The world is gripped with fear for many different reasons, such as life-threatening illness, losing your job, being deeply in debt, hounded by your creditors, arrested as a Christian or facing persecution along with many other problems can cause fear and if not dealt with in a biblical way can also cause depression. So as a Christian, how do you respond to fear in a biblical way? If you have a life-threatening illness, or lost your job or been arrested and cannot work or even facing persecution, you may feel as though you have lost everything and may even lose your life. You may feel helpless to provide for your love ones. You may need a complete re-orientation on how you have been looking at things. You may need what they call a reality check.
The Bible says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you,’ so we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” The reality, friend, is that you can take nothing with you and your life on this earth is just a puff of smoke – here today and gone tomorrow. So who are we to question God? If you keep your life free from the love of money and are content with what you have, then God promises to never leave you or forsake you. Can you lose everything and still be satisfied with God? Will you praise Him in the midst of your greatest trials? If you can, then you already know that God is with you. If you are unemployed, He is right there with you; if you are arrested and put in jail, He is right there with you; or if you are facing persecution, then He is right there with you – going through the same suffering. He is going through it with you just as He went through His own suffering on the cross. You are not going through it alone.
I will not be afraid. We have already learned that when we fear God we simply do not fear anything else. To fear God believes that He is in total control and that He is larger and more powerful than anything you can face in this life. I am sure that this was the attitude of the early Christian martyrs when they bravely stood their ground against their persecutors. Their tormentors were amazed at their resilience and their inner strength.
The Lord is my helper. God is in us through the Holy Spirit, helping us to overcome whatever obstacles that stand in our way, but be assured He always does it through truth and righteousness. The old nature will be tempted to take matters into its own hands, but we must resist allowing God through His Spirit to strategize our efforts. It is amazing testimony to recount how God pulled us out of a difficult situation and overcame what in the beginning appeared to be an insurmountable obstacle.
We have also learned that perfect love for God and others actually casts out fear. The more we love, the less we fear. It is quite impossible to love and fear something or someone at the same time. There are countless stories of old where the Christian martyr demonstrated a sincere love for their persecutors by forgiving them even at the point of death. This kind of love indeed cast out fear astonishing all those in attendance. There is no higher example than our Lord Jesus Christ who forgave those who persecuted Him moments before His death on a cross.
What can man do to me? The answer to this question is nothing! Man may kill you, but he will not take away your heavenly rewards. You are still destined for the throne. Your citizenship is still in heaven. Your eternal glory is beyond anything that you can even imagine. This is where you need to be focusing all of your attention, not on your present difficulty but on Christ the risen Lord and all that awaits you in glory. Remember Steven, the first Christian martyr, when he was being persecuted “…looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). When we keep God before us, we keep Satan behind us. The more we rely on Christ, the easier it becomes to withstand the pressures of life. You need to respond to your problems in a biblical way and if you don’t respond correctly, then chances are you will face depression falling once again into the snare of the devil. Listen to the Apostle Paul as he faced tremendous hardships and sufferings, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us” II Corinthians 1:8b-10 (italics are mine).
The Apostle relied on God, remembering all that God had done for him in the past. He reasoned quite correctly that if God had delivered him in the past, then he would continue to do so in the future even if it meant bringing him directly to heaven. He placed all of his hope and attention on the risen Lord. He could easily remember once when he was arrested in Philippi and put into jail that he and his companions were not depressed but sang praises unto the Lord, which led to a great miracle of deliverance for both him, his companions, and the jailer. (As you recall, the jailer and his whole household were saved.) Praise God, once again we see God has all the answers to our problems including fear that has caused many to slip into the pit of depression.
Taken in part from my book: “Stand Firm, Godly Counsel for the Last Days”
Copyright © 2013 Rev. Daniel W. Blair – Under the copyright law these articles may be used for nonprofit educational purposes. Please do so to strengthen your fellow believer to remain faithful to Jesus and obedient to His commandments.
These are only examples of Biblical Counseling for the Christian believer. Since the details of your situation are fact dependent, you should additionally seek the services of a Biblical Counselor in person along with the help of the Holy Spirit.