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How Christians Can Overcome Their Fears

March 18, 2020

Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord. (1 Peter 3:14-15)

Peter is telling us how we can overcome our fears. If you are the lord, everything that you cannot control will cause you to fear. What if there is a bomb? What if one of my children choose the wrong path? What if I get cancer?

But when Christ is the Lord of your life, you have reason for confidence. Your Savior is Lord!

Jesus Christ was sovereign over your birth. He is sovereign over your life, and he will be sovereign over your death.

Sovereign over your birth means that of all the millions of people who could potentially have come from the union of your father and your mother, God created you! In great love and mercy, he planned that you should be for all eternity!

Sovereign over your life means all that has a happened to you, the good you have enjoyed and the evil you have suffered, was known to God before the beginning of time. Life is full of surprises for us, unexpected twists and turns, but nothing ever comes as a surprise to him. Before a word is on my tongue, God knows it completely.

God’s sovereignty over your life means that God works through all that has happened in your past and whatever will happen in the future to advance the great purpose for which he brought you into being. This is what the apostle Paul is talking about when he says, “For those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). God’s good purpose is that a reflection of his dearly loved Son will radiate from you for his glory and for your joy forever.

Sovereign over your death means Jesus Christ is in complete control of the timing, the circumstances, and the outcome of your death, which for a Christian believer, whenever it comes, will be an immediate translation into glory.

In your book were written…the days that were formed for me. (Psalm 139:16; cf Job 14:5)

George Whitfield said, “We are immortal till our life’s work is done.” You can’t use that as an excuse for irresponsible behavior – driving down the wrong side of the road at 90 mph. That is an abuse of the truth. Satan tried that abuse when he suggested to Jesus that he should jump from the pinnacle of the temple, “Nothing bad will happen!”

Jesus said, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”

Instead, use this truth when you struggle with fear. If you are afraid of flying on an airplane, this is a great thing to say to yourself as you put on your seat belt while they go through the pre-flight routine: “I am immortal until my life’s work is done.”

The freedom from fear that a believer under the Lordship of Christ enjoys is beautifully expressed in the Heidelberg catechism:

Q: What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A: That I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ…He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven.

What This Looks Like in Practice

To honor Christ the Lord means that you hold all that you have in this life with an open hand. It means that you will use the word “my” tentatively, as if it were in parentheses:

  • “My” house, means the house that God has entrusted to me for a time.
  • “My” children means the loved ones who belong to God and are lent to me for a time.
  • “My” work means the service that God has called me to do for a time.
  • “My” money is the resource that God has trusted me to steward on his behalf.
  • “My” friends are the people God has given as companions for a few laps of the journey.
  • “My” life means the opportunity that God has given me to serve at his pleasure in this world until he calls me home.

I can talk like this because I’m not the one who is on the throne. Thank God for that! Otherwise, I’d be riddled with fear.

We will do much better when it comes to dealing with loss (whether that be the loss of a position, loss of a person, or loss of property) if we believe and remember that what we have belongs to God and is loaned to us for a time.

C.H. Spurgeon says,

A man does not cry when he has to return a tool which he has borrowed…He knew that he borrowed it, he never called it his own, and he hands it back thankful that he had it for so long. [1]

The last time Moses spoke to God’s people before he died, he said to them, “Behold I set before you two ways of living. One way is a blessing and the other is a curse. There is a way that will lead to life, and a way that will lead to death.”

I feel a bit like that today. We live at a time where the great movement of our culture is to crown self as lord. Go down that path and you will always be haunted with fear. There can be no greater curse than the curse of that path, and no greater misery than the misery that lies at the end of it.

I want to say with Moses, “Choose the path that leads to life, the path on which you crown Jesus the Son of God and the Lord and Savior of your life.” Friend, when you can say, “For me to live is Christ,” then you will also be able to say, “to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Here is the testimony: “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord” (Romans 14:8). When this Savior is the sovereign Lord over your life, over your death, and over your eternity, what in all the world would you have to fear?

Say today to all of your fears, “I am immortal till my life’s work is done.”

This article is adapted from Pastor Colin’s original sermon, “How to Overcome Your Fears”
[1] C. H. Spurgeon, Sermon #828, “Dying Daily,” August 30, 1868. http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols13-15/chs828.pdf.
Photo: Unsplash

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the Senior Pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the President and Teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.



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