gives a final sermon to the 12 tribes of Israel. They were about to cross the Jordan River to fight mighty giants and powerful nations to inherit the land promised by God.
Since Moses wasn’t allowed to enter the Promised Land due to his disobedience during a particular event, the leadership of Israel was handed down to Joshua. Moses tells the whole nation to be strong and courageous when facing the battles ahead.
At the beginning of the Book of Joshua, God speaks the same message to Joshua, the new leader. God commands Joshua, specifically, to take up the mantle and be strong and courageous.
God promises to give them the land, but they must take up weapons and fight. When facing nations and kings stronger than Israel, fear is a natural response. But because God will be with them, they can be strong and courageous.
Yes, we’ve been through hard times before, and we will face difficulty again. There are battles ahead. Instead of giving into fear, we are commanded to be strong and courageous, to stand for love and good and right. He has been faithful before. He will again.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).
These verses, along with hundreds of others, are key to reminding us of the promise of God’s love, deliverance, help, and victory over fear.
Even if a few may need medication or other avenues to address anxiety, these verses are necessary for all of us to renew our minds to the truth.
Write these verses down and stick them in places you will see and read them on a regular basis. Say them out loud. Journal about them in a notebook, writing down your thoughts.
Ask God to reveal what he’d want you to know about these verses. He is faithful and wants to share his love with you.
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Originally published Monday, 28 August 2023.