Don’t be ruled by fear.
Hello again, I’m Randy Gaudet, founder and director of All Thailand Experiences. Those who have read my profile know how I first came to Thailand and my association with missions and churches since 1989.
We use funds from our tours to help the needy, change lives and spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We teach about the Holy Trinity, Love and Grace because of Jesus Christ and to tell Christians they are free from the Law, sin and death.
At most churches in Thailand the old covenant law is being taught and that Grace is not available to you if you break the law. We are training pastors about the New Repentance as written in the Bible with help from Pastors Nathan and Saia Gonmei at Abundant Grace Church in Chiang Mai.
On all our All Thailand Experiences Christian teaching blogs I will point to scriptures and explain the meaning on the topic.
Pastors Nathan and Salila Gonmei of Abundant Grace Church in Chiang Mai Thailand help explain Biblically how not to be ruled by fear in English and Thai languages in the 5 – 16 minute videos in the bible study below.
Today we’re going to talk about how not to be ruled by fear.
Even though Scripture exhorts us with the words “do not fear”, a global pandemic, political tensions, and economic instability have caused an uptick in anxiety and depression. According to the Census Bureau, an unprecedented one-third of Americans now report symptoms of clinical anxiety or depression.
Fear is “an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”. Triggered by real or nonexistent situations, fear impacts people both emotionally and physically.
People who live in perpetual fear can develop several unhealthy outcomes. These include mental health struggles, physical health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and chronic migraines, and relational issues.
How is it possible to live beyond fear in a worry-driven world?
What Does ‘Do Not Fear’ Mean in the Bible?
No matter our worries, God already has a plan and He never leaves us to fend for ourselves.
Psalm 34:4, NIV: “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
David tells us in this verse that he sought the Lord and the Lord answered him. Apparently, before David prayed, he experienced fear; probably he feared what his enemies would do to him. In other places, David makes it clear he has no reason to be afraid (Psalm 27:3). Prior experience and knowledge told him God would still be in control. Psalm 27:1 says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” That did not mean David was immune to anxiety, and so he prayed. Graciously, the Lord removed all his fears.
Believers today might fear anything from physical injury or illness, to job insecurity, to difficulties in relationships, to political collapse, to the threat of incoming nuclear missiles, and everything in between. However, faith replaces fear. The apostle Paul did not fear an upcoming trial that might result in execution, but he knew the Lord can remove all anxiety when we pray. He counseled in 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.”
The prayer of faith and fear are mutually exclusive. While believers are not guaranteed to be taken “out of” harm’s way, God has promised to see us “through” any harm (John 16:33; 17:15; Matthew 6:25–34).
Let the Love of God enter your heart. Knowing for sure that God loves you and that He will not condemn you will drive out fear. When you live in the realm of God’s Love there is no fear. When you grow or mature in the revelation of God’s love that truth will cast out fear from our lives. This is why we must study, meditate, focus on and declare God’s love.
As we mature on the understanding of God’s love for us, fear will no longer rule in our heart or mind..
1 John 4:18,NIV: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
When we are ruled by fear nothing good happens. We become paranoid, our mind and feelings get in the way of our decisions. If we make decisions based on feelings of fear and not on truth we get in the way of the Holy Spirit helping us.
Isaiah 41:10, NIV: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
God calls and commands us not to fear. When we let fear take over, we take our eyes off Him and His promises. As we can see above, God gives us five reasons in one passage of Scripture alone. The entire Bible is a love letter about how His love for us will protect us and bring us home. He didn’t say we wouldn’t have trouble. He didn’t say we would face a crisis, a pandemic, or other unexpected news. He said the opposite and then He goes on to tell us not to fear.
It’s one thing to read the words, “fear not,” it’s quite another to put faith into practice over our fears. It’s not always an easy choice, but that’s what fear is — a choice. Instead, we can choose to:
- Not allow fear and anxiety to steer our lives.
- Choose to guard your heart.
- Choose to focus your mind and heart on the Word of God.
The next time fear rises, turn your attention to God’s promises. Turn your spirit to His. Ignite your faith by prayer and reading His Word. Replace every fearful thought with Scripture because God is bigger than our fears. He gives us power and strength when we are at the end of our rope and we feel like we are falling into an ocean of, “what ifs.” Instead of what if, turn those thoughts to “Even if…” Because God has you in the palm of His mighty hands.
It has been said that the comforting words, Fear Not, appear in the bible 366 times, one for each day of the year, plus one for leap year. But no matter how many times these words of encouragement appear, let us always remember that they are spoken by the Creator of the Universe. He is the one Who tells His children not to fear, nor to be discouraged, because He is our God and that should be sufficient. We should simply take Him at His word.
When we experience God’s love in our lives and share it with others, we do not need to fear. The future punishment that awaits those who do not believe does not concern the “abiding” believer. The two-way relationship of God’s love in our lives gives us confidence and security. The ability to live out His love is a sign of our faith in Him, and the way for us to follow His will in order to gain eternal rewards.
Fear is associated with punishment. The believer has been fully forgiven of sins. The one who knows Christ in true fellowship lives for Him and does not need to fear future punishment. The person who experiences fear “has not been perfected in love.” In other words, those who fear punishment don’t have a complete or mature relationship with God. This certainly applies to unbelievers, but can also include believers who are not growing in Christ. It is the growing, maturing believer who can look forward to the future with joy rather than fear.
No matter our worries, God already has a plan and He never leaves us to fend for ourselves.
Psalm 23:4 NIV. 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.
David could walk through a dark ravine, perhaps even death, fearlessly, because the Lord walked with him. David explains his lack of fear because “you are with me.” It is interesting to observe that the “shadow of death” drew David closer to the Lord. He addresses the Lord as “you,” whereas in the peaceful places he called the Lord “he.”
A shepherd in Bible times carried a rod and a staff to protect his sheep. The ”rod” was a cudgel: a short, thick, heavy stick similar to what modern people might call a “baton” or :mace”. This was worn at the shepherd’s belt. The staff was a long, lightweight pole with a curved end—a crook—that the shepherd used to move, count, and examine the sheep at evening when they returned to the fold.
Both the rod and staff were used as weapons to protect the sheep. David trusted the Lord to protect him, just as a shepherd protected his sheep from any attacking animals. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is with believers at all times (John 10:11, 14). He promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:20). He is with us when we walk over rough ground as surely as He is with us “beside still waters” (Psalm 23:2). Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
David celebrates the protection and guidance of God. Sheep guarded by a skilled shepherd are led to food and water, and protected from harm. In the same way, David praises God for giving him peace. The knowledge of God’s protection and provision are a great comfort. This psalm incorporates themes of supply, defense, assurance, and care from God.
David praises the Lord for delivering him from the Philistines, and he invites others to join him in singing joyfully to the Lord. He extols the virtue of fearing the Lord and remembering His goodness. He encourages the Lord’s people to respect God and offers wisdom leading to a long and blessed life. At the end of this psalm David emphasizes the distinction the Lord draws between the wicked and the righteous. He cares for the righteous and will not condemn them, but He condemns the wicked.
Remember Satan is the author of fear. Jesus was as much against fear as He was against sin. Many times He told people, “Don’t be afraid” (Fear not), Jesus said in John 14:27, “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.”
There are two things we must remember in relation to “fear”:
1. We should never take a decision based on fear, but always on the basis of faith in God.
2. Fear is Satan’s weapon. So all who try to frighten or threaten others in any way are actually in fellowship with Satan (even if they don’t know it). So we should never use that weapon on anyone (See Ephesians 6:10 and 2 Timothy 1:7).
Luke 10:19, NIV: “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
Lets look deeper into what Jesus says here.
After Jesus returned from the wilderness where he defeated satan in battle, he quickly gained a reputation for speaking and acting as “one with authority” (Luke 4:36). The centurion whose servant was healed by Jesus caused Jesus to marvel at his faith when he showed that he understood Jesus’ power to heal had to do with his authority over sickness (Matthew 8:5-13). His authority caused demons to scream out when Jesus was present, and then obey his commands. It caused sickness to go away. He demonstrated authority over the weather, and matter (at the feeding of the 5000), and even death submitted to Jesus. Jesus gave authority to the disciples and, by his Holy Spirit, has given the same authority to his Church today.
All the evil in the world, including death, sickness, and demonic oppression is the work of Satan and demons, i.e. “snakes and scorpions.” They bluster and rage in order to terrify the people of the world and sow fear and doubt, but the truth is that the least in the Kingdom of God has authority to “trample on them.”
Jesus left his Church to plunder Satan’s kingdom until the return of Christ. If only the Church could grasp this fact, there would be great swaths territory taken from the evil one. But the power of Satan in this age rests with his power to lie and deceive the world, even Christians into believing that his power is greater, and we are at his mercy. It is not true. We have the power of God because He has given it to us with his salvation and his Holy Spirit.
While we may face setbacks, the evil one has no real power to harm us. Ultimately, even if we are slain, we will rise again with Christ at the “last trumpet” (1 Corinthians 15:52). The worst that can happen on earth is that they may “kill the body” (Matthew 10:28), but fearing God rightly will give you courage that, ultimately, “nothing will harm you.”
You are no longer a slave to fear, you are a child of God.
Romans 8:15, NIV: The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’
Romans 8:15 describes how God has changed every Christian’s relationship with Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the previous verse, Paul wrote that all who are led by the Spirit of God are His children. Now he gets more specific. Earlier in this letter to the Romans, Paul wrote that through faith in Christ we are freed from slavery to sin and that we become “slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:18) or “slaves to God” (Romans 6:22). Paul is not backing away from that in this verse. The word used for slaves—“doulos”—describes what was once known as indentured service: when a person swore their allegiance to remain in the service of a specific master.
Here, though, Paul assures us that God does not view us as His slaves or even just good servants. He did not free us from slavery to sin simply to add us to His team. He rescued us from sin to make us His children. That involves the Holy Spirit.
God did not give us the spirit of slavery, by giving us the Holy Spirit. Abused slaves often live in fear of their masters, and that is not the relationship God wants from us. No, Paul insists, God gave us the Spirit of adoption as his children. In other words, God legally changed the status of those who come to Him by faith in Christ to sons and daughters.
This is not a distant or strained parent/child relationship, either. This Spirit of adoption, another name for the Holy Spirit, allows us to cry out to God as little children call out to a loving daddy. The word “Abba” is a Greek and English adaptation of the Aramaic word for father. It was often the word used by young children for “papa” or “daddy.” That’s the relationship God wants with us, and He has made it possible through the Spirit.
There is no condemnation for those in Christ, and nothing will ever be able to separate us from His love. Having believed the gospel, we now live in the Spirit of God. That allows us to call God Abba Father. We suffer with Christ, and we suffer along with all creation while we wait for God to reveal us as His sons and daughters. With the help of the Spirit, we are confident that God is for us and loves us in Christ.