The other night I taught lesson 2 from overcoming fear at our youth group and I would like to share some of the insights with you here. Before digging down deep in lesson 2, I would like to review the important truths that we learned in lesson 1. You can read the entire article here.
- We are naturally fearful because of our sin nature. We fear the natural elements around us and we need protection from them. God offers us protection in the person of Jesus Christ. He is able to protect us because He holds the world and the things in the world in the palm of His hand. We need to look to Him and trust instead of doubting and being afraid.
- We are afraid to try great things for God because of our fear of failure. God knows that and not only does He give us what we need to begin a great task for God, He also walks along beside us as we accomplish great things for Him, ready to offer a supporting, helping hand in time of need. We need to focus on Him and not the circumstances around us.
- Like King David, we need to know God based on His Word so that we can trust in Him when everything around us is falling apart. If we do not know Him based on His Word then we will be easily overwhelmed with our circumstances in this life.
Today’s lesson is important because we will discover God’s character and learn why we should trust in Him and how to do it. If you do not know His character and ways then it is very difficult to trust. You will be more inclined to trust in yourself.
I. You can either fear circumstances (people) or trust in God
In this life, we all battle fear. We usually fear our circumstances. That is normal because our sin nature causes us to fear. How do we overcome that fear? God gives us the answer in His Word.
25 The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted. (Proverbs 29)
This passage can be viewed in two different ways yet with the same meaning. One could be man’s fear (the fear within you) can ensnare you and keep you from trusting in the Lord. You may claim that you trust in the Lord but when it comes to actions, they show that you are afraid and do not trust the Lord. The other way of viewing this is fearing the people around you. This is a huge problem for many people. Many times people do not want to follow the Lord completely because they are afraid of what others will think or say. Many times people do not want to try to do great things for God because they are concerned that they might fail and then “what will others say of me or think about me”. Are you trapped in the fear of people? The other side of the coin is the fact that the one who trusts in the Lord will be exalted. In the original language, the word is “protected” instead of “exalted”. They have the same meaning. If you trust in the Lord then you will be protected by Him to accomplish greatness. When that greatness is accomplished then you will be exalted. Do you live to accomplish great things for God or, out of fear, do you not even attempt them? You and I may understand the theory behind this but God wants us to apply so He gives us daily exams. These exams show us if we apply the theory or not. If you fail, the good news is, tomorrow is a new day and another chance to pass the exam.
II. The better that you know God the easier it is to trust Him
Do you know God personally? I did not ask if you knew about God. Do you know Him, like a husband knows his wife? Is something like that possible? Yes, and He has given us His Word so that we can know Him personally, intimately. I would like to share a few passages from the Bible that teach us about the character of the God of the universe.
19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all. (Psalm 103)
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne ; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. (Psalm 89)
24 The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely , just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand, 27 “For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back ?” (Isaiah 14)
2 “Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it, the LORD is His name, 3 ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33)
There are some very important truths about God here and we need to understand them.
- He rules over everything. He is in charge and there is no circumstance in your life that surprises Him. He can intervene at any moment and help you. He wants you to turn to Him for help and the moment that you do, He acts on your behalf.
- He acts according to righteousness (correct, right) in all that He does. He wants what is best for you in every circumstance and He knows what is best for you better than you do because He knows you so well that He has counted the number of hairs on your head. God is faithful to His character and will always be faithful, even if you are not.
- No one can stop God from acting. No one can change God’s plans, not even the worst circumstances of your life, not even the worst people in your life.
- The key is calling out to Him (just as Peter did). Christ could have intervened the moment that Peter began to sink yet He waited until Peter cried out to Him and the He acted. Many times we keep God as the last resort when in reality, He should be our first choice.
Do you know these things about God? Are you willing to put them to the test in the midst of life’s difficult circumstances?
III. God is for YOU and you need to know it
13 For You formed my inward parts ; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth ; 16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance ; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God ! How vast is the sum of them! (Psalm 139)
God made you to be the person that you are. He chose your gender, height, body type, hair color, eye color, personality etc. You are wonderfully made to be just the way that you are. God formed you while you were in your mother’s womb. Even the things that you consider to be your faults, they are no surprise to God because He wanted to make you that way for His glory and your own good. God has also chosen the exact amount of days that you will live on this earth. You cannot add to or take away from them so there is no need to fear. Even death is not to be feared because you cannot speed up or slow down your meeting with it. Not only did God create you to be the way that you are, He also has thoughts about you and plans for your future.
8 The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting ; Do not forsake the works of Your hands. (Psalm 138:8)
God wants to work in you and through you according to His lovingkindness. His love for you causes Him to do good to you and that goodness and that love are both everlasting, eternal. He will not stop His good work in you and He will not stop doing good for you. You can trust Him and by doing so, your fear will be driven out. You will have to face your fears each and every day but, the victory is already yours, even before the battle begins. So, all you have to do is know your God and stand on that knowledge so that when the battle against your fears comes, you can apply what you know and God will give you victory. He has already promised it to you. The ball is now in your court, are you going to trust Him and live victoriously or will you be conquered by your fears and worries?