How to overcome fear as a Christian
“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest. “Corrie Ten Boom
We live in times where it’s easy to be distressed. Surely our only hope to rest and be at peace is Jesus Christ.
Psalm 23: 4 says “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me;”
It feels like we are truly walking in the shadow of death when we’re faced daily with diseases that have no cure, natural disasters, wars and violence. There’s always some sort of crisis in the world.
Yet, as children of God we should not fear because God is with us always. That’s a powerful promise to hold on to.
But it seems we might not really believe this promise
Even with such a promise, here’s what I’ve thought and heard from my fellow Christians: “I wish Jesus Christ was right here with me physically, to hold me and tell me everything will be okay. Then I won’t fear.”
Well, I want to tell you something. Jesus Christ’s physical presence will NOT eliminate our fear.
The life of Peter, one of His disciples in 3 stories below, is proof enough of this. As we look at these stories, I will also point out the strategies we can use to overcome fear today!
I do want to say though that fear is TOTALLY NORMAL, even for us as Christians. God knew we would be afraid that’s why He tells us NOT to fear in the Bible more than 300 times!
You can feel fear and experience fear, just don’t stay in fear. Okay, now to the strategies to overcoming fear.
Story 1: Jesus walks on water
In Matthew 14:22-33 we read the story of Jesus walking on water approaching the boat the disciples were in. Peter, on witnessing this asks Jesus if He can join Him.
Strategy 1 to overcome fear: Fix your eyes on Jesus Christ
Matthew 14 vs 29-30 “So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!””
Peter sounds like many of us Christians. We were living a comfortable life. When Jesus told us to come to Him we went to Him. We go to church, we profess that Jesus is indeed Lord. We have faith.
Then, when a crisis hits (like the wind Peter saw and was afraid), all of a sudden fear grips us and we focus on the crisis, not on Jesus Christ.
The same way Peter should have kept his focus on Jesus Christ and not on the wind is the same way Jesus directs us to fix our eyes on Him and God’s word even when we fear.
Jesus’ response to Peter sinking was to correct him “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When a crisis hits and the whole world has fear and is panicking, that is not the time to doubt the Lord Jesus Christ but to focus on Him.
Hebrews 12:2 “ looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Story 2: Peter has a revelation
In Matthew 16: 13-23 our friend Peter is with Jesus and the other disciples. Jesus asked His disciples who others say He is and who they (His disciples) say He is.
Peter was bold enough to answer in Matthew 16:16 “Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.””.
Spot on Peter! Jesus praised Peter and told Him this is a great revelation only from God. A few minutes later Jesus tells his disciples how He must suffer, be killed and rise again on the 3rd day.
And Peter’s response in Matthew 16: 22 , “Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”“
Jesus’ response leads us to Strategy 2.
Strategy 2 to overcome fear: Rebuke the devil
23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Here is the fact. Fear is from the devil. The reason why Peter responded the way He did was fear. He was not trusting in God’s plan. He didn’t believe the word of Jesus Christ.
He was afraid of what would happen if Jesus died given they were all on the “wanted list” by the high priests.
But Jesus recognised that the devil was behind the fear and rebuked Him. In the same way the devil is behind the fear we have as Christians. We can and should rebuke him like Jesus did.
Story 3: Peter betrays Jesus
The last story which Peter is popular for is his betrayal of Jesus Christ in Matthew 26: 69-75. When Jesus was arrested and being questioned by the high priests, as they sought a way to kill him, 3 people identified Peter as one who had walked with Jesus Christ.
And all 3 times, Peter denied that he knew Jesus at all.
Strategy 3 to overcome fear: Stand firm in your faith in Jesus Christ
The reason why Peter denied Jesus Christ was because He was afraid. He feared being identified with Jesus Christ.
One way we can overcome the fear we have is to stand firm in our faith in Jesus Christ. This great article shows us how we can do that.
In Jesus Christ, there is no fear, only perfect love. This is the time for us to practice the faith we proclaim. This is the time to show the world that our hope and trust is in Jesus Christ.
Though Jesus is not here with us physically, we believe He is with us because the Holy Spirit is here to comfort us and help us face anything we may be going through.
This is what Jesus said to doubting Thomas in John 20:29 “Jesus said to him,“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”“
We are blessed because we believe Jesus Christ is here with us by faith. How awesome is that? Pretty awesome, if you ask me!
Strategy 4 to overcome fear: Meditate on God’s word
One of my best-loved top authors Valorie Burton has done a great meditation guide based off one of my favourite scripture.
The scripture is Philippians 4: 6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. “
When you experience fear, carve out about 7 minutes to do this meditation. I’ve done it and felt a release of all this fear! Click here for the meditation.
Strategy 5 to overcome fear: Pray
Psalm 34: 4 “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.“
When we seek the Lord in prayer with our fears, He will deliver us from all of them. Go to Him in prayer. He is always there, always listening to the prayers of His children.
Strategy 6 to overcome fear: Fight fear with God’s word.
God’s word is powerful in fighting fear. Psalm 91 is a great one to pray daily when fear overwhelms you. Listening to sermons on overcoming fear is also a good idea.
These 3 Powerful Verses are great to memorise and to hold onto as you overcome fear:
2 Timothy 1: 7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
John 16:33 ” These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you,Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand
Strategy 7 to overcome fear: Praise and worship songs
Sometimes you just need to listen to songs that will express what you’re struggling to express to God. When you feel fear, sing these songs and embrace the peace and joy that comes from trusting in God.
This list has some great uplifting songs to listen to.
My Encouragement to you
When we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, rebuke the devil, stand firm in our faith, meditate, pray, read God’s word, listen to praise and worship songs, we can fight fear and grow our faith.
Yes there is always a crisis in this world but as children of God, we also know that God is with us through it all. We believe He is with us by faith. God wants us to trust Him at all times, even when we’re afraid.
Lord Jesus, I feel fear overwhelm me during this time. The people around me are fearful, but I choose to trust in you Lord. I choose to fix my eyes on Jesus during this time. My hope is in your word alone. Thank you that your presence is with me always. Help me to overcome this fear I feel.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Below is a great sermon from Priscilla Shirer on overcoming fear that you can listen to. It’s filled with so much truth from God’s word!