Christians Managing Fear

nervousAre you the sort of person who worries a lot? Are you afraid of a lot of things? Do you have uncontrollable nervous habits? No doubt about it, the world can be a scary place these days, for Christians and non-believers alike. But some people live with more fear than others. This is a mostly a function of natural disposition and one’s life experiences, especially for non-believers. However, many believers do live in constant fear as well. On the other side of the coin, we all know people who go through life without a care in the world. Even when they face problems that would likely send our blood pressure to the moon, they just blow it all off, trusting things will all work out. Is it better to be that way? What does the Bible say about all this?

First off, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to worry about whether or not bad things are going to happen to you as a Christian. They are. Jesus promised this in John 16:33. Notice, however, that he also tells us to take heart. In Acts 14:22, the Apostles affirmed that the price of the Kingdom of God is a certain amount of suffering. This is actually good news to us worry-warts. We don’t need to concern ourselves over the possibility of having serious problems – they’re coming! We can count on them. But we have the Lord, who promised to help us get through them.

Jesus had a lot to say about worrying in Matthew 6:25-34. He is speaking to his followers in this passage. We are specifically instructed not to worry about provisions. God promises to take care of that. We should walk in faith and understand that God feeds, clothes, and houses us. I can personally testify to this in my own life. My wife and I are constantly amazed at our above-water financial status in this society where expenses are out of control and growing worse all the time. We have come to the conclusion that the Lord is multiplying the fish and loaves at our house. It is the only possible explanation for our continued prosperity; therefore, we refuse to get out a calculator and actually add things up, as that would be akin to David’s sin of taking the census in 2 Samuel 24 in our eyes.

Notice also in Matthew 6:34 that we are told not to worry about tomorrow, either, as each day has enough trouble of its own. Boy, is that ever true, huh? I will be the first to admit this is easier said than done. However, I have discovered a trick for managing fear that has done wonders for me, and I will share it with you in a moment.

Let us now briefly consider the extreme opposite, someone who never worries about anything, especially a believer who just figures God will handle everything for them. Is this a correct Biblical stance? No! In fact, I see it as nothing more than a cheap cop-out for slothful behavior. We are told in many, many places in the Bible that hard work and diligence are wise behavior and appreciated by God. Slothfulness is condemned in the Bible, and considered a great sin.

One of the Ten Commandments is not to tempt the Lord. Not checking your side view mirror before changing lanes is just plain foolish behavior. Nearly every chapter in the book of Proverbs affirms that God has no appreciation for foolish behavior. 1 Timothy 5:8 is an often quoted verse in support of the concept of home self-defense for Christians. Of course, we should also never forget Psalm 127:1. Get right with God, but keep that Louisville Slugger behind the front door. Pray you will never have to use it, and you probably won’t.

That brings us to my solution. There is only so much we can do to protect ourselves from calamity, but we need to be diligent and do that part. Give the rest to the Lord. This is how you can walk confidently through life. Don’t be a careless person. Be prudent. Be careful. Take reasonable precautions to protect yourself, your family, your assets, your income. Leave the rest to God and go forth with confidence. You cannot get hurt with this formula, not in the long run, anyway. Romans 8:28 promises us that.

When trouble finds you, and it will, my favorite pastor once said, “Do the absolute best you can in dealing with it, then hand the rest over to the Lord and stop worrying about it.” That is everything we can do, isn’t it? Whatever happens next is God’s will.

One thing we certainly shouldn’t worry about is death. That is a glorious event for Christians. Just get your affairs in order now, so those left behind who are affected by it will have the easiest possible time coping.

Now, about curing fear and nervousness. The answer is to get closer to God. The way we do that is through daily Bible reading and prayer. I heard a famous preacher on the radio last week ask his audience to give themselves a score from 1 to 10 on how much of a worrier they are (a 1 being not at all and a 10 being a constant basket-case). Your score, he said, is a direct reflection of how much time you spend in prayer. The higher your score, the less time you are spending. The solution is obvious – isn’t it?

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