How God’s Love Helps Me With My Fears
Jesus encourages us here with these words. He tells us THREE times to not be afraid. The word fear comes from the Greek word “phobia.” You have probably seen this word used when describing medical terms that describe people’s fears. There are many different fears. Here are some examples:
Arachnophobia – fear of spiders
Hemophobia – fear of blood
Globophobia – fear of balloons
Paraskevidekatriaphobia – fear of Friday the 13th
Pogonophobia – fear of beards
Coulrophobia – fear of clowns
In this case, we see that Jesus is addressing what I am calling “Evangeliaphobia,” or the fear of sharing the Gospel.
Some people suffer from what’s called “Social Anxiety Disorder.” This means that they fear social or public speaking in which embarrassment or humiliation may occur. Christians can suffer from “Gospel Anxiety Disorder.” This means that they fear to share the Gospel in which they may feel embarrassed or humiliated.
Jesus addresses this disorder. He addresses the fears that you and may have in sharing the Gospel with other people.
“Don’t be afraid of them” (Matthew 10:26)
“Don’t fear those who can kill the body” (Matthew 10:28)
“Don’t be afraid” (Matthew 10:31)
When addressing these fears, Jesus gives several reasons why God (and specifically God’s love) can help me overcome my “Gospel Anxiety Disorder.” But the principles to help me overcome my fear of sharing the Gospel can also apply to any fear I may have as well. So these verses give reasons God’s love can help overcome my fear of sharing the Gospel can also help me when I am afraid for other reasons. They all tied to expressions of God’s love for me.
FIVE REASONS GOD’S LOVE CAN HELP ME OVERCOME MY FEARS
1. I can overcome my fear of getting out of my comfort zone because God will assure me (Matthew 10:26)
““Therefore, don’t be afraid of them, since there is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered and nothing hidden that won’t be made known.” (Matthew 10:26, CSB)
Many theologians think that this is about persecution. In context, Jesus did say that the disciples will be persecuted. But persecution is hard because it makes the Christian uncomfortable.
When it comes to “Gospel anxiety disorder,” what a Christian fears most is not being in physical pain, but being socially uncomfortable.
How many times have you been challenged to share the Gospel? How did you feel? I bet you felt like me. That’s great. I would love to share Jesus with others. But then you get out there and you meet someone who doesn’t know Jesus. What happens? You clam up. You can’t speak. You fumble your words. The person challenges what you say. They distract you from being able to share the Gospel. The next thing you know, the conversation has changed and the opportunity has slipped away.
It’s uncomfortable to feel that way. It is uncomfortable to realize that you may screw it up. It doesn’t feel good to be challenged in our faith. It makes you feel uneasy to realize that the next person with whom you may have a Gospel conversation may not end well. As a result, you hesitate to speak up.
This is the reason that Jesus said to not be afraid. So God’s love can assure me in an uncomfortable situation I find myself in. Whether it is the awkwardness of sharing the Gospel or anything else that makes me uncomfortable, God is there with me. He can assure me that I am going to be ok, even when things are uncomfortable.
2. I can overcome my fear of speaking openly about Jesus because God will help me (Matthew 10:27)
“What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light. What you hear in a whisper, proclaim on the housetops.” (Matthew 10:27, CSB)
Jesus said elsewhere that I don’t have to worry about what I am going to say because the Holy Spirit will give me the words to say.
“For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what must be said.”” (Luke 12:12, CSB)
“So when they arrest you and hand you over, don’t worry beforehand what you will say, but say whatever is given to you at that time, for it isn’t you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:11, CSB)
The difficult news that people are sinners needs to be shared openly. The important news that sinners need a Savior needs to be shared with people in all kinds of ways. The good news that Jesus saves us and calls us to follow Him must be shared publicly.
This seems to be a very difficult subject for Christians. We don’t want to tell others about Jesus. We ask about how the evening with friends, but not about the eternal state of those friends. We talk enthusiastically about the next sports game, but not the next worship gathering at church. We share about our frustrations and needs online but we never ask about the spiritual needs of people around us who are lost.
This applies not just when I am speaking to others about Jesus. The number one fear that most people have is the fear of speaking. God’s love can give me the confidence I need when I speak to others. Yes, this directly applies to how one shares the Gospel. But God can help me with anxieties related to speaking as well in general.
3. I can overcome my fear of death because God will be with me for eternity (Matthew 10:28)
“Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28, CSB)
Another fear that people have is the fear of death. It’s called thanatophobia. This is when people fear the actual thought of their impending death. While it is normal to contemplate death, it is abnormal to worry yourself sick over it.
“If you died tonight, do you know where you would go after you die?” The Bible says that there are two places. Jesus talks about one of them here. He says some people will end up body and soul in Hell. Yet, Jesus says elsewhere that you can go to have eternal life in Heaven.
He says in John 3:16
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, CSB)
He also said that this eternal place will occur in a location that He described as His Father’s House:
“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2, CSB)
“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, CSB)
As Christians, we don’t have to worry about powerful people of this world is that the soul matters more than the body and that, at the worst, the rulers of this world can take only our lives. If we are going to be afraid of anyone, it should be God, who alone will determine our final destinies.1
What else but such a transcendent, eternal perspective enabled Martin Luther to declare before the mighty of his day, “Here I stand. I can do no other. May God help me. Amen.”2 Or to say to other Christians,
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still;
His kingdom is forever.
We should remember that it is not in an earthly body but in a spiritual body that we will share that kingdom with him.3
The person who fears God alone need never fear any man or group of men. The fear of God is the fear that cancels fear.4
4. I can overcome my fear of what comes next when I rely on God’s sovereignty. (Matthew 10:29-30)
“Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted.” (Matthew 10:29–30, CSB)
Jesus gives us two examples here that point to the fact that God is sovereign in this world. First, even though sparrows are not worth much, God takes care of them. On the other hand, humans are much more valuable to God. We are so valuable to God that He knows every single hair on the head of each person. He knows that much detail about us all.
The same sovereignty that God has over the animal world, He also has over my world. God knows what will happen to me today. He also knows what will happen tomorrow. Things don’t go unnoticed by God. Things don’t happen without God working in them.
People worry about what will happen in life. Jesus clearly says here that God will take care of me. When things seem uncertain, one may be scared of what will happen.
Will I get paid this week?
Will I still have a job?
Will I be able to pay the bills?
Nothing happens apart from God. We may not see God. Yet, we don’t need to fear because God is actively involved in this life.
5. I can overcome my fear because God values me (Matthew 10:31)
“So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31, CSB)
There is a sense of security that occurs when a person knows how much they are valued and loved. Kids who know that their parents love them feel secure. They don’t get scared about what will happen the next hour, day, or week because they know that someone loves them and values them as a human being.
If I know that God can take care of my days, then I can trust that He knows what is best for me. His love wants the best for me. As a result, His love can cast out all of my fears.
“There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love.” (1 John 4:18, CSB)
Love really does cast out all fear.
1 James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001), 181.
2 See J. H. Merle D’Aubigne, The Life and Times of Martin Luther, trans. H. White (Chicago: Moody Press, 1958), 433.
3 James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001), 182.
4 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 39.