What is the greatest fear you’re facing right now?
What gets your stomach in knots? When you’re driving in your car and everything is quiet and your mind drifts, what makes your heart rate increase and you suddenly realize you’re afraid?
For some of us, it’s the fear of losing our health or losing our job. For others, it’s the fear of never getting married, or the fear that our marriage won’t get any better. Or maybe it’s the fear that one of our kids or grandkids will get into a car accident.
It’s significant to note that the most common command God gives to His people in the Old and New Testament is, “Fear not.” and “Be not afraid.” This command is usually followed by the declaration, “For I am with you.”
God doesn’t want us to be afraid, despite our circumstances.
So, how do we experience His power and calming presence in the midst of life’s fear-inducing storms?
In order to discover this, we need to understand how God has made and wired our mind and our emotions, and how they work together.
What we allow in our minds either creates or feeds our fears.
Despite living in a world that was filled with such uncertainty, violence, and injustice, the Apostle Paul was able to experience the peace of God. Then He instructed the church in Philippi how they could have peace in the midst of their fears, too. He said,
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
In other words, what we put into our minds matters!
Some of us are feeding our fears instead of starving them. Instead, we need to be starving our fears and feeding our faith.
We are what we eat psychologically. Here’s where science and Scripture are in alignment.
We are the product of our thought life.
Who we are today is the product of our past thinking of what we thought was true, our focus, and our decisions. Proverbs 23:78 says,
“for as he thinks within himself, so he is…”
What we allow into our minds is the most important decision we make each and every day.
What we think about, what we watch, what we listen to – it all matters. Even the conversations we have with others. What we allow into our eyes and ears that seeps down into our soul is the most important decision we’ll ever make each and every day.
Our emotions flow from our thoughts.
Most of us make lots of decisions based on our emotions. But our emotions follow our thoughts. In a book called “The 4:8 Principle” by Tommy Newberry, he lists some things that we tend to unconsciously tell ourselves that produce negative emotions like anxiety, hopelessness, and fear.
We tell ourselves things like: “I’ll never be happy again. This probably won’t work… If I had more money it wouldn’t matter, I would just probably worry about it… I don’t have what it takes… This always happens to me… I’m not worthy… I’m just not very creative… I have to just accept my limitations… I never say the right thing.” And on and on…
Instead, we need to declare what’s true.
We should be telling ourselves things like: “I am the son/daughter of the Living God. I have an inheritance from Him. God has already reserved a place for me in heaven. He has deposited spiritual gifts in my life. I have His peace living in my heart. He has blessed me with this, this, and this…”
Want to overcome your fear? Then, let’s focus on what is true.
To learn how God’s peace works and how you can have it regardless of your circumstances, check out Chip’s series I Choose Peace: How to Quiet Your Heart in the Chaos of Life.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip