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How do Christians overcome their fears?

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We have been looking at fear and seeing various approaches to handling and/or overcoming fear.

Recently I came upon an article that really gripped my attention. It was an analysis of an old Bible story that is familiar to many-the story of Moses and his encounter at the burning bush.

Christian writer, Dave Alston, on August 4, 2011 wrote an article entitled How to Overcome Your Fear and the Hidden Reason God Allows It in How to Walk with God.

The following is Dave's take on fear and his biblical analysis of Moses and the burning bush...

FEAR: the biggest obstacle to wholeness many of us face.

Sometimes it’s easily identifiable, but often we have no idea where it comes from at all.

Not all fear is bad though.

Some fear is healthy because it spurs us to take immediate action to avoid catastrophe, such as when an out of control car mounts the pavement and speeds towards us. The fear ignites the adrenaline which propels us to safety as we jump clear.

Without such fear hard wired in us, we could end up as road kill.

So in all our lives we have different types of fears; fears of what others think, fear about our appearance, fear we are unable to accomplish tasks or pass exams, fear that we’ll lose our jobs, run out of money, succumb to illness, grow old, be robbed, be rejected by friends, colleagues or family, fear of betrayal, fear our sins will be known, fear we will let God down—the list goes on and on.

In fact you could spend forever digging around your emotions trying to correctly identify and overcome the fears you feel every day. Now I don’t know about you, but quite frankly I just don’t have the time nor energy to plough into such a huge task—especially when I do not know with rock solid certainty that I will… a) be able to correctly identify each fear. b) be able to apply a PROVEN solution to deal with each fear when I do finally identify it so I can live happy.

However…

There is a much easier way to deal with the worst fears that face us.

It may surprise you to know, that God has a special plan for your fears too.

A story from the life of Moses, illustrates this little known truth for us perfectly.

(Now you may finally make sense of WHY fear is in your life, exactly what to do with it, and why in fact your PRIMARY sources of fear could actually encourage or even make you succeed in the future).

Let’s join Moses on the mountain; the Angel of the Lord has just appeared to him in the burning bush and given him the good news that at last he has graduated from the Holy Spirit’s training school “in the backside of the desert” and is now ready to begin fulfilling his destiny for God.

However, Moses is not so sure—he does not want to go and starts stalling…

“Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’”

So the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

He said, “a rod.”

And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent;
and Moses fled from it.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), “that they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

(Exodus 4 v 1-3 NKJV)

Now ask yourself…

What does the rod Moses held represent?
What does the serpent it turned into represent and why did Moses flee?
Why did God ask Moses to throw the rod down?
What were the two things that were DIFFERENT to the rod when Moses picked it up?
Read the passage again and see if you can answer those questions—they are important.

Okay, now let’s unpick what’s really going on here.

At first the rod Moses held represented…

Everything he had become—which was not much at that stage!

In fact to an Egyptian, being a shepherd was a disgusting occupation (Genesis 46 v 34), it really was the lowest of the low as far as careers were concerned.

For someone who had grown up with special favour in the court of Pharaoh in the most advanced civilisation on earth it must have been hard to take. It seemed that all of Moses’ hopes, dreams and aspirations had ebbed away into his desperate life hidden in the “backside of the desert”. All the bitter agony of his regrets were stored up in that rod. (Pause for thought; does it seem life has also cast you away into oblivion like this?)

Now concerning the serpent…

The serpent can represent the FEAR that we will be destroyed by life, and that somehow life is inherently tricky, dangerous and out to get us. That is a lie of course and comes from this character…

Satan.

In scripture Satan is represented by a serpent (Rev 20 v 2) and he operates primarily through fear.

So in addition, the rod that became a serpent can also represent our OUR OWN PARTICULAR FEARS and SINS that we can’t seem to overcome. Satan and his forces of course love to lie and terrorise us with these every day acting like a cruel, tormenting bully.

For Moses it could have been fear that he would be hunted down by Pharaoh and killed, that he’d blown his calling, that he was a stammering wreck who didn’t even know who he was (“Am I Egyptian or Hebrew?” “Surely, if God had called me, when I killed the Egyptian my Hebrew brothers would have risen up with me?” IDENTITY CRISIS = FEAR, who am I?) and many other things besides.

So what did Moses do when he saw the serpent?

He fled, just like we all do when faced with our deepest, lurking terrors that seemingly spring at us from nowhere; yet are deeply wired into what we are and have become in life. Moses fled even when God stood right beside him—just like us, even though we know Jesus is with us.

So why do you think God asked Moses to throw the rod down?

For the same reason he asks YOU and I to throw our “rods” down.

Because he wanted Moses to surrender every single thing that his pathetic life had amounted to at that stage to God. He need Moses to acknowledge that it was pathetic, and was GOING NOWHERE FAST. In fact without God’s intervention in the burning bush, Moses was destined to live out his days in obscurity in a troubled marriage, indeed as a complete failure.

And God requires exactly the same of every one of us… to SURRENDER our lives and all that they have become (even if they are ‘successful’ in some senses) and throw the rod of them down before him. This allows Him to (finally) get us on track to fulfilling His destiny in us.

Now here’s the thing.

When Moses picked up the snake two things happened…

He was FORCED to FACE His fears. He was forced by God to directly confront the very thing he had fled from. Then he was commanded to PICK IT UP. (Jesus will require YOU also to “pick up” the thing you fear most… so get ready).

The serpent he picked up then became a rod again, but this rod was different. Now this rod (which represented his life still) had POWER and AUTHORITY infused into it that would go on to CONQUER EVERY FOE THAT MOSES WAS TO EVER FACE IN HIS LIFE EVER AGAIN.

The secret was that God now inhabited the CENTRE of all that Moses’ life represented in that rod—He was now the driving force, the steel, the backing, the provision, his defence and spokesperson, the power to overcome all he was to face etc.

You and I need to experience the same thing—that when we dare to trust God enough to help us, the “serpent we fear most” will suddenly be turned into a rod of victory for us.

Because Jesus crushed Satan’s head with his heel.

In the same way that David cut Goliath’s head off with his own sword, so too God will use Satan’s weapons (once diffused by you) in your hands to rescue others and destroy his work in their lives.

So the moral of the story is simple…

Look at the BIGGEST fears and sins in your life.

God knows they terrorise and beat you every day.

He’s not phased by them one bit—He already defeated them on the Cross for you.

Face them with God, allow HIM to destroy them for you, as you hold His hand not running away.

Then you will have POWER and AUTHORITY over them for the rest of your life.

You may well find that what terrified you most, once overcome, had all been woven into God’s rich tapestry beforehand to prepare you for YOUR DESTINY, so you can now help others get free. What the enemy meant for evil in your life—God wants to use for GOOD in you.

You see, when you turn around and FACE the thing which you fear the most, and you TRUST God, you will discover that the fear has no power over you, and God WILL give you the keys to experience victory over whatever fear or sin you face. He will heal you forever, inside out.

Your first step to this victory is the hardest though—you MUST resolve to face them with Jesus.

I promise, when you do, He will not let you down.

It is ONLY when you face and overcome your fears, sins etc like this that your own ‘rod’ will acquire unusual power. You will never experience victory and then go on to help others get free in similar areas until you have undergone a similar “burning bush” experience and learned to face your fears like Moses did.

So let me ask you again…

What are you most afraid of?

Could your fear actually be part of the bedrock of your preparation for your ultimate destiny?

Will you step up to the plate today and ask Jesus to give you power to stop fleeing, turn around and then watch Him lance this fear, and hand the victory to you, so you can enjoy freedom?

I hope you do, because nothing will be able to withstand you once you do.

Ask Jesus to “set your face like a flint” and never turn away until your fears melt before you.

You may like to pray this prayer to get started…

“Dear heavenly Father,

Please give me power to face whatever has terrified me most in my life up until this point.

Please give me the inner tenacity, resolve and desire to never back down again, until I see complete breakthrough and healing in these areas by power of the Holy Spirit.

I ask that Jesus will heal and deliver me from these fears in my life [name each one here], and by faith I believe that He will take me on a journey to that complete healing from this moment on. Thank you for my healing right now, in the mighty name of Jesus, Son of the Living God. Amen.”

For more information on Dave Alston and his writings you may access his website here.

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