Bible Study Index
Fear - Faith's Great Hindrance
"Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (II Timothy 1:6-7)
Fear is perhaps the greatest hindrances to faith because it prevents us from stepping out in total reliance upon God. 101 times in the King James Bible the words, "Fear Not" and "Be not afraid" are used. God knows our weakness, "For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." (Psalms 103:14).
Life is filled with tribulation, but the Lord assures us that He has over come the world (John 16:33). Fear is without question one of the greatest tools of the devil to destroy the Believer. Here is why.
The Anatomy of Fear
Fear: A feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger, evil, or pain. Fear is timidity, dread, and terror of the unknown. It is to be anxious or doubtful.
Fear will cause a man to freeze in his tracks. He will hesitate to push forward, he will surrender his zeal. Fear is the faith killer. "Men's hearts failing them for fear..." (Luke 21:26).
In Matthew 14:25-31, the scripture tells of Peter's great courage, until fear overwhelms him. "And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
In four-thousand years of history, no man had ever walked on water. But fear entered in and destroyed the power of faith that enabled a man to walk on the water. Scripture reveals two ways in which fear hinders our faith.
I John 4:17-18
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." Fear means Torment! When a man is in torment, it is impossible to walk in the victory that faith gives. A man can be tormented by his failures, his past sins, his lustful desires, all of which hinders his faith to believe in the power of God.
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Fear means Bondage! When a man is in bondage, he is powerless to fight, he is in the chains of his own making, "...for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." (II Peter 2:19)
More Scripture Support
Matthew 8:26 — And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith...
Luke 8:50 — But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only...
Luke 8:25 — And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid...
Matthew 25:25 — And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth...
John Gill's Commentary says:
A cowardly spirit, so as to be afraid of men or devils, of what they will say or do; and so as to be discouraged in, sink under, or be deterred from the work of the Lord, the preaching of the Gospel, opposing the errors of false teachers, and reproving men for their sins, and doing other parts of the ministerial function; such a spirit is not from God.
Rather are given power by which the minds of Christ's servants are fortified against reproaches and persecutions for his sake, and are strengthened to resist Satan's temptations, to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ, to quit themselves like men, in opposition to false teachers, and to do the will and work of God.
And of a love to God, and Christ, and his church, and which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit; and such who have it seek not their own ease and credit, but the glory of God, the interest of Christ, and the good of souls; and having such a spirit, and fired with such love, they are not easily intimidated by the adversary. Nothing will do more to inspire courage, to make a man fearless of danger, or ready to endure privation and persecution, than love.
And of a sound mind in the principles and doctrines of the Gospel; and which shows itself in a prudent conduct and behaviour; in sobriety, moderation, temperance, purity, and honesty; will not easily give way to the enemies of religion, or decline their duty for fear of them.
Examples of How Fear Hinders
1. Fear kept Adam from fellowshipping with God.
Genesis 3:10 "And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."
2. Sarah lied to God because she was afraid.
Genesis 18:15 "Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh."
3. Jacob became afraid of his own brother.
Genesis 32:7 "Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands."
4. Isreal ran from the battle for fear of Goliath.
I Samuel 17:24 "And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid."
5. Job greatest fear overwhelmed him.
Job 3:25 "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me."
6. A man hide his talent for fear of his master.
Matthew 25:25 "And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine."
7. Fear hindered the disciples' faith.
Matthew 8:26 "And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm."
Matthew Henry's Commentary says:
He exhorts him to stir up the gift of God that was in him. Stir it up as fire under the embers. These gifts he must stir up; he must exercise them and so increase them. He must take all opportunities to use these gifts, and so stir them up, for that is the best way of increasing them.
1. The great hindrance of usefulness in the increase of our gifts is slavish fear. Paul therefore warns Timothy against this. It was through base fear that the evil servant buried his talent, and did not trade with it. Now God hath therefore armed us against the spirit of fear, by often bidding us fear not.
2. The spirit God gives to his ministers is not a fearful, but a courageous spirit; it is a spirit of power, for they speak in his name who has all power, both in heaven and earth; and it is a spirit of love, for love to God and the souls of men must inflame ministers in all their service; and it is a spirit of a sound mind, for they speak the words of truth and soberness.
God's Assurance of Victory
Then Adoni-zedek King of Jerusalem saw that Joshua had defeated Jericho and Ai and that now Gibeon had made peace with Joshua. So he gathered the five kings of the Amorites to fight against Gibeon.
"And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us. So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour. And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee."
God gave Joshua a great victory, the Amorites were defeated and the five Kings ran and hid in a cave.
"And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them. And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight."
Victory is for the Fearless
"And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand."
Twenty-two thousand people missed out on a mighty victory because they were afraid. Scripture goes on to say that the odds were heavily favored against Gideon.
"And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude."
But God wanting to show that victory is not by might, nor power, reduces Gideon's army down to only three hundred men. These alone met God's qualification of fearless faith, and went on to witness one of the greatest victories in man's history.
Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:26-27) We have a supernatural peace that the world knows nothing of, it's called FAITH. Don't let your faith be hindered by fear, only believe, all things are possible with God.
— Randy Munter
Moral of the Story Is...
Death was walking toward a city one morning and a man asked, "What are you going to do?"
''I'm going to take 100 people." Death replied.
"That's horrible!" the man said.
"That's the way it is." Death said.
''Well, we'll see about that," said the man as he hurried to warn everyone he could about Death's plan.
As evening fell, he met Death again.
"You told me you were going to take 100 people," the man said. "Why did 1,000 die?"
"I kept my word," Death responded. "I only took 100 people. Worry took the others."
by Charles H. Spurgeon
"FEAR not" is a plant which grows very plentifully in God's garden. If you look through the lily beds of Scripture
you will continually find, by the side of other flowers, the sweet, "Fear nots" peering out from doctrines and precepts
even as violets look up from their hiding among places of green leaves. "Fear nots" bloomed in the old times at the feet of
Abraham when he returned from fighting with the kings. Melchisedec blessed him and the Lord comforted him. The Patriarch
might have been half afraid that he would always lead a troubled life, now that he had once drawn the sword. But
the Lord came to him in vision and said, "Fear not, Abram. I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward." If he
had to undergo a soldier's toils, he should have a soldier's shield and a soldier's pay and both should be exceedingly
great, for he should find them both in God!
After you have been fighting battles for Christ you may feel weary and worried and then your great Melchisedec will
refresh you with bread and wine and whisper in your ear, "Fear not." A "Fear not" was spoken to Isaac when he had dug
wells and the Philistines fought for them and he, like the meek soul that he was, gave them up, one by one, to avoid a
conflict. At last he settled down at Beersheba and there the Lord appeared unto him and said, "Fear not, for I am with
you and will bless you." He was a feeble man and, therefore, the Lord dealt tenderly with him. If any of you are meek and
quiet spirits and rather apt to tremble exceedingly, may the Lord often give you a blessed, "Fear not" to wear in your
bosoms that its fragrance may comfort your hearts.
Then there was Jacob. You know how troubled his life was, but when he heard that his beloved son whom he
thought was dead was alive in Egypt and was clothed with glory and that he had sent for him to go down to see him, he
was afraid to go till the Lord said to him, "Fear not to go down into Egypt," and gave him this encouraging promise, "I
will go down with you into Egypt." If any of you are making a great change in life and moving, perhaps, to the very ends
of the earth, "fear not to go down into Egypt!" Should God command you to go to the utmost edge of the green earth,
to rivers unknown to you, yet if He bids you go, fear not to go down into Egypt, for certainly He will be with you!
The Israelites at the Red Sea were afraid of Pharaoh and then the Lord said to them, "Fear not, stand still and see
the salvation of God." If you are brought to a pass tonight and know not what to do, take the advice of Holy Scripture
and, "Fear not" "stand still and see the salvation of God." As we observe the Scriptures we perceive that "Fear nots"
are scattered throughout the Bible as the stars are sprinkled over the whole of the sky. But when we come to Isaiah, we
find constellations of them! When I was a boy I learned Dr. Watts' Catechism and I am glad I did. One of its questions
runs thus, "Who was Isaiah?" And the answer is, "He was that Prophet who spoke more of Jesus Christ than all the rest."
Very well and for that very reason that he spoke more of Jesus Christ than all the rest he is richest in comfort to
the people of God and continually he is saying, "Fear not." Here are a few of his antidotes for the fever of fear "Say to
them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not." "Fear you not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your
God." "Fear not, I will help you." "Fear not, you worm Jacob." "Fear not, I have redeemed you." "Fear not, for you
shall not be ashamed; neither be you confounded, for you shall not be put to shame" and so on. I was going to say,
"world without end." So abundant are these, "Fear nots," that they grow like the king-cups and the daisies and other
sweet flowers of the meadows among which the little children in the springtime delight themselves. As to gathering them
all, no one would attempt the task. The bank that is fullest of these beautiful flowers is that which Isaiah has cast up go
there and pluck them for yourselves.
Now I gather from the plentifulness of "Fear nots," even in the Old Testament, that the Lord does not wish His people
to be afraid. I gather that He is glad to see His people full of courage and especially that He does not love them to be
afraid of Him. He would have His children treat Him with confidence. Slavish fear may be thought to be congenial to the
Old Testament and yet it is not so, for there the Lord cries to His chosen, "Fear not." When we come into the New Testament,
there we see God coming more familiarly to men than ever before not descending upon Paran with 10,000
flaming chariots, setting the mountain on a blaze but coming down to Bethlehem in an Infant's form with angels
chanting the joyful words, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men."
The genius of the New Testament is drawing near to God ceasing to tremble and beginning to trust ceasing to be
the slave and learning to be the child! Though in the precise form of it, the words of my text were not very often spoken
by the Lord Jesus Christ, yet His whole life was one long proclamation of, "Fear not." I think I shall give you, to-night,
most of the instances in which our Lord Himself expressly said, "Fear not," and, as each one I shall give you will either
come from the lips of Christ, or else from Christ's own angel sent to comfort one of His servants, I pray that it may come
fresh from God to every tried and troubled Believer and that all of us, together, may receive for our different fears this
one same solace from the mouth of the Eternal, "Thus says the Lord unto you, fear not."