No one is immune from difficulty.
While speaking to His disciples, Jesus reassures us that we will have difficulties.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV (emphasis mine)
There’s no avoiding the hardships.
Yet we can still have hope.
In the midst of the truth of trouble, Jesus tells us to take heart, because He has overcome the world.
How can we take heart when fear creeps in?
A few weeks ago, I was dealing with some fear issues. The truth of the matter is that I know I have victory over fear. God and I have had many conversations about fear in my life and He has assured me that He has given me everything to overcome it. Yet that truth does not change the fact that fear still tries to creep in.
This particular week it felt more like bulldozing in than creeping in. So I did what I knew to do….
I took heart, and I went to the Word.
I landed upon Psalm 27 with an encouraging word from David.
If you know anything about King David, you know He was a man after God’s own heart. Yet He was always in a battle.
Isn’t that typical?
But David didn’t cower in the face of resistance. He chose to not let difficulties defeat him. He knew battles would come, so he set up processes in his life to ensure his victory.
He took heart.
And we can too!
How to Take Heart when Fear Creeps In
Declare who God is
The Lord is my light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 NLT
When we go through difficult and fearful times we are tempted to complain and question God.
David did the exact opposite.
He declared God was his light and salvation.
When God is our light, we are confident that He will show us the way.
We are acknowledging that during the dark times, there is hope in Him.
By saying He’s our light we are also declaring our contentment in Him.
We may not be happy with our circumstances, but we can choose to be at rest and trust in Him.
David also declared God as His salvation.
What does that mean?
He is our deliverance, our strong tower and our place of safety.
He is our defense against harm and our protection from danger.
There is no spot we can get into that He can’t save us from. As Isaiah said,
Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.
He is faithful to deliver us from anything that comes against us when we call upon Him.
Project a Positive Future
When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Psalm 27:2 NLT
Right after declaring who God is, David turns his sight to the reality of who the enemy is in comparison to God.
He projects a positive future, because his confidence is in God!
In essence he is saying, This enemy is no match for my God!
Ok, so I have to admit something here.
When faced with anxiety or any other difficult situation, I can be the queen of what if’s.
You know what I mean… perhaps you do it to.
What if I make the wrong decision?
What if they reject me when I tell them the truth?
What if I say the wrong thing and I’m humiliated in front of everyone?
And even worse, rather than just thinking them, I can start to speak them.
These what if’s are defeating thoughts that lead us down the path to fear. The more we consider the what if’s, the more anxious and fearful we become.
Numerous verses in the Bible encourage us to control our thoughts, making them line up with God’s Word.
If we want to overcome, we have to make our thoughts and mouths line up with our desired outcome.
Make up Your Mind
Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. Psalm 27:3-4 NLT
When confronted with fearful situations we tend to react based on feelings. There have been numerous times when I’ve been in large crowds where my “fearful feelings” have caused me to bolt.
Was there real danger?
Of course not. But in that moment I felt fear gripping me and I needed to get away from the crowds.
Like David, I have learned to make up my mind ahead of time.
If I wait to decide what to do when the time comes, I will certainly cower.
Thinking about my response ahead of time allows me time to prepare my heart and mind.
It also reminds me to pray about the situation and get God’s perspective before going in.
The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,… Psalm 27:4 NLT
Of all the verses, this is the one I concentrated on the most. In the midst of a fearful situation, David had one request.
I think mine would have been, “Lord, deliver me. Pull me out of this mess.” Or something close to that.
But He asks something different, something unusual–to live in the house of the Lord every.single.day of his life.
At first it may seem like a strange request considering his circumstances.
Yet the more I dug into this verse, I began to see what David was really after.
The word live here is the word “yashab” meaning to sit, dwell, remain or abide.
I’m reminded of the scripture in John 15:5, “”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.”
David knew there was protection in the intimate places with God. If he could dwell close to Him, he had no reason to fear.
We can have that same assurance.
Our intimacy with God will directly affect our ability to ward off fear.
Fear has no place in the presence of God. In fact, the Bible says everything has to bow to the name of Jesus, including fear.
Meditate on the Word
…delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. Psalm 27:4 NLT
David was a pro at meditating on God’s Word. Whether he was running for his life or drowning in sorrow, He always made the Word his refuge.
We can as well.
As we meditate on God’s Word it becomes stored in our hearts.
I’ve noticed that the more Word I’ve read, the more freedom I’ve gained. When negative, defeating thoughts rise up, so do scriptures that combat them.
The great news is that we don’t have to rely on our own strength to memorize these scriptures. We have the Holy Spirit to remind us of what we’ve read!
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26 NIV
God has given us a Helper who will remind us of the Word when we we need it.
What a powerful revelation!
Spending Time in Prayer
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8 NLT
David was sensitive to the voice of God. He not only trained his ear to hear God, but to respond to Him when He called.
He spent time basking in the Presence of God.
My prayer time is probably one of my favorite times with the Lord. I love to tell Him what’s on my heart and listen for His response.
When we commune with Him, our hearts become settled. Many times I have come to Him worn out and frustrated, only to leave peaceful and at rest.
Shouldn’t we expect that?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
How do we take on His yoke? I believe when we spend time in prayer with Him, a divine exchange takes place. When we lay down our burdens, our hands are open to receive His peace.
What fears do you need to gain freedom from today?
As we spend time with God, declare His Word and fix our thoughts on what He says is true, we will begin to see our fears fade.
**You can check out the rest of the Battling Fear Series HERE.**
***Here is a free printable to get you started on your journey to overcoming fear! Write and confess these 20 scriptures as part of your plan for battling fear and anxiety at it’s onset!***