In this series, first we looked at our fears and how our fears fuel our compulsion or “need” to control others, then we looked at facing our deepest fears. Today we will talk about the path to finding victory over our fears in Christ. (I’d also like to invite you to my Peacefulwife Blog Facebook page today where we are discussing the question “Why should I pretend to respect my husband and put on an act like I am coy and meek. That feels fake.”)
Rev. Harold Weaver, a minister I deeply respect at our church, mentioned in a Bible class one time that when churches teach Armenianism, which Baptists and many Protestant denominations do – we focus much on the “free will of man” and we don’t balance that out properly with “the sovereignty of God.” Rev. Weaver explained that when we focus more on human free will and we don’t focus on God’s sovereignty, we lose our healthy fear of God and we develop an “independent spirit” – believing we have much more power and control than we really do.
This topic could seriously be a whole book in and of itself – or multiple books. But I am going to address some of the fundamental remedies for us to conquer our fear to get you started. Then you will need to research, pray, seek God, wrestle with your fears and determine if God is who He says He is in His Word and if you will trust Him fully or not.
CONQUERING OUR FEAR:
1. We must know God. The real God of the Bible. Not who we think He is or our wimpy, warped, messed up pictures of Him – but who HE proclaims Himself to be in His Word.
We must be willing to study His Word, dig as deeply as we can, seek Him with ALL of our hearts, long for Him with all that we are and research to begin to understand and know His character.
Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” John 17:3
Study in God’s Word, use a concordance if you would like to, about God’s nature, His character and get to really know God. Tell Him you want to know Him more. Listen to what He says about Himself and about us and accept His Word as absolute truth. Read/listen to as many David Platt and John Piper sermons as you can (or other solid Bible teaching pastors’ materials) about the character and sovereignty of God. Until we begin to really know God, we can’t trust Him. And if we can’t trust Him, we are putting our trust in other things and we will always live in fear when we don’t trust God.
2. We must replace our fear of circumstances and of people with a healthy fear of God.
As we get to know God in a deep, personal and intimate way, we can begin to develop a healthy fear of God. That means, we will stand in total AWE of Him, with trembling before Him – realizing just how incredibly powerful, holy, pure, just, wise, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, sovereign, good, loving, great, mighty and majestic He is. When we don’t know that God is good and God is great and God is love and God is sovereign – we don’t believe we can trust Him because we believe He may have evil motives towards us or that He is not strong enough to take care of us.
Sadly, even in the church today, we have developed a very wimpy attitude and picture of God. We think of Him more as our “buddy” and we treat Him with entirely too much informality and irreverence. We approach God in a very casual way today – in our attitude, in our dress at church, in our words, in our behavior and in our prayers. Many believers today greatly lack proper fear, reverence, respect and awe of the God and Creator of the universe.
When our view is that God is weak and wimpy and small, our problems and circumstances can look bigger to us than God does. We fear whatever we believe is more powerful than we are. If we believe we are most powerful in our lives, we won’t fear God. We may fear circumstances, but not God. God commands us not to fear men (people), and not to seek the approval of men, but to fear God and to seek His approval alone. He commands us not to fear circumstances but to look to Him to provide for, protect, direct and guide us. It is only when we have a proper perspective on God’s identity (strong, powerful, mighty, unstoppable, holy, perfect, just, loving, kind) and our own identity (small, sinful, weak, impotent) that we can begin to fear God instead of other things.
Do a word study about “fearing God” and “the fear of the Lord.”
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7
You can go to www.biblehub.com and type in “fear of the Lord” and you can search “fear” and “afraid” and see what God says about what we are to fear and what we are not to fear. God has quite a lot to say to us about the subject of fear.
3. We must take our eyes off of people, self and circumstances and keep our eyes firmly set on Christ.
Whatever we focus on and feed will grow in our lives. If we focus on our scary circumstances or that our needs are not getting met or we focus on bad things – those things will begin to appear bigger and bigger in our lives. If we focus on Christ and on things that are good, noble, true, praiseworthy, excellent, of good report, etc… those things will begin to appear bigger and bigger in our lives. (Philippians 4:8)
Many wives say to me, “My husband doesn’t love me anymore. He wants to leave me. So – there is no hope for me.”
THAT IS NOT TRUE, MY PRECIOUS SISTERS!!!!!!!!
Wives somehow believe the lie of the enemy that a husband’s current emotions and current thoughts are insurmountable obstacles because they have their eyes on their husbands and their circumstances and they are looking to place their faith and hope in their husbands or their marriages. That is not where we put our faith, my precious sisters!
I don’t really care what your husband thinks or feels right now. I mean – it would be great if all husbands loved all wives all the time and were completely committed to their marriage every moment. And I really don’t want him to feel hurt, disrespected, dishonored and controlled. But – what I care about most is what God says and what He thinks. As you focus on Christ and you seek Him with all your heart and you desire to walk in total obedience to Him by the power of His Spirit flowing through your life – God is perfectly able to change your husband’s heart and mind and your circumstances.
Our God is SOVEREIGN!!!!?!?!!?
This doesn’t depend on us. It doesn’t depend on our husbands. It is ALL about Jesus and what He is able to do. There is no one who is out of the reach of God’s sovereignty. Your husband cannot snatch you from God’s sovereign love and from His will. No matter what your husband does, God is able to use it all for your ultimate good and God’s ultimate glory and He may even use these trials and difficulties to bring your husband to Himself. You can’t even take yourself out of God’s sovereign hands. Yes, we have free will and – yes, PRAISE GOD, at the same time, God is sovereign. Those things do not contradict each other, they work in harmony.
When we really “get” what it means that God is sovereign, we can rest in His love, wisdom and sovereignty and trust Him to work things out for our ultimate good and His glory because we love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28-29). When we really understand that God is in charge and that we can trust His heart and we have a healthy fear of Him and we are keeping our eyes on Him, we can approach each day as an exciting adventure because we never know what God might do to change things up and to alter our circumstances and to do miracles. Our job is just to trust Him, seek to know Him more, listen to Him, obey Him and ask Him to fill us up with His Spirit and power that He might accomplish His will, His purposes and His greatest glory in our lives.
4. We must humbly approach God and allow Him to reveal our great sin to us, so that we may repent. We must keep short accounts with God.
We cannot be close to God if we cherish sin in our hearts. Any sin has to go. If we hold on to sin, we repel God and the power of His Spirit slows to a trickle in our lives. That is NOT GOOD! Let’s be willing to allow God to remove every trace of sin that offends Him in our lives, to convict us of anything that He hates in our souls – and let us allow Him to purify our motives and our lives and transform us to be more like Christ.
One thing God does give us control over is how much of Him we allow into our lives.
Let’s ask God to give us the MOST of Himself that He can possibly give to us! Let’s turn the valve to “wide open” and allow His Spirit to flood our hearts and souls like Niagra Falls!!!!! Let’s give Him full reign and control in our lives and ask for ALL of Himself!!!!
There is no greater treasure in the universe than our God!
5. We must DIE TO SELF. We must completely and fully surrender all of ourselves and our lives, our desires, our dreams, our goals, our wisdom, our plans, our possessions, our family members, our future, our health, our talents, our time, our resources, our lack of ability to obey God, our sinful nature, all that we have and all that we are and all that we might ever be 100% to Jesus as LORD. We give Him all of ourselves. At first, this seems like a great sacrifice.
6. We receive all that Jesus has for us. After we give Jesus all of ourselves without reservation and in total faith, He will give us all of Himself and all that He has, His dreams, His desires, His goals, His wisdom, His plans, His possessions, His family, His future, His inheritance, His abilities, His holiness, His Spirit, His peace, His joy, His total ability to submit to and obey God, all that He has and all that He is. We must be willing to receive what He provides for us – spiritual treasures and wealth beyond measure. It turns out, God asked us to sacrifice what was actually garbage in our lives, so that we could have empty hands to receive REAL treasure from Him. We will spend the rest of our lives learning to tap into all the riches of Christ as we follow Him wholeheartedly. He IS our Life! He is our Greatest Treasure. He is our Hope.
He is our Pearl of Greatest Price for Whom we are willing to give up anything and everything else to own.
He is worthy of all of our praise, sacrifice, worship, honor, obedience, love, devotion, submission and adoration. We come to a place where we are joyful in being willing to always say, “Yes, Lord!” to anything Jesus asks of us out of gratitude and thankfulness for all He has done for us.
7. We must abide in Christ and in His Word.
He is our Life now. He is all that matters. He is all we want. We know now that if we can just have Him, we can be more than content in this world. So we cling to Him, develop relationship with Him, seek to know Him more, seek to understand His heart, want to love and He loves and hate what He hates. We want to represent Him well to the world and be His ambassadors, to bring many others into relationship and reconciliation with God through Christ. The more we know Him and are empowered by His Spirit, the less the things of this world matter and the more the things of heaven and eternity matter and all we want to do is what He wants us to do.
1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunesa so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17This is my command: Love each other.
I can move forward in total trust, faith and obedience to God, knowing that as I seek Him and obey Him, He will handle the results with my husband and marriage. I trust I can obey God’s Word to win my husband without a word (I Peter 3:1-6) and I can trust God to speak to his heart as I just seek to obey Christ for my part of things. I don’t have to be afraid. I know my Lord. I know what He is capable of. My faith is 100% in Him. I know He will never leave me or forsake me. I know He will empower me to handle whatever may come. I know that if He allows tragedy or problems into my life that He has a plan to use them for my ultimate good to make me more like Jesus and for His glory. I don’t have to be afraid. I just rest in His great love for me and in His power and I am fully submitted to Him, anticipating that He will make me fruitful and useful to Himself and that I will get to be with Him forever in heaven. The peace and joy of Christ come bubbling out of my soul to all those around me. I see people with Jesus’ eyes. I see circumstances through the perspective of heaven. And the things I cannot understand, I trust to God’s wisdom which is much greater than my own.
I become willing to do anything God calls me to do, even if it involves suffering, because I know that God will use suffering to refine me, mold me, chisel me and to make me be more like Jesus. So, I can’t lose. When my faith is totally in Christ, good things are blessings for which I can praise Him. And when my faith is totally in Christ, bad things are opportunities for God to demonstrate His sovereignty and goodness and to teach me and to use me for His glory. I always “win” in Jesus. His perfect love casts out all fear. I John 4:18.
If you have experienced God’s victory over your fear, please share your story and what God has done in your life so others may be greatly blessed!