Day 41: Overcoming Fear
Fear is a powerful thing. It can drive us to do terrible things, or paralyze us into doing nothing. At some point or another in our struggle, fear has found its way in. Perhaps it was a fear of failing, a fear of being denied salvation, or a fear of being found out. Fear holds us back from the things that God has for us. The world has much to say about fear. But what is the right approach to fear as a follower of Christ? How do we overcome this condition that so often holds us back? God sums it up quite well through the writings of David:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. - Psalm 23:4
What is being said here by David in the book of Psalms is that there is no valley too deep and too dark that God is absent. No matter your struggle, no matter how far gone you think you are, God is bigger than your sin and you have nothing to fear.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. -2 Timothy 1:7
DEFINED BY GRACE
It is so easy for us to define ourselves by our sins, struggles, and even temptations. It is like being tempted to steal something and, before having done so, feel like you are a thief. We must reject the thought that the truest things about us is the nature of what we contend with. It is just as easy to get hindered by our fear, which only serves to drive us further into sin than we ever intended to go. David saw many dark days in his life. Not only did he suffer great loss, but he knew a lot about the shortcomings of this world and our flesh.
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. -Ecclesiastes 1:14
Solomon was a man who sought after pleasure for much of his life. His conclusion in the end was that apart from God, it was all meaningless. To clarify, Solomon declared that the pursuit of earthly things without God as the motivation is meaningless, not life itself. Sexuality is a good thing, but the pursuit of sexual pleasures outside God's plan will ultimately feel like "chasing the wind."
Contrast that to what god says about us in 2 Timothy. He declares through His word that we are not vessels of fear but of power, love and self-control. This spirit has been given to us freely and we must choose it to find life.
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. -Deuteronomy 30:19
Choosing life means putting aside your fleshly desires, as difficult as it has proven to be. Know that they will only drive you further into darkness. Sin is never satisfied, that one “innocent look” will grow enormously fast until it consumes you.
Know that in situations like what I just described, God has given you a spirit of power and a sound mind. You can overcome any temptation set before you. His word is clear on this, no temptation is uncommon to man:
Sometimes that way out is a literal door; other times it is a mental door. Either way, we ought to run when the time comes. Remember Joseph and Potipher's wife? He didn’t take a chance and ran from that situation. He had no fear of the consequences of leaving that temptation. Instead he took advantage of the gift of power that God had freely given him in that moment.
The questions at the end of each lesson are for your benefit and if you find yourself refusing to answer them then we need to revisit some of the earlier lessons. If we're implementing the biblical truths presented in this course thus far, we should struggle with sin no more. God’s desire for you is to be free of sin.
To overcome fear, consider the following:
- Redirect Your Thoughts
Fear grows in our mind over time. It is the culmination of all the ways we've imagined a situation or circumstance going wrong. Our automatic response to those thoughts is to avoidance. This leads to us avoiding situations altogether, which regarding sexual sin is most often centered around confessing our sins to someone close to us. Instead of avoiding the thoughts that lead us to fear, we need to redefine them by who we are in Christ. No longer are we humiliated and shamed before God. Through Jesus we are defined by grace. Turn fear-centered thoughts into grace-centered ones.
- Make a Plan
What is something in your life that you're afraid of doing or facing? What is driving that fear and what are the necessary steps to overcome it? Write out a plan of how you will step out in faith against that situation, whatever it may be. Once that plan is in place, share it with your accountability partner.
- Execute Your Plan
Everyone has good ideas when they're in the shower. Few step outside and do something about it. You've redefined your thought process and come up with a plan to face the situations you are most afraid of. Now it is time, with the help of your accountability partner, to step out in faith and execute that plan.
Day 41 Application
Has your sin led you to fear in the past? How can you overcome your fears?
Has your sin struggle felt like “chasing the wind” at times? How can you move forward in confidence instead of the fear of going in circles?
How can your relationship with God influence how you feel about your fears? Is there any part of yourself that you're afraid of God or others seeing?
Have you been honest and vulnerable with your accountability partner? Since the last lesson, how have you been with maintaining your sexual purity?