God has a way of calling us out of our comfort zones into situations that make us feel uneasy or even afraid. So, while it is uncomfortable, we should acknowledge the fact that we almost always have to pass through fear in order to accomplish or experience anything significant for God. That is why fear is one of the greatest and most frequent obstacles we encounter in our walk with God. The Bible teaches in 1 John 4:8 that fear “involves torment” and is “crippling.” Indeed, the paralyzing effect of fear has dangerous potential to stop us from fulfilling God’s plans for us. However, the good news is that we don’t have to give in to fear, but we can overcome it by the power of God!
One great example who overcame fear is David when he fought Goliath. When the giant challenged the Israelites, all the men in the army “fled from him and were dreadfully afraid” (v. 24). Yet, when David came on the scene, he responded much differently. Instead of shrinking back in fear, he rose to the challenge and volunteered to take on the giant. As you know, David went on to defeat Goliath and win victory for the Israelites. What was different about David that allowed him to overcome the fear that had caused every other man to flee? I believe David demonstrated seven keys to overcoming fear, and those seven keys are all steps we can take as well.
The first key to overcoming fear is to guard your thinking. David had a completely different mindset than all the soldiers in the Israelite army. He was dwelling on victory while others were dwelling on defeat. We should develop David’s victorious kind of thinking by understanding that negative fear does not come from God. The apostle Paul declared, “God has not given us a spirit of fear” (2 Tim. 1:7). Instead of fear, God has thoughts of victory for us. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’” (Jer. 29:11, NIV). Therefore, we should align our thoughts with the thoughts of God and expect victory in our lives!
Don’t let your mind drift into the world of “what-ifs.” “What if I fail? What if people don’t accept me? What if I make a mistake?” Replace those thoughts of doubt with thoughts of faith! The apostle Paul implored, “Whatever things are true, … noble, … just, … pure, … lovely, … of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Paul understood that our pattern of thinking determines our course of action, so it is vital that we dwell on victory instead of defeat.
The last part of 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God wants us to have a “calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control” (Amplified Bible). Indeed, choosing to dwell on victory instead of defeat takes discipline. We must GUARD our thoughts to make sure they are aligned with God’s and not the world’s way of thinking. When we do, we can be like David and press on despite opportunities to be afraid.
Guarding our thinking is the first key to overcoming fear. Watch for additional posts later in the week to learn more about defeating fear in your life. Be blessed and live in victory today!