- Without warning, a major client drops you.
- An evaluation process might undermine your work or position.
- Health challenges affect your productivity.
- New government regulations threaten your ability to stay afloat.
- A new boss brings changes that will threaten your position.
- Your parishioners don’t like your new direction and attendance drops.
Anon and anon…
When challenging situations provoke a reaction of fear, use the following questions to help navigate through emotions into a place of peace.
1) What’s the core reason behind my fear?
Find it in Genesis 3. Before the fall: no fear. After the fall: fear. Adam’s first emotional response toward God: “I was afraid because I was naked.” Adam was “found out.”
He no longer measured up. He didn’t have what it takes, and fig leaves could never hide the reality of his pitiful state before the eyes of God.
In modern life, the core reasons behind fear sound like this:
- Loss of security: I’ll lose my job and won’t be able to provide (I won’t have what it takes).
- Loss of significance: I’ll lose my position or reputation; They won’t like/respect me (I won’t measure up).
The first step to overcoming fear is realizing the truth: without Christ, we don’t have what it takes, and we don’t measure up. Period.
2) What does scripture say about my fear?
Fear is an emotional response, not a sin. But we have a choice. We can deal with fear in human strength, or we can deal with fear in Christ.
Dealing with fear in our own strength, we’ll get no further than Adam with the fig leaves. Again, in reality, we don’t measure up. We have nothing but flimsy fig leaves to hide behind, and they won’t hold up. Instead we need sheepskin leather produced by God’s own hand that pays the price for what we lack with His blood.
Because Jesus shed His blood and died in our place, we no longer have to fight fear on our own. We have a new reality. Jesus invites us as children of God into His family with full security and full inheritance. Here’s the new reality: in Christ, we do measure up as members of God’s household. If we submit our trust completely to Jesus, He establishes His government of peace in our leadership (Is 9:7).
3) What Truth of Christ will shatter the lie that feeds my fear?
It’s not a fairy tale. Jesus really does give us peace if we submit our fears to Him. Jesus really is the way to Father God, and Father God really does hold us in the palm of His hand if we choose to rest there. Nothing can separate us from His love, not tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword. Neither death nor life, governmental powers, nothing will separate us from the Love of the Father in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:35, 39). He really does speak to us. He really does guide us.
Even if we lose our positions, even if we lose their respect, even if everything we’ve been working toward collapses, if we put our entire weight on Christ, we rest secure in His provision and safety.
Sometimes trusting God is like jumping off a cliff where we can’t see the bottom. But He jumps with us and holds us all the way, bringing us to a better place than we could ever imagine.
Psalm 37; Proverbs 3:5-8; Isaiah 9:6-7; 35:3-4; Matthew 14:29; Luke 12:32; Romans 8:14-17; 35-39; Hebrews 11:8; Revelation 2:10