Fear: Help & Cure

Fear, Phobias, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Christian Help

By Grantley Morris

Afraid










Net-Burst.Net









Afraid?









Phobias









Fears









Post Traumatic Stress Disorder









PTSD









Cure









Christian Help









It might be a phobia or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or an anxiety disorder, but fear not only torments and cripples, it floods its victims with feelings of defeat; often shaming them into silence about the full extent of their fear. With so many people desperately trying to keep others from knowing how afraid they are, the result is a nasty vicious circle in which those worthy of our compassion feel more alone and abnormal than ever.

Fear is not only highly distressing in itself, fearing something that most people are unafraid of can make one feel not just a loser but a freak subject to ridicule and scorn. Especially if you are a man, it makes you feel a failure, since one of the lies perpetuated about men is that real men are not human enough to suffer fear. It can even make one feel a failure as a Christian.

So before tackling fear itself, I long to soothe the devastating feelings of shame, inferiority and condemnation that so often follow fear, like an infection following a wound and making an already crippling injury even worse. Approaching the topic from this direction will also help us understand the true nature of fear.

[Man crying]

Go Easy on Yourself: It Helps

Before letting anyone condemn you by piously quoting, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear,”(2 Timothy 1:7) remember that this same anointed Apostle wrote:

    1 Corinthians 2:3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.

    2 Corinthians 7:5 For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn conflicts on the outside, fears within .

    Galatians 4:11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. (Emphasis mine)

Fear is basically a strong temptation. Like all temptation, we can cave into it, or stagger on regardless. Not even our holy Lord avoided strong temptation. Indeed, since “he himself suffered when he was tempted” (Hebrews 2:18) and “has been tempted in every way, just as we are,” (Hebrews 4:15) he whose sweat was like blood (Luke 22:44) must surely have suffered horrific fear.


One of many reasons why you could be quite unjustly condemning yourself for being afraid is that you might otherwise be healthy and have an undiagnosed medical condition causing you to be excessively anxious/afraid. I won’t dwell on this, but it would be cruelly negligent of me not to draw your attention to this very real possibility.

Don’t be too hasty in dismissing this as inapplicable to you. This biochemical or neurological disorder is far more common than is generally realized. For example, just one way in which it can manifest itself is as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Even though two or three people in every hundred suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, studies indicate that in the United States it takes an average of nine years from the onset of the disorder for people to receive even a correct diagnosis and, amazingly, a further eight years before they are suitably treated. Other ways that medically-induced anxiety can manifest itself is by Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, phobias and so on.

Paranoia induced by a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia is totally different but remains another example of fear that strikes people regardless of how macho or devout or intelligent they are. To lack compassion for people with such illnessness is as despicable as throwing stones at someone for being born a redhead. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” warned our Savior (Matthew 7:1).

Then there’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which leaves trauma victims continually on-edge about the possibility of a repeat. People who can’t understand how trauma can have this effect are displaying not their mental toughness but their ignorance.

”*

One of the greatest ways to honor God is to trust him. Thankfully, however, our wonderful Lord fully knows us. He understands better than we do that trusting him is so much harder for those whose trust has been violated by key people in their life – especially if it happened repeatedly during their tender, most impressionable years.

Simply having more fear or doubt than other Christians you know is not an acceptable reason for despising oneself. The devil is the Christian’s accuser (Revelation 12:10). Trying to make you feel bad about yourself is part of his job description. So let’s not put him out of a job by doing it for him.

Not even Jesus could avoid temptation, and the devil is cunning enough to particularly target us in whatever areas we seem to him to be most vulnerable. That will vary from person to person. Those who suffer fewer attacks than you in the area of fear or doubt are sure to have far greater battles than you in some other realm – chemical dependence or debt or anger or lying or pride or some uncommon secret sin you would never guess. Just because the areas in which you are most attacked differ from someone else is no reason for feeling either superior or inferior.

In most cases, when people seem to have greater faith than you, it is just an illusion. People can seem to have rock-solid faith in God’s provision when they have $10,000 in the bank and have never lacked. Put them $10,000 in debt with angry creditors after them and most people’s supposed faith will turn out to be largely hot air. Anyone can seem to be filled with the peace of God until they are mugged three times, been raped and suffered home invasions.

”*

Since you alone can experience exactly what you are feeling, suffering any unpleasant feeling such as fear, pain and grief, can be very isolating.

If you had blood gushing out of massive wounds, you would have almost everyone’s sympathy but if there were no obvious injury – such as chronic back pain – the extent to which people believe you and sympathize will be much more variable.

With no one but God able to get inside you and literally feel your terror, you are left wide open to being misunderstood and feeling devastatingly alone. And this is precisely what the enemy of our souls lusts for. Let’s briefly explore this supernatural angle.

Our spiritual enemy is like a hungry lion that does not attack an entire flock but strives to isolate one sheep from the flock before attacking it. But the enemy we face employs this tactic with more intelligence than any lion. He is the master of psychological warfare, seeking to weaken us by telling us over and over and over that we are pathetic, useless, and so on. His most potent weapon, however, is condemnation. What makes condemnation so dangerous is that it deceives us into feeling cut off, not just from other Christians, but from God, our protector.

Since we all tend to shrink from anyone we suspect thinks negatively of us, if we slip into the satanic snare of supposing that our fear causes Christians and God himself to think poorly of us, we will begin to see little point in staying close to the flock and to the Shepherd and so tend to drift from them, thus making ourselves highly vulnerable to spiritual attack.

So in addition to significant natural reasons for feeling isolated and putting oneself down, there are strong reasons for expecting to have malicious, supernatural help in feeling this way.

? ? ?

Understanding Fear

Many of us find it particularly difficult to have fear-crushing faith. To understand this we must understand the nature of fear.

For our protection, fear spreads beyond the specific. If you were almost killed by a snake, it is not enough protection to fear that specific snake from now on. You need to be wary of all venomous creatures. But if you were alone in a foreign jungle, how would you know what to avoid? That’s how fear operates. It does not know where to draw the line and acts as if you were alone, cut off from all other knowledge.

Fear is dominated by personal experience and finds it nearly impossible to benefit from other sources of information, no matter how reliable and useful those sources are. Despite your intellect telling you it is idiotic, you are therefore likely to end up feeling ill at ease about harmless snakes, legless lizards, eels and so on, just because of a bad experience with a certain snake.

This is also how it is with our feelings towards God. Having been let down and deeply hurt by humans – especially during our formative years – causes our fear to spread from certain unscrupulous people all the way to God himself. This fear persists despite our intellect telling us that God is not subject to human failings.

Just as it is possible, but far from easy, for someone terrified of snakes to overcome an irrational fear of harmless snakes, so it is possible, but far from easy, to overcome the groundless fear that God might be as unreliable as other key people in our lives.

”*

If you battle fear, you stand in holy company. I won’t even attempt to list all the Old Testament saints who had to be urged not to fear, and we are well aware of how all of Jesus’ disciples fled and/or denied him. Let’s move to Spirit-filled apostles:

    2 Corinthians 7:5 For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn – conflicts on the outside, fears within.

Yes, “fears within,” says Paul of himself and his anointed companions as they served in the center of God’s holy will. “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life,” writes this outstanding man of faith (2 Corinthians 1:8).

Twice in the one prayer request, the great apostle sought prayer that he might not cave into fear:

    Ephesians 6:19-20 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly . . . (Emphasis mine)

And with all the times that Paul got beaten for preaching, he had plenty to fear. He even had reason to fear going from point A to point B. If some people today have a fear of flying, remember that travel was so much more dangerous in Paul’s time that not only did he write that he had been shipwrecked three times and once spent a day and a night in the open sea, he had at least another shipwreck to go (2 Corinthians 11:25; Acts 27:41). Divine protection might have kept him alive but it did not prevent harrowing experiences. And in the next verse he wrote of being “in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits . . .”

Frankly, the average Christian has weird ideas of what it means to be truly spiritual and divinely favored. The holy Son of God, of course, is the most Spirit-filled, not-of-this-world, apple-of-God’s-eye person ever to wear human flesh and yet not even he floated on some sort of spiritual equivalent of a drug-induced haze that insulated him from the devastating emotional intensity of life’s blows. Far from being granted super-human power to endure, the divine miracle worker who brought the supernatural into the lives of many failed even to drag his cross the required distance.

Despite what some seem to think, we are not called to be less human than our Holy Lord.

Thousands of Christians must slip on blindfolds whenever they meet such Scriptures as:

    Mark 14:33-34  . . . he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” . . .

    Luke 22:42,44 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” . . . And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

    Hebrews 5:7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death . . .

Not even angels could lower the intensity of Jesus’ anguish. It was after an angel came to sustain Jesus in the garden that his sweat dripped like blood to the ground (Luke 22:42-44).

The highest we can ever hope for is to be like Jesus. It was prophesied that he delighted (King James Version of Psalm 40:8, but not Hebrews 10:7) to do God’s will. That sounds like the spiritual euphoria we hope for – until we face the reality that the one we worship sweat profusely while wrestling over submitting to God.

Don’t imagine you have failed if you find life as hard as our Lord did.

”*

Most of us are plagued by some sort of irrational fear – a phobia – and we will find it amazingly unaffected by what we believe. For example, an expert can totally convince someone who is terrified of snakes that a certain large snake is perfectly harmless and yet despite utterly believing the expert he will still be jittery about picking up the snake. It would be lunacy for the expert to feel offended and conclude that the man’s fear indicates that he does not trust his expertise. And God is no lunatic: he knows when fear does not indicate lack of faith in his Word but merely indicates the strength of the fear.

Many people might have had an easier life than you and so trust is easier for them but don’t imagine this fools God into regarding them as more diligent Christians.

* * *

Counterattack

The crushing fear that God might be like unscrupulous humans threatens to suck the life out of anyone with a history of being badly treated by humans. The way to counter this is to build in your mind an overwhelmingly powerful conception of God that is worthy of the stunning perfection of your Divine Lover. Keep your thoughts floodlit with the warm sunshine of the truth about God. Without it your mind will end up more like a dingy morgue than the residence of the King of kings.

To the delight of demons – and sometimes with their help – slanderous lies about ourselves attack us all. Thoughts come to us, such as, “I’m useless. God doesn’t love me as much as Pastor Bigwig or Sister Starchpants. I’ll never amount to anything.” Letting such untruths scurry like a rat plague unchallenged through our head quickly becomes a degrading mental habit as enslaving as any addition. You can definitely break free but, especially at first, it’s a formidably hard slog, requiring persistent determination.

    1 John 4:18-19 . . . perfect love drives out fear . . . We love because he first loved us.

If perfect love is the antidote to fear, let’s remember that God alone is the source of perfect love. Since, as the above Scripture reveals, we love because he first loved us, falling in love with God begins with an awareness of how much he loves us. And from there faith is launched. As I remarked in one of my many pages about God’s love for us:

    I can easily believe that the atom-holding, earth-spinning, galaxy-sustaining, life-giving Source of everything wonderful can do whatever he likes. Even the devil believes God’s power.

    My difficulty is believing that God’s special love for me makes him long to use that power on my behalf.

    Few of us doubt that God can do amazing things. The weak link in our faith is believing that he would do such things for ordinary, inconsequential you and me. We suspect we are not sufficiently special in the Almighty’s eyes to warrant such attention. Oh yes, ‘God loves everyone,’ but we have a hunch that by the time that love reaches us it has spread pretty thin. I’m just one of millions. Why would God want to focus his omnipotence on me?

    If we could grasp the enormity of God’s love for us, our faith would sky-rocket.

You might be able to parrot a theologically correct definition of God but that is of little benefit unless it dominates your thinking and attitudes, and your heart leaps with a resounding, “Yes!” at the very thought. In short, you need to be head-over-heels in love with the most beautiful Person in the universe. A key way to achieve this is to habitually spend considerable time thanking and praising God throughout the day – not just once a week but daily, and not just praising and delighting in God’s raw power but in his love and goodness, and not just his theoretical attributes but his intensely intimate and passionate love and warm tenderness towards you.

Happy

Comfort

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” says Scripture. Rather than beat ourselves up over finding this frustratingly difficult to put into practice, let’s luxuriate in the wonder that Almighty God, Ruler of the universe would invite seemingly insignificant you and me to hand over to him all our worries and concerns.

And you don’t have to frantically beg him to help: “he cares for you,” says this word of God.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. . . .” pleads Jesus (Matthew 11:28).

Digest this Scripture:

    Philippians 4:4-8 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! . . . Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. (Emphasis mine)

See how enjoying the peace of God is bathed in rejoicing in God and thanking him and mentally dwelling on positive, praiseworthy things.

Day after day, month after month, the mournful dirge of defeatist sayings and condemnation keeps repeating like an old broken record in our minds. Year after year the same depressing put-downs keep playing inside, worse than the most infuriating jingle from a TV commercial we can’t get out of our minds. Persistently drown out those oppressive lies with the sweet strains of adoring praise to God in your mind. As you keep lifting him higher, you are lifted higher. When praise slackens you begin to slump again.

Eyes under rock

Let Fear InfuriateYou

There is a psychological condition known as Learned Helplessness whereby someone who is trapped in a situation for long enough eventually falls into defeatism such that when conditions change, allowing him to break free, he feels so defeated by his previous experience of being unable to escape that he doesn’t even muster a genuine effort to free himself and for years needlessly continues to act as if he were trapped.

Learned Helplessness is not limited to humans. An example of it comes from the almost bygone era of circus elephants. Trainers drive a huge stake into the ground and chain a baby elephant to it. With all its might, the baby pulls in every direction for hours. Eventually it learns that escape is impossible and it gives up trying. By the time it grows massively strong it feels so defeated that all it takes to keep the powerful beast acting like a prisoner is a mere tent peg it could easily rip from the ground.

This is what fear does to us: being intimidated by fear in the past causes us to reach the point where we no longer try to be free, even though we are now empowered by the Spirit of Almighty God.

”*

Fear is a horrible feeling; but it is just a feeling; not reality.

When it is based not on present danger but is a mere carryover from a past experience, fear is deception. It is a seductive temptress enticing us to cheat on God and ditch his beautiful plans for our lives.

Fear is an opponent; an enemy wanting to stop us from enjoying what is rightfully ours. It is a thief; a disgusting con man cheating us out of our rights and duping us into letting him keep robbing us of peace, achievement and fulfillment.

Fear is a weakling acting like a bully, humiliating us. It is low life asking us to strip ourselves of our Christ-bought freedom and dignity. It holds a toy gun to our head and for no rational reason we let it order us around. It is a malicious prankster hoping we will be terrorized by a cardboard cutout. It paralyses us into languishing in defeat like rabbits in a harmless spotlight.

Fear is a dirty, pesky fly getting in our face, annoying us. It is a filthy liar falsely accusing us, and we not only meekly sit there listening to the slanderous putdowns, we foolishly accept the garbage as truth.

Fear is a prison taking away our freedom; a bleak dungeon that we dupe ourselves into pretending is a cozy comfort zone. We block off the open door with a Home, Sweet Home placard and shiver in the cold; choosing chilly isolation instead of sunny reality; preferring to feel sorry for ourselves than become achievers.

Fear is an ever-encroaching desert; a cancer than keeps spreading to healthy parts of a person.

Fear is an enemy, but one we can defeat; winning for ourselves immense glory. Others might not realize the magnitude of our victory in breaking out of our cruel confinement into normality, but all of heaven knows and it will forever hail us as heroes.

The appropriate response is to rise up in anger and refuse to let fear rob, cheat and bluff us any longer.

It might be unpleasant, but fear is a mere feeling, and we are called to live by faith, not by feelings. We might have been born in defeat and mediocrity but we have been born again as children of the King of kings. This makes us divine royalty; princes and princesses of the Lord of the universe, not slaves to feelings.

Empowered by supernatural union with our crucified Lord, let’s die to hopes of a soft life and rise to the glory of our calling as Christ’s champions. The journey to Christlikeness is neither quick nor easy, but as Christ sweat for you in Gethsemane, so you can sweat for him – and win eternal glory.

* * *

Practical Help

There are minor points of connection between God-pleasing faith and relaxation – the Bible speaks of the rest of faith, for example (Hebrews 4:3) – but being tense is not spiritually dangerous. Fear, however, always causes our muscles to tense up and it has been proved that if we can learn to keep our muscles relaxed in what would have been a fearful situation, fear will subside. The primary value of deliberately relaxing is twofold. Spiritually, it is making a faith statement – a little like leprous Naaman washing seven times in the Jordan, even though he felt ridiculous doing it (2 Kings 5:10-14). Psychologically, it helps because relaxed muscles are incompatible with fear.

Making an effort to relax is faith in action – and faith is the most critical of all spiritual exercises. Here’s a technique that has been scientifically demonstrated to empower people to overcome phobias, etc.

Lie down or sit in a comfy armchair. Literally, breathe easy. Imagine yourself in a very relaxing situation. It might, for example, be lazing on the white sand of a tropical beach. Hear the gentle lap of the sea. If convenient, aid relaxation by having soothing music quietly playing in the background. Worship music is a suggestion. After a while, concentrating on individual muscle groups, first tense a muscle group, then relax those muscles and gain an awareness of what it feels like to have each muscle group relaxed. Give special attention to your jaw muscles, your forehead, unclenching your fists, and relaxing your stomach muscles and your neck and shoulders.

When you are fully relaxed, imagine yourself being very slightly exposed to whatever it is that you wish to stop fearing. If, for example, your goal is to overcome a fear of spiders, imagine yourself 20 paces from a small, harmless spider. If you cannot remain totally relaxed at that thought, immediately stop and think of the relaxing scene until you are utterly relaxed again. If 20 paces was too close, when you are ready to restart, you might have to imagine the spider being 50 paces away or even further. The goal is to be totally relaxed while thinking of a spider in the distance and very slowly imagine yourself closer and closer, progressing only at a speed that allows you to remain totally relaxed. If at any time you notice yourself being slightly tense, back off, get relaxed again and continue only when you are ready. This process will probably need to be continued every day for quite a while until you can be fully relaxed while imagining yourself close to a large spider. Once you can effortlessly do this, you are ready to try it with a real spider, starting again with the spider being a long way away and withdrawing if you notice yourself unable to remain totally relaxed.

You’re smart enough to adapt this to fit whatever fear you wish to conquer.

* * *

A Real Life Example

A man e-mailed me, saying, “I am very depressed. I cannot even leave my house. I have been this way for three years. I just can’t get better. I have prayed many times for healing. Please pray for my healing.”

I shared this anonymously with my ministry team and here’s one of the responses I received to pass on to him:

    My name is Margaret, I’m 59, divorced, disabled and a prayer warrior at Net-Burst.Net. I feel God telling me to write to you, because I was once like you, my brother. For years I prayed that God heal me from the schizophrenic episodes and depression that plagued me. Then one day I heard a voice telling me it has been done already. I now recognize that voice as God’s.

    What does it mean? Well, I had wasted a lot of time waiting for a ‘miraculous delivery,’ thinking that I had to feel the healing; that it had to be instantly noticeable; that there was no longer any barrier keeping me a prisoner of Satan’s. What I’ve learned is that healing comes the moment we ask it, BUT we do have to take that first step to accept it.

    For years, I had blamed others for the isolation I felt. I blamed them for isolating me because of my schizophrenia, because they couldn’t understand what I was going through. I’d so withdrawn into myself that I couldn’t even begin to think of others; it was all about me.

    Then I felt Jesus gently take my hand, and lead me outside. I was terrified, but I knew Jesus was right beside me and would never leave me. So despite my fears and anxiety, I took a deep breath and, asking Jesus to stay with me, opened the door of my house and stepped outside. The first day, I just sat on my porch, enjoying the sun on my skin, breathing in fresh air, looking at things around me. The second day, I ventured down to the corner of my street. Each day I made another advance, until suddenly I found myself among the people that God was to call me to minister: the street folk. There I discovered that the world was more than myself, and I lost all depressive thoughts.

    Satan would have you remain trapped – just as he tried with me – waiting for obvious signs of ‘healing’; not wanting you to take that first step outside your self-imposed prison to discover the world waiting for you. Sometimes God does it all, but more often, God wants us to take part in our own healing.

    So, my brother, open the door, grasp Jesus’s hand, and step out in faith. You have been healed! God is just waiting for you to accept his healing.

    “Faith is resting in the knowledge that God has an objective in leaving me on the scene when I feel useless to Him and a burden to others.” Pamela Reeve

”*

Laughing at What Scares You

In one of my webpages about nightmares I said that someone emailed me about how Jesus had taught her to overcome nightmares and sleep soundly. Her nightmares focused on ‘bad dad’ – her now-deceived abusive father who, when she was little, used to come into her bedroom when she was asleep. She calls Jesus ‘Daddy.’ Here’s a little of what helped her:

    During the day, Daddy and I played thinking games. At first it was easy. He sent me a thought like I was eating jello and a furry little ball with eyes and a smile jumped out. My part of the game was to make it not scary. So I sent Daddy a thought about making the ball my new pet! Even now I play with my new pet. His name is Sally.

    I asked Daddy why he was playing this game. He replied that it helps my mind grow strong enough to repel bad thoughts all by itself. That’s important for getting good sleep. He said I need to have a strong mind.

    Then, little by little, the games got harder.

    Daddy sent me the thought of bad dad coming in my room and I thought about Daddy coming in and snapping his fingers and turning bad dad into a funny clown who juggled and told funny jokes. I learned that the funnier the solution the better I felt.

* * *

Love the Cure!

Let’s strengthen ourselves by bringing together what we have so far learnt.

Church-goers lacking compassion for people suffering mental afflictions are highlighting not their doctrinal superiority but their embarrassing lack of entry-level Christian love. They are a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1) who have never grasped that “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love,” (Galatians 5:6 – emphasis mine). Theirs is the pride that precedes a fall (Proverbs 16:18).

Those deceived by an easier life into thinking they have great faith have a special promise to claim: “whoever exalts himself will be humbled” (Matthew 23:12).

For far more people than realize it, being fearful is like being subject to migraines – literally a medical condition that strikes some but not others and who is struck has nothing to do with levels of faith, devotion or manliness.

Likewise, having an easy, protected childhood surrounded by warm encouraging people will render a person much less hounded by doubt and fear. Indeed, such people will not only avoid the crippling devastation of Learned Helplessness, they will have Learned Optimism built into their lives. They can be expected to ooze peace and faith, but it is no achievement on their part.

Nevertheless, our spiritual enemy will target his attacks on whatever are our most vulnerable areas. In the hope of conning us into thinking we are inferior Christians and less loved of God, he is keen to fill us with false shame and condemnation over having that area of vulnerability. Because it is true that “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) the devil uses condemnation in a relentless attempt to undermine our faith in the extent to which God loves us, approves of us and is eager to support us.

Unfortunately, having a childhood short on people who believed in us, unconditionally loved us and never let us down, makes it so much harder to believe that God is totally different to the people in our backgrounds who concreted our conception of what we can expect in life. Painstakingly chipping away at that concrete and building a conception of God that is totally contrary to all that life’s experiences taught us during our formative years is a mammoth task. What makes it so enormous is that to have full effect, this new belief needs to grow so strong that it seeps deep into even our subconscious.

Our loving Lord understands what a long and laborious task this is and he is far more patient with us than most of us are with ourselves. He knows there are people who, through no virtue of their own, had a life that makes faith easier. And he is not duped into thinking their easy life makes them more worthy of his praise. Like a father beaming with joy at his little baby who is not yet able to stop dribbling and soiling itself, so God is far more proud of you than the devil wants you to realize.

Nevertheless, the way out of our doubts and fears involves the hard grind of reshaping our thinking about God and his goodness, trustworthiness, passionate love for us and, through Christ’s astounding sacrifice, his approval of us. This comes through dwelling not on us and our unworthiness, nor the faults of others, but on God’s worthiness and the mind-boggling extent to which he loved us eons before we even thought of attempting to reciprocate. If ever, “to know him is to love him” applied to anyone, it applies to our wonderful Lord.

Loving God not only has stupendous benefits for ourselves – just one of which is the breaking of fear – but it’s what God most wants from us:

    Matthew 22:37  . . . ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

The endless joy can be yours of being thrillingly in love with the perfect Lover who will never tire of you, grow old or die.

Like lust, fear is just a feeling. It comes to us all and seeks to enslave us. And like any addiction, the more we yield to it, the more we feel enslaved and it begins to feel (yes, another feeling) that resistance is useless. But Christians are called to live by faith, not feelings. For us, fear, demons and temptation are nothing but bluff. The battle can be tough – as it was for our Lord – but through him we are divine royalty who do not have to let anything enslave us any longer. We can walk free, but waiting for the unpleasant feeling to stop before doing so is like Peter waiting for the water to evaporate before stepping out of the boat. Peter walked on water because Jesus was with him (even though he could barely see him in the dark) and told him to come. Likewise, Jesus is with you asking you to walk with him, even though feelings of terror mock you. Let’s look at 2 Timothy 1:7 in two Bible versions:

    For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (King James Version)

    For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (New International Version)

Since neither fear, nor even being timid, is of God we do not have to submit to it. God’s antidote is the love and power that is ours through Christ. And to live in the power of God’s love and counteract a twisted slave mentality, we need a sound mind. This, too, is a gift from God but just as we must deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Christ (Luke 9:23), a sound mind takes daily cooperation with Christ. In fact, it takes considerable mental self-discipline.

    Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

What God wants for you is uncompromisingly, unsurpassably good, and to fully grasp this fact we must, in cooperation with God, renew our minds.

Any lazy layabout can raise his/her level of physical fitness to the point of improved life expectancy but it takes persistent, determined effort. So it is with spiritual fitness. Whether you can is not in question, but it is up to you whether you put in the required effort.

Nevertheless, it is not my intention to waste your time, my time and God’s time with hot air that merely leaves you feeling warm and gooey for the few minutes you have until cold reality smacks you. I can’t lose weight for you, but I could run with you. Likewise, I could take your hand and spend hours with you as you daily persist with the hard slog of rebuilding your view of God. I could stay for as long as it takes for you to realize you are in the safe arms of God 24/7 and are ever-so-slowly but surely changing from glory to glory. That’s why I have poured years into crafting the following webpages. Though only a fraction of my writings, they are carefully selected for their relevance to overcoming fear by building your view of God. If you are serious about change, save the web address of this page so you don’t lose the links and then commit to prayerfully reading them.

Important Links

Fear of Failure, Fear of Rejection, Fear of Obeying God, Fear of Pain

Help When Doubt Knocks: How to Grow in Faith

Afraid of God? The Cure

Fear of Witnessing: Witnessing Made Easy

How to Change Your Self-Image

Peace: God’s Supernatural Answer to Worry, Panic, Fear and Doubt

Comfort for the Guilt-Ridden Conscience

Deepening Your Awareness of God’s Love for You

You: More Powerful & Capable Than You Thought. Christian Encouragement

Praise: God’s Anti-depressant

How to Cope with Nightmares & Unwanted Dreams

God Isn’t Fair?

More About Learned Helplessness

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

There’s Hope! A Sane Guide to Finding Hope When There is No Hope

Scrupulosity (This and the pages it leads to feature Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

Not to be sold. © Copyright, 2011, 2017 Grantley Morris. May be freely copied in whole or in part provided: it is not altered; this entire paragraph is included; readers are not charged and it is not used in a webpage. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings available free online at www.net-burst.net  Freely you have received, freely give. For use outside these limits, consult the author.

[Much More!] [Bless & Be Blessed by Facebook] [Daily Quotes] [My Shame] [E-Mail Me] [My Shame]










Net-Burst.Net









Afraid?









Phobias









Fears









Post Traumatic Stress Disorder









PTSD









Cure









Christian Help