Smack dab in the middle between real life and real faith is—real fear. Fear of failure. Fear that we’ll look foolish. Fear that everyone will laugh when we do fail. Fear that __________ —fill in the blank with your own fear. There’s no shortage of reasons to be afraid. But how can we stop being afraid?
I believe that for those who have trusted in Christ as their only hope, God has not left us to be paralyzed by the unknown.
Instead, His Word gives us 7 steps for overcoming fear and rising victoriously above the challenges that come our way.
That’s not to say it will be easy.
They’re not simple steps, although they sure do beat the alternative of being imprisoned by fear.
Maybe you’re feeling that vise now as it tightens its grip on your soul. Maybe you’ve been getting advice that sounds good, but some of it is leaving you with the uneasy feeling that you’re missing God’s wisdom in it all.
God’s solutions to life’s struggles tend to require great faith because they are often counterintuitive. They requires us to step out before we know how it will all turn out.
Our family has had to continue to learn a thing or two about walking by faith and facing our fears over the last couple of years as God called us to step away from our security and step toward our destiny.
Most recently, He called us to take a further step that had me literally forcing my hand open, palm up, telling God how much it scared me to let go.
I’m still fighting to keep that hand open and step forward as I choose not to fear.
God’s solution to fear comes in Psalm 46 where He reveals divine wisdom for all who are afraid. The psalmist gives 7 steps for overcoming fear, each rich with comfort, courage, and hope.
Psalm 46: God’s Solution to Fear
So let’s read the chapter then unpack the counterintuitive wisdom from the psalmist to press forward with confidence.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
7 Steps to Stop Being Afraid and Obey God
- Remember who God is. The psalm begins with the vital reminder that God “is our refuge and our strength,” both our defense and our offense. Even better, it says that He is a “very present help” in our trouble. The words literally mean that God is abundantly ready to aid us when fear strikes— if only we will let Him. That, quite frankly, is the hard part.
- Remember who we are. When we pause to ponder God as our fortress, we’re quickly reminded of a simple fact—we often need a fortress. We get freaked out by the storms of life when “mountains are cast into the sea” or the “waters roar and foam.” And who wouldn’t? Oh, that’s right. God.
- Trust in His grace. In the midst of life’s chaos, “there is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God.” As God’s dwelling places, we must trust—by faith—that we will “not be moved.” On a practical note, it is much easier to trust when we have not cut ourselves off from the means God uses to get the grace to us. By connecting to an authentic faith-focused community, we create opportunities for grace to flow.
- Know that He will answer. Once we are trusting in Him, we can then position ourselves to wait for Him to act. When God does it, there will be no mistaking it—bows are broken, spears cracked in half, and chariots burned. In other words, show’s over; everybody go home. But remember, God likes to move “just at the break of dawn.” He is, after all, the God of the eleventh hour who delights in deriving the most glory from each life adventure we encounter..
- Be still. The hardest part to overcoming fear is doing nothing. Yet that is precisely what God calls us to do so that he can get maximum glory for His efforts. There will be stuff to do, to be sure, but it will be God who does it. Waiting on Him will require more faith than you ever dreamed possible. But it is the only path to overcoming fear.
- Watch Him work. “Know that He is God.” The Hebrew word used here translated know carries the connotation of knowing by observing. In other words, when we position ourselves before Him and wait for Him to move, we get taken to school by the Almighty I Am. We get to watch Him work. We learn more about how mind-blowing He is— but we learn it in a way we could never have understood if we hadn’t waited for Him to move on our behalf.
- Worship Him! “The Lord of Hosts is with is! The God of Jacob is our refuge.” It’s important to note that the psalmist’s first chorus of praise comes before God’s rescue arrives. The second chorus comes after. We show our faith when we worship Him as if He has already delivered us from the fear we are facing—because we know with such certainty that He will. Faith is acting based on what you believe to be true and not on what you might see around you.
Question: Have you ever seen God do something amazing when you were content to be still and wait for Him to move? Which step brings the most comfort to you in the situations you are facing right now? Share your thoughts by clicking here.