Depending on how you respond to it, fear can either break your faith or actually make it grow. You want to know how?
There are different kinds of fear. One of them cripples you and makes you live a powerless Christian life. The other one helps you live life right and in check with the Lord. You read that right – there is fear that helps us in our walk with the Lord. It's called the fear of the Lord.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines fear as "an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger." It's the feeling you get when you are in unfamiliar territory, in the middle of a life-threatening situation, or simply when you know you'll be scolded for doing something wrong as a child.
This kind of fear cripples us and hinders us from doing what we should do. Because we fear being rejected, we often tend to shy away from sharing the gospel. Because we fear losing or failing, we don't even try our hand in anything. Because we fear man's opinion, we tend to go along and abandon our convictions. These are but some of the things that happen when we fear the wrong things.
The Bible tells us not to fear man, but rather to fear God (Matt. 10:28). When we fear God, we gain wisdom (Prov. 9:10). When we fear God, we will avoid all sorts of extreme behavior and lifestyles (Eccl. 7:18). When we fear God, we become fearless because "there is no fear in [His] love" (1 John 4:18).
Even as Christians, we are still vulnerable to fear. Here are some things that you can do to put a stop to fear's hold over your life and use it to help you grow in the Lord.
1) Put your fear in the Lord.
Instead of fearing man's opinion or the possibility that you'll get rejected, remember that it is God whom you should please. Jesus said "[d]o not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28).
2) Trust in the Lord.
Worrying will not add a few inches to your height in the same way that it will not add a few bucks into your wallet. Instead of worrying about what you will eat, drink or wear, trust in the Lord and do what is right (see Matthew 6:25-34). He will never let you down.
3) Put your faith in the finished work of Christ.
The Lord in John 15-16 told His disciples of His coming death and resurrection, as well as His departure and the impending persecution that they would face as His followers. Nevertheless, He gave them His peace and told them to "take heart" because He has "overcome the world" (John 16:33).
In the same way, when fear strikes, know that Christ has overcome the world. There are no challenges or trials that He cannot help us face.