17.1. Origins of Fear
( Gen. 1:26-28 ; Ps. 111:10 ; Gen. 3:10 ) Mankind was created to know God, the Almighty, infinitely wise, all-knowing, and unconditionally loving One. Man was to live all of his life in the consciousness of His presence: man was to be in awe of the magnificence of the Lord and to be the container and revealor of God on earth. In our everyday lives, we were to be constantly a visible manifestation of the invisible God, the purpose for our existence on the planet, the meaning of life.
After man decided to be his own god, the center and the source of his own life, sin entered and fear followed. Fear becomes the driving energy of man’s life: anxiety, worry, fret, dread and panic become part of man’s vocabulary.
Man who was created to fear the One who unconditionally loves him, now potentially fears all persons, spirits, and created things – except the God who alone gives him life.
( Matt. 22:37-39 ; John 14:21,27 ; 1 John 4:18 ) To return from a self-loving-self to self-loving-others, one must resume the dependent attitude, to ‘stand under’ God in obedient faith, to again actually partake of Him , to be a participator in His love, His very life. Man was created capable of receiving and becoming the dwelling place of divine love, and revealing that love in his behavior within creation which leaves no room for fear.
( Isa. 42:7 ; Isa. 61:1 ; Luke 2:10 ; 1 John 4:18 ; Rom. 8:15-16 ) The Gospel is the message of what God has done in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, His death, His resurrection, the Conqueror of death. And in His exaltation He sends the Holy Spirit to come and dwell within us, returning us to the original design. From this position He wills to bring us all out of the dungeon of fear where we are tormented by worry and anxiety.
( Phil. 4:6 ; John 14:1,27 ; Isa. 8:12-14 ; Isa. 26:3 ) Worry centers on present and future problems as if there is no God. Standing in terror and awe, worry gives honor, respect and reverence to the power of evil.
However, the fear of God centers on the character of God, His unchanging presence within us: His promises. Deliberately taking and acting on His promises by obedient faith, we demonstrate His love and express His peace. In this mode, we confront, work through, and rise above all of life’s adversities. Thus, fear is primarily in the mind and behavior which we can change. You cannot command your emotions.
Regardless of your feelings, you act by the word in your mind, and your behavior will follow suit: victory awaits.
( Eph. 4:18 ; 2 Cor. 4:4 ) Fear and worry describes us totally absorbed in ourselves, in self-preservation, self-interest, and self-pity. Accordingly, we see neither God nor man except as they can be used to further ‘our’ meaning of life. We either fear God as He designed us to do, resulting in our living in His love, OR we fear the forces that we perceive as hostile to us, taking away the illusion of our meaning of life.
( Matt. 6:32-33 ; John 16:33 ; 2 Tim. 1:7 ) We must accept responsibility for our fears. God command us to ‘Fear Not’ 366 times in Scriptures. Jesus commands us to ‘Be anxious for nothing’, and He placed the responsibility in our hands when He said, ‘Let not your heart be troubled’.
Christians feel fear, but they make it the springboard for faith to fear offending God. The answer to fear is the greater fear of God. Believers feel fear but know it is a lie. They replace the feelings of fear with the truth of their relationship to God and the presence of God within themselves.
Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)
1 John 4:18
BSAF on selected verses from above.
Process Section A.8, “Freedom From Anxiety” .
Reference: See [Smith4] for further reading.
17.2. Presence of Fear or Faith
( Gen. 1:26-28 ; Isa. 8:12-14 ; Rom. 1:16 ; Rom. 5:17 ; Eph. 4:1 ) The only answer Scriptures gives to fear is the greater fear of the Lord. Isaiah describes how the believer transfers his fear of people and situations to the Lord who is always with him. As believers we are to ‘walk worthy’ of our calling, i.e., to walk in harmony with what we believe. The Gospel is good news of our restored relationship with God, and a return to live in God’s presence. According to God’s original design, we are to rule in love and in righteousness.
( Josh. 1:6-9 ; 1 Pet. 3:13-15 ; Heb. 13:5-6 ) In Scripture, the presence of God is equated with the fear of God, and this is always expressed in our behavior. A person living in the fear of God demonstrates a lifestyle of love, joy and peace – and above all: freedom from fear.
( Isa. 41:10 ; Ps. 23:4 ; Ps. 3:18,27 ) The presence of God is the logic behind a life, a life without fear. God’s command to change our anxious behavior is based on the reality of His presence. Freedom from worry, fretting, and anxiety is not a miracle in our emotions but is a result of the conclusions of a Holy Spirit enlightened mind.
( Ps. 62:1-2,5-6 ; 2 Cor. 13:14 ) Living in the fear of God means not only that Christ has died and is risen from the dead, but also that He is exalted and has sent the Spirit who indwells our heart: He is the center of our true self. Thus, our biblical hope is born of a living relationship with God. And we know we are in covenant with God who is love, and Who is active on our behalf.
( Luke 9:23-24 ; Rom. 8:5-9 ) We have practiced the presence of our flesh so long that we are on ‘automatic’ in the presence of a hostile situation. We react rather than act. We either deny there is a reason to fear, or we are immobilized and paralyzed, or we lash out in anger, afraid of our helplessness.
To counteract this tendency , we have to understand that we must act in faith, and practice the consciousness of God’s presence within and with us . This does not just ‘happen’ to us! Notice Ps. 23:4 . It is David’s determined faith and determined response to God’s announcement that He is with us !
( Rom. 8:26 ; Phil. 4:6-7 ; Isa. 26:3-4 ; Isa. 40:31 ) The Holy Spirit is our prayer partner. We share every detail with God in prayer, and leave it with Him. We praise and give thanks, knowing it is the way faith anticipates His actions in our unknown future. This leads us to wait upon God which results in supernatural strength. We take time to simply sit in His presence and confess that ‘Thou art with me’ and share the things that are the object of our worry and anxiety. When we do so, He promises that we will know the peace of God that is beyond all human comprehension.
( 2 Cor. 10:5 ; Prov. 16:25 ; Prov. 18:21 ) Every thought that comes to mind, give immediately to the Holy Spirit Who will return the right word to your mind to digest, to understand and to apply in love and truth through your tongue. Thus, the anointed word addresses life and rejects death.
Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)
BSAF on Ps. 31:24 ; Ps. 39:7 ; Ps. 71:4-5 ; 1 Thess. 1:3 ; Rom. 5:5 ; Rom. 15:13 .
Read Ps. 3 ; Ps. 18 ; and Ps. 27 . Personalize your own situation, and visualize your fears replaced with the fear of the Lord, that is, practice the presence of the Lord. Review this worksheet to reinforce God’s truth, and think God’s thoughts after Him. We have the victory already, it is a question of walking and working it out ( John 16:33 ; 1 John 5:4-5 ).
17.3. Learning Truth Talk
( Phil. 2:5 ; Eph. 4:23 ; Col. 1:8-10 ; Phil. 4:8 ; 2 Cor. 10:5 ) The New Testament teaches that the source of our behavior is the mind. The salvation we have received though Christ begins to be established and worked out in our thoughts before it becomes our lifestyle. It is in the mind that we look at ourselves and form a perception of who we are. We have a mental mirror that images to us who we believe ourselves to be. Accordingly, before Christ, the false images we had of ourselves: patterns of anxiety, acting on feelings and resultant fretful behavior, are to be changed to new patterns that reveal the love, hope and peace of God, i.e., learning to think with the mind of Christ.
( Matt. 13:1-9 ; Matt. 8:23 ; Jer. 31:33 ; Ezek. 36:26,27 ) We now have a new center, a new magnetic north. Christ has put His life into us, we have a new heart, and His law written on that new heart, a heart of flesh, not stone. We have new soil to receive the word of God in order to conform to his image.
( Matt. 18:3 ) To hear the Gospel is usually a passive act. At the surface level, it may make sense to us so that we accept it. At the same time, we may still believe in our deepest being the prompting of the Lie, and we self-talk ourselves and fail to translate the Gospel into behavior. Having a new heart means to turn around and go in the other direction, facing the fact that we now have to build our lives on a totally new foundation. Like children, we have to relearn the meaning of our lives and how to live it. A question of choice, choosing to change, to repent which opens the door to being Christlike.
( Eph. 1:18 ; Eph. 4:23 ; Col. 1:9-10 ) The ‘heart’ in Scripture is never the seat of emotions, but the center of a man’s person. The heart of a man is his mind, the way he thinks and believes about life: from his beliefs he makes his decisions. The spirit of the mind speaks to the direction the mind thinks in. As we study the word of God, we progress being filled with godly knowledge. This wisdom and understanding originates in the spirit, moves to our intellect, and this becomes the source of our behavior which pleases God.
( 2 Cor. 4:3-4 ; Rom. 12:1-2 ) Our genealogy, life’s experiences and encounters formed us to a self-focus, and a self-defensive posture to guard us against the fears of living. From this we established a belief bank which fashioned and determined the course of life. The basic cause of all our fears is not how other people view us and how we measure up in their eyes, but how we view ourselves and measure up to our own standards.
We talk to ourselves from our source, and by it we judge ourselves and everyone else. It is by this self-talk with its endless commands, requirements, and patterns of fear that directs our life. It is this thinking that we base our actions or inactions. This belief bank and resultant self-talk is to be renewed.
( Gen. 3:5 ; Rom. 8:6-7 ; Eph. 4:17 ; Rom. 1:18-27 ) The Satanic lie of Eden ‘You shall be as God’ was first injected into the mind and introduced a new and totally false belief system. It reflected to man through the inner mirror that he was to find the meaning to life in his created flesh. By this lie Satan gained legal access to the mind. Thus, man outside of Christ has a mind that is blinded by flesh feelings, he is led by passion, not logic: believing man is the center and the meaning of life.
( 2 Cor. 10:4 ) The foundational belief system and the image of our self that arose from it were fashioned and given definition in our childhood. They were laid down and built up by our forefathers and parents, and were passed into our hands to build upon and updated to pass on to our children.
( 2 Cor. 10:5 ; Rom. 12:1-2 ; Rom. 8:29 ; Rom. 10:9 ; 1 Cor. 2 ) Daily we replenish the mind to eventually realize that we were created capable and responsible to receive a revelation of who God is, who we are, and the meaning of our existence. We are responsible to look to the ‘One’ who made us and ask, ‘Who am I?’ He tells us. We are dependent upon the creator God Who is unconditional love, deriving our life from Him. In the ability of the Holy Spirit, we are to express that life, His love in our behavior, glorifying Him in creation. This is the belief bank we are to live from: the truth of God’s word embedded in our human spirit which directs our life to being a blessing on earth as Jesus was, and is. By this we subdue and are separated from the world, the flesh, and the evil.
Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)
Study and apply Eph. 4:25-32 ; 1 Pet. 3:9-17 . See Section 7.14, “Mind Control ” and Section A.7, “Problem/Solution Worksheet” .
17.4. Applying the Truth
( 2 Cor. 6:16-18 ; Eph. 4:20-21 ; Phil. 3:12-14 ) Understanding the true foundational beliefs, the inner image of ourselves arising from these beliefs, and the inner talk that continually directs our lives, will help us to attack and destroy the lies that are behind all of our fears. The new birth does not neutralize the effect of what we tell ourselves. If we think with only the flesh – feeling input – we return, in fact, to life under the flesh, directed by the Lie. We effectively silence the mind and the revelation of the truth as it is in Jesus.
Unless we understand what is going on, we will continue to live by leftover feelings and a view of life – a way of thinking – rooted in the Lie. These old lies are the factory where new lies and distortions to fit the new situation are manufactured. They are the landing strips for Satan’s flying missiles to land on.
( Eph. 4:20-21 ; 2 Cor. 10:3-5 ) It is the Holy Spirit Who renews the mind. As we study the Scriptures, we learn by Jesus, hear of Jesus, and be taught of Him. The Spirit would totally renew our mind and outmoded way of thinking, and would establish in us the mind of Christ – a new way of thinking.
( Rom. 5:5 ; Phil. 4:6-7 ; Heb. 13:5-6 ) When we take a stand of faith with the truth, the Holy Spirit then works in us mightily, pouring out and communicating the love of God to us. The love of God reaches into our fears, and surrounds and engulfs us. He enters our soul, where our emotions and thoughts are in turmoil, and speaks His peace-giving presence. We hear Him affirm us in the stand we take. He tells us He will never leave us, and we realize that He is our strength to face all our tomorrows.
( John 14:6 ; 1 Pet. 1:22 ; 2 John 2 ; 2 John 4 ; 3 John 4 ; 3 John 8 ) We are those who have become confronted by the Truth, the Lord Jesus Himself and have renounced the Lie and obeyed the Truth. The Truth has come to take residence within us by the entrance of the Spirit of Truth. We now walk in the Truth. We are actively participating in the Truth and aggressively promoting the Truth.
( Phil. 4:6-8 ; Matt. 6:25-32 ) Because I am a child of the Father, I do not have to be anxious over anything. Whatever is beginning to bother me, I choose with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to make my requests known to my Father. I do now and in all hours of the day and night, choose to direct my mind to dwell on whatever is honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, of excellence and of praise.
( Col. 3:1-3 ; Matt. 5:14 ) I have been raised up with Christ, and I choose to keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. I choose to set my mind on the things that are above, not on things that are on the earth, because I have died and my life is hidden with Christ in God. Christ is my life and in Him I am the light of the world. I am a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden.
( John 1:12 ; Rom. 8:16 ; Gal. 4:6-7 ) I have received Jesus Christ and, therefore, have been given the right to become a child of God. The Spirit Himself bears witness with my spirit that I have been born of God. And because I am His son, the Father has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into my heart. I am no longer a slave, but a son and an heir-an heir of God, a fellow-heir with Christ.
Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)
BSAF on selected verses from above.
Read and dwell on the following Scriptures to reinforce who and what you are in Christ:
John 15:1,5,15-16 ; Phil. 1:2 ; 1 Pet. 2:5 ;
Rom. 6:18 ; Eph. 3:4-10 ; 1 Pet. 2:9 ;
1 Cor. 6:15-20 ; Eph. 4:21-24 ; 1 John 3:1-2 ;
2 Cor. 5:17 ; Col. 1:12-14 ; 1 John 5:18 ;
Gal. 6:18 ; 1 Thess. 5:5 ; Matt. 5:13 .
See also Section 11.9, “Union with God” .
17.5. Out of Control (World of Non-Existence)
( Matt. 6:34 ; Isa. 33:2 ; Ps. 90:4 ; Lam. 3:21-24 ) Sin is man choosing to be independent of God’s love. It is taking sides with Satan in defiance of God, turning to one’s own way. When man came out from under God to live in the Lie of “I can be independent and alongside of God,” he walked out of God’s shalom. The first words of man were “I was afraid.” When we seek to be in control of our lives, independent of God , we create a world of fear and anxiety. Believing the Lie that he is the source and master of his own life, his world and all his futures, man seeks to create shalom independently of God. To do this he must have control over all that happens in life, today and in all tomorrows, in his own life and in the lives of those who affect his happiness.
This leads to compulsion to control every detail of his existence and that of everyone around him. If he is a god, then he must be in control. This is the world of non-existence, the territory of the Lie, that exists only in our darkened imagination and in the minds of demons.
( Matt. 6:34 ; Isa. 33:2 ; Ps. 90:14 ; Lam. 3:21-24 ) Jesus commands believers to live life in increments of one day at a time, and within that, one hour at a time. We have grace for today to be used entirely on today’s quota of problems and challenges. The only action we can take today is to use that grace to do what must be done today in preparation for tomorrow . We then place all the problems of tomorrow in God’s hands. Scripture advises us to receive from God in the morning the grace that is needed for that day.
( Ps. 23 ; Heb. 13:8 ; Isa. 26:3 ; Deut. 33:25 ) David spoke of God in the present tense, giving him the strength and enablement he needs in the present moment. Resting in the fact that God is now his Shepherd gives him the wisdom to handle the problem when he actually faces it. We don’t try to imagine the changing future or what we will do with it; we focus our attention on the unchanging Christ, the Ruler of history. Instead of imagining a tomorrow without God, we concentrate our picture-forming ability on who God is to us, and in us now. As he is, so are we.
( Luke 22:31-34 ; John 15:10-11 ; John 16:33 ; Phil. 4:7 ; Ps. 91:11-13 ) We not only want to control tomorrow, but all the people who are part of our lives, who fill our todays and tomorrows. We believe it is our responsibility to heal all the wounds and hurts of our family and associates. We must have the answers to all their problems. We are responsible to provide for family and to counsel and discipline children. . God commands us never to manipulate others or try to live life for them. We must repent of our sinful attempts to control the lives of others, and release them to God Who is responsible for them.
( Num. 13:25-14:35 ; Phil. 4:6-7 ; James 4:6-8 ; 1 Pet. 5:5-6 ) We are afraid of change, the fear of the unknown that causes anxiety. We procrastinate learning a new skill, driving a car, fear changing jobs, meeting new people, moving to a new area, afraid of success and new challenges: fear of being found wanting. We worry over things we have no control over: the life or death of loved ones, their joy and their sadness, and the choices they make. We worry because the Lie has taught us we should control them. The fear of death is the ultimate fear of the unknown and uncontrollable.
These types of fear lead to murmuring and complaining and often directed at God. We must do as Joshua and Caleb in not fearing the unknown. They self-talked the truth, confronting themselves and their fears in the presence of God. They knew God’s presence with them, and they knew God’s track record.
( Rom. 6:3-6 ; 2 Cor. 5:17,21 ; Rom. 8:1-2 ; Heb. 11:1 ) The only way to be free from all fear, especially the anxiety arising from the compulsion to control, is to pass through the ultimate fear, fear of death. We must become new persons, no longer dominated and controlled by the Lie and the liar. The only way that can happen is for that lie-controlled self to die ! Jesus took our place in death and resurrection. Our response to that announcement is to repent and renounce the Lie, specifically in the area of control. Faith means death to the controlling self because the act of faith in the Gospel is admitting we can do nothing to save ourselves from ourselves and our sin. Faith abandons all efforts to make self right with God and rests with thanks in what God has done in Christ.
Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)
Read this worksheet and verses daily, develop a sense of consciousness of the Presence of God.
List those areas, people and circumstances, that cause anxieties. List areas which you try to control. See yourself dead to the old fleshly reactions , see yourself filled with the Presence of the Holy Spirit . With Him you confront the old fear-filled patterns of the flesh and the controlling spirit. See the life of these lies evaporate in the Light and the Presence of Christ who now directs your life.
He is constantly at work within us, changing the old programs of behavior that conformed to the Lie, that we may be conformed to the very image of Christ in Whom we are more than conquerors. Thus, we allow Him through us to be God in the lives of others and in the circumstances of life.
Accordingly, we put away anxiety and control, place ourselves as intercessors in the spiritual realm, and put our trust in God that He will intercede in the lives of those for whom we pray. We rest in Him (not in ourselves) that He will do according to His word. See worksheets Section 8.4, “Union with Christ” and Section A.8, “Freedom From Anxiety” .