Category Archives: Fear

Fear The Solution

“Get up!” said Gideon. “The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.”

 

There is something that has changed. The change is found in Gideon. His words were divinely inspired. The stronghold in his heart had been destroyed! Gideon divides his men into three companies. Each man is given a trumpet and a jar with only a torch inside for the other. The army of God goes to war without weapons. They will fight an army of 135,00! They will stand in the strength of God alone.

 

Gideon tells his men to watch him, and follow his lead. It should be noted that these are not the words nor actions of Gideon when he was faced in the winepress. Gideon has become a courageous man. He is operating the strength and power of Almighty God Himself.

 

The men surround the Midian camp in the dark of night. They do as Gideon tells them.

 

When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.” Judges 7:18.

 

The blast of the trumpets startle the enemy, and the smash of jars expose blazing torches that encircle the Midianites in a ring of fire. Absolute chaos breaks out in the camp. God the Father is the mastermind behind this attack. The battle is the Lord’s, and the victory is seen.

 

Whenever you find yourself in a fearful situation, remember Gideon. You are not alone. Rely upon the Lord’s presence in your life. Focus on His strength in your life. Claim and memorize the promise in Isaiah 41:10. Make this part of your life.

 

There is a key passage that you should read and reread. In the blackness of the night, the Midianites attack each other. Note Judges 7:22. Brother against brother, and friend against friend. What would you do if you were terrorized? What would you do if there were no “Gideon” around? He relied upon the Lord totally. The Lord was Gideon’s shepherd. Gideon was told from the beginning that the Lord was with him. When you are stricken with fear, read Psalm 23. Follow the steps presented with each verse. This Psalm is full of truths we need to focus on in order to have the victory.

 

Certain situations make it possible for you to only read the beginning verses of Psalm 23. Other situations call for us to read the entire psalm. Become familiar with this psalm, and listen to the voice of God when you refer to it.

Move to an undistracted place. When fear begins to fester in your heart and mind, exchange panic for peace by focusing on this psalm.

Find out if this imagined fear or real fear. Pray for God’s guidance in this area. He will speak to you, and tell you what to do.

 

Finally, trust God to give you the victory. Ask God to reveal the source of your fear. Allow Him to help you deal with the matter. When God reveals this to you, pray Psalm 23.

 

You must remember that you have the victory through the Father. He will never leave you alone. He will guide you through the tough times.

 

Common Causes of Fear Part Two

Your Security Feels Threatened

 

-Financial security: “If I don’t do well on this presentation, I might lose my job. Then I won’t be able to support myself or my family.

 

-Physical safety: “If I drive too far from home, I might have an accident and even possibly be killed.”

 

-Physical health: “If I am not really careful about what I eat–or even touch–I may get sick…I could literally die!”

 

Your Solution

 

Learn that your security is in your personal relationship with the Lord.

 

“In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

Psalm 56:11

 

Common Causes of Fear

God gives Gideon his first directive. Those who are fearful can return home. Talking about separating the brave from the fearful! Gideon lost 22,000 men because of this directive. Although they had enough faith to fight–they could not fight fearlessly. This was a requirement from God. Fear contaminates faith. http://ref.ly/Dt20.1-4. See also verse 8 of this chapter.

 

10,000 remained in Gideon’s army, and that was still too many. http://ref.ly/Jg7.4

 

What makes the difference between situations that evoke no fear, and those situations that evoke great fear? The perception is the answer to this question. Gideon is not one of the fearful men who return home. An individual’s perception of a situation affects both the degree of the person’s fear (how much fear will the person feel) and the way they respond to that fear. This involves what the individual will do because of the fear.

 

Fear is a natural human reaction to feeling threatened. This manifests itself either physically or emotionally. It is manifested in three areas:

 

-love

-significance

-security

 

Your Love from Others Feels Threatened

 

-Primary relationship: “If I lose my marriage partner, I don’t know what I will do or how I can go on living.”

 

-Talents and abilities: “If I don’t do well enough, I’ll lose my friends. Then I’ll be all alone.”

 

There is no manifestation of faith and dependence upon the Lord in these statements. The cares of this world weigh the individual down.

 

-Physical attractiveness: “If I start looking older and put on weight, I will lose the affection I need so badly.”

 

-Position in a relationship: “If you spend time with other people, then you do not really love me.”

 

The Solution

 

The individual must learn that they are loved by the Lord beyond measure.

 

“As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.” Psalm 103:11

 

Your Significance Feels Threatened

 

-Identity: “If I lose my position at work, I will lose all that I have worked to achieve. Then what reason will I have to live?”

 

-Self-esteem: “If I embarrass myself in front of people, I will never be able to go back there–I’ll be too ashamed.”

 

-Reputation: “If anyone finds out about my compulsive habit, I’ll lose face with everyone.”

 

Self-fulfillment: “If I don’t complete my goals, my life will be a failure.”

 

Your Solution

 

Learn that you are so significant that the Lord chose to save you and has planned the future for you.

 

“God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2

 

Two Kinds of Anxiety

Gideon gradually came to realize that God’s call to a person is never dependent on that person’s strength or ability.

 

God’s call is determined by His own plan and power. We are asked to respond with faith in His strength. It should be noted that the more Gideon comes to believe God’s plan by faith, the more he is able to go forth in complete faith. He is able to follow God’s plan for the future. Though he is initially afraid, he moves forward in faith! This is how we should walk when God’s plan is revealed to us about our lives. Though we realize that we cannot do it alone, our faith will grow in God. We will be able to face anything that the devil may throw in our way.

 

Fear can do one of two things: paralyze or mobilize. Paralyzing brings doubt of God wants to do through us. We may fear that the problems will never change. Negative doubt-filled messages could have played over and over in his mind. It would have been like a broken record, but Gideon did not let it happen. If this would have been the case, his response might have been would have been “mighty warrior?–not a chance!”

 

Just like Gideon experienced a time of anxiety, we are subject to these times as well. Anxiety is not to be feared. It must be understood and be used as a prompt to trust in the Lord all the more. The Bible advises the following:

 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Trust in God; trust also in me.”

John 14:1

 

Moderate Anxiety

 

Normal, fearful concern–can be healthy and helpful.

-It motivates us and leads to increased efficiency.

-It forces us out of our “comfort zone.”

-It can cause us to live dependently on the Lord.

 

Notice what the psalmist says:

 

“When anxiety was great within me,

your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

Psalm 94:19

 

Intense Anxiety

 

Abnormal fearful obsession–is more profound and problematic.

-It makes our concentration difficult.

-It causes us to be forgetful.

-It hinders our performance.

-It blocks our communication with others.

 

Notice Solomon who is known as the wisest man on earth said:

 

“Banish anxiety from your heart.”

Ecclesiastes 11:10

 

Question:

I have had a number of panic attacks and thought I was going to die. How can I overcome my irrational fear of death?

 

Answer:

You can experience peace–a lasting peace–when you realize that you have absolutely no control over the moment of your death. Based on the Bible, God has already determined the exact number of your days on earth. Therefore, face the fact of your death head-on. You must say the following to the Lord:

 

-“I choose to trust You with Your perfect plan for my life…and my death.”

-“I yield my will to your will.”

-“Thank you for giving me Your perfect peace.”

 

“All the days ordained for me were

written in your book before one of them

came to be.”

Psalm 139:16

 

“Man’s days are determined; you have

decreed the number of his months

and have set limits he cannot exceed.”

Job 14:5

 

 

Fear and Anxiety

This devotional will discuss anxiety, which is a part of fear. Here is the definition according to Webster’s New World Dictionary:

 

Anxiety–Worry or uneasiness about what may happen.

 

After the heavenly messenger delivers his first instructions, Gideon responds with questions. He says, “If the Lord is really with us, why has all this evil happened?” He goes on to make a point concerning himself. If God wants a deliverer, he is not the one for this job. He considers himself least of all his tribe. He belongs to the weakest of his clan, and he is in the smallest tribe of Manasseh. He wants to know how can he “save Israel”.

 

The reason behind this reaction can be found in the facts concerning the Midianites–Israel’s enemy. Gideon knows they have a new weapon, which enables them to make “swift, long-range” attacks. Their attacks would cause the Israelites to be virtually powerless. What is the weapon–the camel!

 

Without food or water and with heavy loads, camels could cover 300 miles in 3 or 4 days. When harvest time came, the Midianites could quickly cover the land “like swarms of locusts.” The Midianite troops and camels were innumerable. These swarms of people strip the land of the Israelites. They leave the land bare, and return when there is a new harvest.

 

In order to deal with this, Israel has men threshing meager amounts of grain in a winepress. They were hiding food, and they lived in caves and dens. This makes Gideon fearfully anxious. He is completely persuaded that

 

“The Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian” Judges 6:13. Gideon constant fear has anxiety as a close relative.

 

  • Anxiety in the psychological/psychiatric world is the “umbrella” word, which covers varying degrees of worry and fear. It ranges from mild to extreme.
  • Anxiety is an uneasiness or distress over a threat or something unknown and is characterized by extreme worry or brooding fear.
  • Anxiety stems from uncertainty–hoping something will happen, but having no guarantee that it will…or fearing something will happen, but having no control over whether it will or not.
  • Anxiety can lead to “catastrophic thinking” overestimating the likelihood of danger or a negative outcome.
  • Anxiety becomes a “disorder” when it becomes so intense that it dominates a person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. This prevents a person from living a normal life.

Anxiety presents itself in the following disorders:

 

-Phobias

-Panic disorders

-Obsessive-compulsive disorders

-Anxiety due to a medical condition

-Post-traumatic stress disorder

-Acute stress disorder

-Generalized anxiety disorder

-Substance-induced anxiety

 

Fear: Normal vs. Abnormal

Gideon’s fear is understandable. His enemy is real. His life is in real danger. He has “normal” fear. God has proven Himself to be powerful and trustworthy. God does not deny Gideon’s fear and the dilemma he faces. To God this is not a problem. Fear and abnormal fear is not beyond God’s ability to resolve.

 

Normal Fear

 

The usual question concerning fear and believers is: Why would God give us the emotion of fear if it could be detrimental to us? The answer can be found in another question: “If at this moment you were surprised by an assailant with a knife in his hand, would you want the benefits of fear? The benefits are listed below:

 

Apprehension

To proceed with caution

Breathing increased

To deliver more oxygen to the body

Energy

To provide the fuel to take immediate action

Heart rate increased

To fuel your muscles with blood

Hyperalterness

To increase awareness of danger

Mind racing

To provide options to consider

Muscles contracting

To prepare for the “fight or flight” reaction

Perspiration increased

To cool the body down and prevent overheating

Pupils dilated

To increase vision, especially at night.

Senses heightened

For the purpose of dealing with the feared object.

Sleep lessened

To provide more “awake” time.

Talking increased

To aid in communication about the problem.

 

Abnormal Fear

 

The level of fear is way out of proportion to the actual situation. In fact, the fear may be totally unrelated to the situation. This kind of fear can result in a panic attack. The person with this kind of fear can identify with this anguished cry…

 

Psalm 55:4-7 (KJV)
(4) My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. (5) Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. (6) And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. (7) Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.”

People with abnormal fear are not as afraid of the object of their fear as they are of the symptoms of their fear. [Phobia Center of the Southwest, “Agoraphobia,” 1990, n.d.] This is great fear. An individual experiences a panic attack when 4 or more of the following symptoms occur and reach a pick within 10 minutes or less. The body cannot sustain the “fight or flight” for longer than that time.

 

Please Note: This is an abbreviated list of symptoms.

 

Chest pain or discomfort.

Feeling like you are having a heart attack.

Chills or hot flashes.

Feeling like you must get to the hospital.

Choking sensation, difficulty swallowing (feeling like your throat is closing in on you.

Cold hands, tingling sensation.

Feeling like you are going numb.

Detached sensation.

Feeling like you are losing touch with reality or yourself

Dizziness, lightheaded.

Feeling like you are going to faint.

Fear of losing control

Feeling like you are going crazy.

Hyperventilating, shortness of breath.

Feeling like you are smothering.

Trembling or shaking.

Feeling like you are doomed.