the world

Fear Itself – Scripture Reference

In his now-famous 1933 Inauguration speech, FDR said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

I think Scripture confirms that he was right.

God knows that as Christians, we will still struggle with fears. Scripture is full of different variations of “fear not,” “be courageous,” and “do not be afraid,” and digging into the Word is the best way for Christians to be encouraged in the hope of Christ.

It’s not that we, as believers, won’t have fears. It’s just that God says we don’t need to fear.

Christians, what are we fearing right now during this chaotic time in our world?

When I feel these types of fears rise up inside of me, I decide not to feed them with the wrong thing. Instead I preach the Gospel to myself and I feed myself the Truth of Scripture. I remind myself of what the Lord did promise me, versus what He never promised me (i.e. the American Dream, comfort, etc.).

Here are a couple potential fears with a few Scriptural references that I believe are relevant today:

Sickness and death
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil–and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
Hebrews 2:14-18

Fears for our children and their future
“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”
Acts 17:26-27

Government control / Persecution of Christians
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
1 Peter 4:12-13

Political turmoil / wars & rumors of wars / fears of violence
“He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”
Daniel 2:21

“For he (Jesus) himself is our peace…”
Ephesians 2:14a

Our plans being thwarted
“You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
James 4:14-15

Relational fears (are they mad at me? what if they dislike me?)
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”
John 15:18-19

The Book of Proverbs is also great for relational wisdom.

Our emotions (like intense fear) can lie to us, but Jesus promised us that Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth (John 16:13).

I don’t mean to minimize any one of these fears: we are human. God knows our frail states.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”
Psalm 103:14

And it’s encouraging to remember what He has already done…

“Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, you his servants, the descendants of Abraham, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.”
Psalm 105:5-6

At the heart of all of these verses is that God can be trusted. In my struggles with fear and anxiety since childhood, my conclusion is what Simon Peter told Jesus in John 6:68:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

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