President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear can stop us dead in our tracks or cause us to run in panic. Fear is one of the biggest Goliath’s that people face. Fear creates a biochemical reaction that can either be paralyzing or can induce a hyper-sensitivity to our environment. Fear can make us run; fear can paralyze us or fear can make us imagine things that aren’t even true. Fear deceived the army of Israel. 1 Samuel 17:8-11 says,
8 Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
“Saul and all his army were dismayed and terrified”, what pitiful words. Satan’s goal is to neutralize every one of us with fear. When we are afraid we take our eyes off of God. When we are afraid we obsess on the object of our fear. When we are afraid we become self-centered and defensive. When we are afraid we lash out in anger and isolate ourselves in shame. When we are afraid we become self-focused rather than God-focused and we become vulnerable to Goliath-sized attacks. Weakened by fear, we become susceptible to temptation, accusation and deception.
In the book of Joshua, God encourages Joshua to overcome his fears with faith. Three times in chapter one God told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous”. Like Joshua, we need to be strong and courageous in obeying God’s Word. Joshua 1:7-9 says this,
7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
We need to obey all the law; we need to stay on its path; we need to have it in our hearts and on our lips; we need to meditate on it day and night and we need to be careful do everything written in it! This is God’s game plan for success and the true way to overcome our fears. God’s Word is a guide to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). It is the truth that sets us free (John 8:31-32). It teaches us, rebukes us, corrects us, trains us in righteousness and equips us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God’s Word literally has the power to change our lives (Hebrews 4:12). For any one of us struggling with fear, it is the Word of God that replaces fear with faith; “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Rather than being defeated by fear, we can be strong and courageous when we meditate on and apply the Word of God to our lives.