January 15 - Overcoming Fear and Anxiety
The feeling of fear is very real in our lives. The Psalmist speaks of sufferings, death, traps of pits and nets -- real possibilities of being overcome by the enemies of our lives. To survive, one must be alert; but if we were overly cautious, anxiety would overtake us easily. As a result, we live in a state of constant fear of the future and there is no peace.
Jacob’s life was in constant turmoil, always trying to solve one problem after another but problems kept coming up. Escaping Esau, serving Laban, having babies, planning to gain wealth, trying to get away from Laban’s control, all came in successive waves and there was no rest for him. When he took everything and went away from Laban, Laban ran after him in hot pursuit with his kinsmen. When he passed this hurdle, he then had to face his brother Esau, who also might want to settle scores with him.
As Jacob became extremely anxious, several things happened: he met a camp of angels; he divided his belongings into two camps; and he wrestled with God for God to bless him. God was gracious to him, showed him that His protection was there and that He would bless and protect him. Yet, Jacob still stuck to his previous plan of splitting up into two camps. As he limped the rest of his life from the wrestling injury, he was reminded daily that God is his Helper.
Jesus also touched on the topic of fear. Fear is the result of a lack of faith in God and trying to take care of our affairs by our own power. It is a sin and very few of us are aware of it as such. There is a fear of man, we are afraid that our secrets be exposed. There is the fear of loss of life, fear of those who can take our lives. The fear of death is very real and we try to do a lot to save our own lives. For some of us, self-preservation has become the major concern. The fear of man causes us to be silent, thus not confessing Jesus in their presence. For others, we are afraid of the members of our own earthly family. Many would love their parents and sibling more than they love Jesus and that, is a sin. When we want to preserve our lives, we are not worthy to be disciples of Jesus.
What are some of the fears that you are wrestling with today? Confess it as a sin and ask God to take it away. The antidote for fear is to exercise your will to “not fear”, and Jesus has repeatedly told us so. To “not fear” is to trust in the One who takes care of sparrows and has counted our hair. To trust in God is to recognize that we cannot through fear change anything. It is more than a negative emotion, it is a sin against God. Let us bring this to the Lord and receive peace from above. Remember, your life is in His hands!
Ps 9:13-20 Gen 31:17-32:12 Matt 10:26-11:6 Prov 3:16-18