When Fear Paralyzes

“When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid” (1 Samuel 17:11).

In some instances, fear becomes our ally. For example, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). When our life gets threatened in any way, a proper fear can lead us to safety. But God warns us against a different sort of fear, one that cripples us, even to the point of complete inaction.

When Saul’s forces encountered the Philistine giant Goliath, they encountered a foe like none they had ever faced. He stood at an imposing height, and taunted the fear-stricken armies as they retreated in fear. The verse above does speak to this sort of fear.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Fear usually takes a life of its own when we focus on our circumstances. Some people perform certain calculations in their minds that can feed fear. “What will happen if I live out my faith in this secular workplace?” “If I discipline my children will they no longer like me?” Such fears only deepen when we give them unwarranted attention.

Of course, the Bible provides the remedy for fear:

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).

We should not shrink from admitting fears. Godly writers of the Psalms acknowledged their fears, but came to God for help. God will help us when we turn our fears over to Him:

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).

We should remember the fork in the road of fear: We can turn to the path of circumstances and allow fear to overwhelm us, or we can turn to God who will calm our hearts and fill us with faith and courage to fear God only.

On our own, we are not a match for the enemies we face. They will chew us up and spit us out. But with God we can overcome fears and perform deeds of faith. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).

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