Jesus didn’t mess around when he talked about fear. His core message was “I, not your fear, am in control.”
Are fear and anxiety part of our God-given makeup? Oddly, yes. Fear alerts us to danger, and anxiety is our physical response to those alerts. Life from birth to grave is filled with such moments. While on earth Jesus felt the anxiety of those to whom he ministered. His words about fear were designed to not only calm them but also to help them grow in their spiritual walk.
We are all plagued by fear at one time or another. In my younger years, most of my life decisions were in some way tied to my fears. Yes, I wanted to please God, but it was my own expectations and standards for success that I focused on. I was driven by a mighty fear of failure that threatened at times to consume me.
Your fears may be about a relationship, money or illness. You might suffer from depression, or maybe you just carry around a general anxiety about the state of the world. No matter the battle, Jesus invites us to view life through his divine lens. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, ESV).
Peace and freedom from fear come only when we disconnect our hearts and minds from the values of the world. This is a conscious, deliberate act. It is interrupting the endless stream of harassing thoughts to say, “Lord, give me your perspective, right here, right now. Help me to let go and see that it is all in your control. I will worship you, not my fears.”
Being attentive to what lies beneath our fears clues us in to what matters to us, and therefore what needs adjusting. “He’s got the whole world in his hands,” says the song. Do you believe it? Or are you mired in needless worry and fear?
It is when we seek the face of God our creator, when we turn our attention fully to him, that we find rest and safety. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).