First a few helpful resources from which some of these thoughts are drawn. Men like Ed Welch, D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, my dad, and others have been a great help to me in understand how God's Word applies to my fear.
- The Bible (obviously, but maybe our neglect of this resource shows that it's not so obvious as it should be) Here's a nice online, searchable version.
- Ed Welch - Running Scared
- Timothy Witmer - Mindscape
- D. Martin Lloyd-Jones - Spiritual Depression
- Trace your fear to its source. This is hard because it requires us to think about our fear instead of just trying not to think about it. But to really deal with it, we'll have to think about it. For one example, what drives your fear of a health crisis or death? Could it be that you fear for the future of your children, family, church, or company and what will happen to them without you? Does that reveal too much confidence in yourself and not enough trust in the Lord? Then we can address the underlying causes which may well alleviate our fear. When we ultimately trust in someone or something other than the Lord, we're asking for fear. (Welch)
- The presence of God. Hebrews 13:5b-6 "...for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'" Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
- Is your fear a false prophet? When we are afraid of the worst possible scenario we can imagine, often the imagined difficult scenario never actually comes to pass. Many times our fear is a liar that we should not listen to. (Welch)
- Daily grace. Each day has enough trouble (Matthew 6:34), and God will give us enough grace to face that day's trouble (2 Corinthians 12:9). (Pastor George McDearmon) We won't get grace for tomorrow's trouble until tomorrow, so don't borrow tomorrow's trouble today. (Welch, my dad)
- Think about Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-3 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." (emphasis added)
- Pray, pray, pray. Philippians 4:6-7 "...do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Witmer)
- Think about good things. Philippians 4:8-9 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." (Witmer)
- Fight the lie with the truth. Talk to yourself; don't listen to yourself. Stick with what you know, not how you feel. (My dad, Lloyd-Jones)
- Minister to and serve and pray for others. Focusing on others can get your attention off of yourself. (Lloyd-Jones)
What would you add? The next time fear strikes, may we be ready to fight it off and not give in.