There is a sense in which some fear is a good thing. Fear is a natural instinct that, at times in life, keeps us from dangers that could truly harm us. Proverbs 9:10 tells us that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
We also know, however, that the Bible speaks of certain types of fear in a negative light. These fears and anxieties are the types of things that draw our trust away from God, and that let the things of this world have a hold on us that is simply not right.
Psalm 56 was penned at a time when David was fighting to overcome fear. Near the outset of that poem, he stated that he had “an attacker” (verse 1) and that his enemies were trampling him “all day long” (verse 2). It would have only been natural and understandable to have a certain level of fear in those circumstances! (For the historical background to this poem, read 1 Samuel 21:8-15).
How can we overcome such fear? In the midst of the poem, David wrote, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” (verses 3-4)
Those beautiful and faith-filled lines give us three steps to help in overcoming fear.
Step 1: Trust God. Often, when we fear, it is because we begin to take our eyes off of God and His unending power. We need to trust Him, no matter what enemies and struggles we face. After all, He is the only One who is truly Almighty!
Step 2: Lift Up the Word of God. We need to have God’s Word in our hearts before difficulties come, so we can rely on its precious promises when we face times of discomfort. It offers us “comfort,” among so many other things (see Romans 15:4).
Step 3: Remember Human Limitations. “What can flesh do to me?” Enemies may have certain advantages, but they are still just flesh, as we are. Even if they completely take away our life, what victory have they really won? They cannot cost us our soul unless we let them.
Fears will come. How we face them and overcome them is what matters. Will you face and overcome them with God, or will you let fears get the best of you?
– Adam Faughn