When I ask, “What are you afraid of?” I’m asking, “What is it that immobilizes you? What is stealing your joy and destroying your hope? What is robbing you of sleep, night after night? What keeps you from living by faith and being a risk taker? What keeps you from giving your life wholly to a loving God who wants nothing but the best for you?”
I think I know the answers to these questions, at least in part, because I’ve lived shoulder to shoulder with a lot of mature Christian people my entire life. And I’ve been a pastor to thousands for nearly five decades.
I’ve discovered that everybody—including me—is afraid of something. Our challenge is to discover and analyze our fears and find a godly (biblical) response to them.
When the apostle Paul was giving counsel to Timothy, his young protégé, he knew Timothy was afraid of something—probably of his assignment to lead the large church in Ephesus.
Timothy was raised in a small town in Asia Minor, and Ephesus was the big city. Paul himself had spent three years in Ephesus, building up the church there. It was led by a strong group of elders, yet false teachers were causing trouble. And Timothy was supposed to go in and be the leader of the whole thing.
What young pastor wouldn’t have felt fear at the prospect?
So what did Paul tell Timothy? “Your fear is not from God. What do come from God are power, love, and a stable mental attitude” (2 Timothy 1:7, my paraphrase).
Paul knew that when we get God’s perspective on the source of our fear, we can set aside what is not from Him and embrace what is.
In all my years of following Christ, studying the Bible, and pastoring well-intentioned Christians, I have yet to find a fear for which God does not have an answer.
And the reason is simple: God Himself is the answer to all our fears.
Think about it—fear is almost always based on the future. Sometimes we’re afraid because we know what’s coming in the future. But more commonly, we’re afraid of what we don’t know about the future. We’re afraid of what might happen.
For instance, the Gallup organization asked thirteen-to seventeen-year-olds what they were most afraid of. In descending order, the top ten fears of these teens were terrorist attacks, spiders, death/being killed, not succeeding in life/being a failure, war, heights, crime/violence, being alone, the future, and nuclear war.
Notice that all these fears are future focused and all are merely “maybes.” These teens may encounter none of them. Whether the future is just a minute from now (you’re waiting on a doctor’s diagnosis) or five years from now (you worry about having enough money for retirement), fear’s home office is the future.
But what is the future to God? To Him the future is now! We live inside time while God, who made it, lives outside it. We know relatively little about the future, while God knows everything about it.
All the events in our lives occur in two time frames: past and future. (The present is a continuously fleeing, infinitesimal moment that becomes past even before we can define it.) God, on the other hand, has only one frame of reference: the eternal now, in which He sees and knows everything, including the future.
That’s why God is the answer to all our fears.
Dr. David Jeremiah serves as senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California. He is the founder and host of Turning Point, a ministry committed to providing Christians with sound Bible teaching relevant to today’s changing times through radio and television, the Internet, live events, and resource materials and books. A bestselling author, Dr. Jeremiah has written more than forty books, including Captured by Grace, Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World, What in the World Is Going On?, The Coming Economic Armageddon, and God Loves You—He Always Has. He Always Will.
Dr. Jeremiah’s commitment to teaching the complete Word of God continues to make him a sought-after speaker and writer. His passion for reaching the lost and encouraging believers in their faith is demonstrated through his faithful communication of biblical truths.
A dedicated family man, Dr. Jeremiah and his wife, Donna, have four grown children and eleven grandchildren.
Learn more about Dr. David Jeremiah here