Recently, it seems that many folks are experiencing fear or anxiety of one sort or another. It certainly has crept up on me a time or two! Admittedly, the world we live in gives us lots of reasons to fear. Nevertheless, the scriptures tell us that fear of anything (other than the sovereign authority of YHVH) has no place in the life and emotions of a believer.
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for YHVH thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deut 31:6)
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful [trustingly obedient] unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Yeshua, Rev 2:10)
Understand the Source
Fear, worry, despair and anxiety are signals that we have lost trust in YHVH’s Perfect Love and Sufficiency and that we are relying on our own resources to meet the threat. . . . This shows that we have not fully experienced [or have forgotten] His perfect love. (1John 4:18)
Fear is the underlying basis of worry and anxiety and despair. These emotions arise when the flesh (which always wants to be in control) is exploited by the enemy. He whispers to us that God does fail and He has forsaken us, and that we must take matters into our own hands. He whispers that we don’t really have God’s favor, and we don’t really understand what God wants from us, so “we’re gonna get it all wrong.” He whispers that our faith is too weak and we will fail. He whispers that God hasn’t heard our prayers and doesn’t care. He whispers that those we love will think we’re self-righteous or foolish if we do what God instructs. Pick your lie – there are many more!
When I fall for the lie, I abandon the impregnable fortress of YHVH’s love and sufficiency, and I try to find my own resolution to the matter at hand. Then fear arises because I instinctively know that my own resources are completely inadequate!
Just saying “I trust God” isn’t enough…
When fear, worry, despair and anxiety show their ugly heads, I am learning to immediately stop to consider the cause and source (I have succumbed to the weakness of the flesh and the lies of the enemy) and drop at the Father’s feet in repentance, acknowledging His trust-worthiness, and recommitting myself to TRUST Him.
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. . . . . Such love has no fear, because [YHVH’s] perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced [or have forgotten] His perfect love. (1 John 4: 16, 18 NLT)
And we know that all things [even difficult and painful experiences] work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28)
According to these passages, if we have truly experienced His amazing Love, we will have no problem believing that He loves us and that ALL things work together for our good. When we have confidence in His sufficiency, fear has no handhold in our lives.
- Concern, yes.
- Caution, yes.
- Prayerful watching, yes.
- Fear and anxiety – NO.
My response to fear and anxiety must be to remind myself of His faithful and sufficient Love, and to declare and commit to obedient love in return. As I said at the beginning of this article:
“Fear, worry, despair and anxiety are signals that we have lost trust in YHVH’s Perfect Love and Sufficiency and that we are relying on our own resources to meet the threat. . . . This shows that we have not fully experienced [or have forgotten] His perfect love. (1John 4:18)”
Consider: The first and most important commandment is to love YHVH with all our hearts, strength and minds. (Deut 6:5, Matt 22:37) But love is a reciprocal arrangement. “We love Him because He first loved us.” (1John 4:19) Thus we must ask ourselves: Is it possible to return YHVH’s Love if we have not first experienced His Love? I think not… Our human love is far too selfish and self-serving to satisfy our Holy Yah. We must learn to love with His Love, which we can’t do until we have experienced His Love.
Let’s Get Practical
The first concern is to determine whether or not we really have experienced His Love. If there is ANY doubt on that matter, our first priority must be to do whatever it takes to break down whatever barrier may be keeping us from experiencing His Love. Study, fasting, prayer, repentance, dancing on one foot while eating jello – whatever it takes, whatever the cost! If we are willing to pay any price for the precious Pearl of His Love and Truth, He WILL respond. He has given EVERYTHING to prepare a way for us to have a relationship with Him – should we not be willing to do the same? (Be forewarned – He has neither time nor patience for those who are self-serving. Be serious about honoring HIM, not focused on making yourself feel better. You were created for HIS pleasure, not Him for yours. )
Once we have experienced His Love, we will never forget it!! We may have to be reminded from time to time, but once reminded, we will be overwhelmed with gratitude and anxious to get back to that Amazing Love! I speak from experience, and most of my readers can confirm it from their own experience.
Lack of Trust is a Form of Idolatry
It was shocking to realize that when I choose fear, worry or anxiety, I am practicing a form of idolatry! Since fear is a sign that I am trusting in my own inadequate resources, it means that I am looking to myself or others as ‘little gods,’ and denying the sovereign rights of my Creator!
Fear, worry, anxiety and despair are emotional CHOICES made in response to events in life. When I choose fear and anxiety over trust, I am in sin and I’m missing the mark – I have chosen to believe that YHVH doesn’t really love me and/or that He can’t really meet my need. In reality, I can just as easily choose to TRUST Him!
The scary thing to realize is that it was lack of trust in YHVH’s trust-worthy Love that got the first generation of the Exodus Israelites locked out of the Promised Land (I think there is some important symbolism there!). In fact, it is lack of trust in His trust-worthy Love that grieves and angers the Father more than any other sin!
After all, He has PROVEN His Love in many ways, most especially by giving His Son in our behalf! We insult Him when we doubt His loving provision.
But without faith [actions based on trust] it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is [He is the All Mighty YHVH], and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Heb 11:6 NKJV)
Worry and Anxiety are Insulting to YHVH
In the time of the Exodus, YHVH worked a continuous series of incredible miracles in behalf of the children of Israel, proving many times over His ability and dependability to care for them. Despite His loving care, they, like we often do today, clung to the flesh and worried and became anxious over their futures:
They insulted God, saying, “Is God really able to give us food in the wilderness?” . . . When YHVH heard this, he was furious. A fire broke out against Jacob, and his anger flared up against Israel, because they did not have faith in God, and did not trust his ability to deliver them.. (Psalm 78: 19, 21-22)
And who was it who rebelled against God, even though they heard his voice? Wasn’t it the people Moses led out of Egypt? And who made God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it the people who sinned, whose corpses lay in the wilderness? And to whom was God speaking when he took an oath that they would never enter his rest? Wasn’t it the people who disobeyed him? So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest. [Their actions betrayed lack of trust in His trust-worthy Love]. (Heb 3: 16-19 NLT)
But YHVH said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!” (Num 20:12 NLT)
We Are Not Slaves to Fear
Here is the hard truth: If fear in any shape is ruling us, it does so only with our permission. YHVH has given us every possible assurance and proof of His Love and Sufficiency, both in His Word and in our own lives. Either we accept and act on the reality of that Love and Sufficiency, or we doom ourselves to a life and an eternity apart from Him, ruled by fear. We will not enter His rest. Period. Our choice.
However, when we choose to trust YHVH, it becomes a demonstration of love that “covers a multitude of sins.” (1Pet 4:8) When we demonstrate by our actions that we “trust His ability to deliver” us, we are taking action to maintain relationship with YHVH, and in return, He lavishes His care and protection on us!
When we accept His proofs and are convinced of His trust-worthy Love and provision, we will find that fear really is ‘cast out’ and expelled from our lives! We become confident because of the all-powerful and all-loving One who watches over us. He Who is in us really IS greater than he who is in the world! (1John 4:4)
More Practical Approaches
A good way to remind ourselves of His Love and sufficiency is to use the Blue Letter Bible or some other resource to look up all the verses that employ words like love, trust, faith, faithful, believe, defend, provide, provision, courage, etc. Such verses are everywhere in scripture! As we meditate on them and remember the times when Abba has demonstrated the truth of those verses in our own lives, we are able to lay aside fear, worry, anxiety and despair and rejoice in His immeasurable love and sufficiency! Here are just a very few:
But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. (Psalm 5:11)
YHVH redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned. (Psalm 34:22 NKJV)
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. . . . In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me? (Psalm 53:6, 11)
YHVH is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. (Nah 1:7)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Pet 5:7)
Cast your cares on YHVH and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)
If fear, despair, worry, anxiety or even doubt continue to haunt you, memorize some of these verses and speak them aloud in your prayer closet. These verses aren’t magic charms, but hearing them from our own mouths often helps us to internalize them and become ready to act on them.
Examine your current actions and decisions. Determine whether or not they show evidence of trust in Yah’s Love and Sufficiency. If they do, relax and praise Him! If they don’t, revamp your course of action and DO the trusting thing, even if it scares you to death. You will be amazed at the results!
A few months ago, my husband and I were faced with the possibility that Abba was asking us to leave our home and family and move to a potentially dangerous (and definitely uncomfortable) country for an undetermined length of time – perhaps permanently.
Hubby was fine with the idea. Not me. My initial reaction was fear! “No Way!!! Dangerous! Scary! I don’t want to be away from my kids! No money!! Too many obstacles!”
My response was anything but trusting!
The first choice I had to make was whether to submit my fear to Abba or to simply dismiss the whole matter out of hand, thereby taking charge of my own life and removing myself from fellowship with Him. Even if I chose to submit my fear to Abba, there was the genuine risk was that I might really have to move to that far-away country. At the time, neither choice sounded too spiffy….
I chose to repent and ask the Holy Spirit to confirm to me that this move was His desire and not some crazy death wish at work. I did my best to set my fear aside and went into prayer, affirming my trust in Yah’s Loving Plan for me. It took more than a week of constant prayer (and I do mean CONSTANT!!), but finally I was able to confidently perceive the Spirit’s confirmation that Abba really wanted me to make this move.
At this point, I had to make another choice: Either TRUST Abba and step out in obedience, or separate myself from Him and do what I had wanted to do (stay where I was!).
I praise Him that, once I was confident of what He wanted me to do, it became a thrill and a joy to do it!! That is one of the wonderful benefits of persistent obedience. After a few experiences of trusting Abba in really difficult times, you discover that trusting Him in impossible circumstances becomes the source of greater joy and blessing than you’ve ever experienced before, so the hardest times become the most cherished times!
Having made the choice of obedience, there were still lots of obstacles – especially family responsibilities and financial issues. Just to make sure we were really ‘on board,’ Abba also asked us to make that move within a ridiculously short period of time – certainly not enough time to get the necessary money together.
However, relying on past experiences with Abba, hubby and I went ahead and bought one-way plane tickets – with an arrival date one day before Abba’s deadline. We obeyed because we trusted that He had a good reason for the deadline. (He did!)
No sooner had we purchased the tickets than Abba began throwing money at us! Have you ever heard of Social Security insisting that you take thousands of dollars from them, and even giving you a letter confirming that the money is yours and you will not have to repay it? That’s what Social Security did for us! And there were other such wonders!
It would take a small book to tell the rest of the story, but the short version is this: We are now in Aqaba, Jordan with all our needs met and experiencing great joy and blessing!! Abba is TRUSTWORTHY!!
But we would never have had that joy or blessing without the certainty of Abba’s LOVE for us. The certainty of His sufficient Love truly does cast out all fear!
A Prayer of Repentance and an Avowal of Love and Trust
Abba, please forgive me for the times that I have allowed fear, worry, anxiety and despair to rule my heart and guide my actions.
Please forgive me for insulting you when I forgot that you love me with a Love that surpasses all understanding, and that you will never fail me nor forsake me.
Thank you for not casting me aside in anger! Thank you for all your loving reminders to cast all my cares upon YOU.
I have thought on all that you have already done in me and for me, and I am ashamed that I have ever questioned your ability or desire to bring me through any situation, no matter how difficult. I am ashamed that I have ever questioned your desire to do what is best for me and for your Kingdom. You truly are sufficient for all my need (2 Co 3:5).
Abba, take my thoughts captive – alert me when I am thoughtlessly surrendering to doubt or fear. Please remind me of your trustworthiness when my flesh is weak or I am tempted to listen to the enemy.
Thank you, Abba, for your forgiveness through Yeshua Messiah! In Him alone is my hope for your Grace and Mercy!
Now I choose to lay aside all fear, worry and anxiety – I trust You! You have proven your Love for me — May all my words and actions be living proof of my love and trust in YOU.
I praise You, because now my heart can sing and be joyful, knowing that YOU are in control!! Hallelu Yah! Amen!
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear [of punishment] again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship [you are loved by the Father]. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Rom 8:15)
© Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, 2015. Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Lamb’s Servant Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.