Conquering Your Fears through the Cross

5 Mins read

Joshua was a man of war. He realized that he needed to be poised for battle if he expected to win. He also realized that his troops did as well. Joshua was a man of valor, and he fought valiantly for his people. He was a fighter for years and can be seen all the way back in Exodus 17:13, “overwhelming Amalek and his people” (English Standard Version).

However, for most us it seems as though the fight is being pressed against us. Rather than us overwhelming the enemy, we quickly become the ones who are being overwhelmed.

Common fear

Throughout history, fear has been a major problem. The Scriptures are replete with verses that speak on the subject. Words like fear, fearing, feared, terror, tremble, trembling, afraid, dread, worry, and anxious clutter the Scriptures. While anger is a very common emotional response, fear surpasses even that in its occurrences in the Bible.

Why is everyone so scared?

After the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden as God was walking through looking for them, the Bible tells us that Adam was afraid. Even before the sin of Cain and Abel, we see fear on the scene. Fear is behind much of our sin and stands as the root of a lot of our struggles in life. When sin entered the world, so did fear.

Courageous warrior

Many of us cannot embrace the title of a courageous warrior. We look at Joshua and see his victories in battles and the wars that he won, and we are seemingly far off. He slayed many. He defeated many kings. He inspired thousands to fight and win battles. When the odds seemed stacked against him, he trusted in the Lord and found his courage there.

A quick look at Abraham

Abraham was a great man of faith. He is declared to be the father of our faith (Rom. 4:11). However, Abraham had a problem. He was a man who also got scared. A time came in Abraham’s life when he traveled to Gerar. When he got there, he lied to Abimelech the king because of his fear.

But if we look before this event in Gen. 15, we see that God promised Abraham that he would have a son. This promise is important because it was not fulfilled prior to him encountering Abimelech. However, Abraham feared for his life and turned to sin as a result. Ultimately, Abraham dropped faith and stopped believing in what God had told him.

A quick look at Jacob

Jacob had a rough start. He was a conniving swindler who stole the blessing from Esau and his father. Nevertheless, God chose Jacob to later be renamed Israel and to be the father of the nation and the twelve tribes.

Just like Abraham and just like us, a time came in Jacobs’s life when he gave into fear. In Gen. 32:6-8, we read about a time when Esau and 400 men are going to meet Jacob.

Gen. 32:6– Jacob’s messengers tell Jacob that Esau is coming with 400 men. (That is the message he heard and he began to think about this event.)
Gen. 32:7– Jacob became very fearful and worried about what would happen. (This is the result of the thoughts he gave into concerning the event.)
Gen. 32:7– Jacob then divided up the group into two groups. (Jacob’s fears and thoughts determined his behavior.)
Gen. 32:8– Jacob’s thoughts are recorded here and are misguided and wrong. (He feared that Esau was going to kill him.)

Why is all this important? It shows us that Jacob’s fear was a result of interpreting the situation wrongly. Yes Esau was coming. Yes, he had 400 men with him. No, Esau was not going to kill him. This is where our fears begin. We begin to think wrongly about our circumstances and jump to conclusions that we just don’t know or can’t know.

However, just like He did with Abraham, God gave Jacob a promise prior to this event, and Jacob dropped faith. In Gen. 28:13-15, God promises Jacob that He will keep him on his journey and bring him back to the land.

From Gen. 29-32, God did not bring him back to the land yet. Jacob had been gone the whole time. The problem was that Jacob stopped believing what God had told him, and fear quickly took over.

A quick look at Isaac

Isaac is another example of someone who was used by God but also gave into fear. Much like his father, Jacob encounters a different Abimelech the king and fears that the king will take his life. As a result, Isaac gives into fear and lies. Fear has a tendency to bring about more sin if left unchecked. It leads us to being defensive and guarding ourselves in some way. This can be done through sins like lies, anger, or avoidance.

However, just like Abraham and Jacob prior to their fears, God gave Isaac a promise, but Isaac dropped faith and resorted to fear. In Genesis 26, we can read the entire story, but in Gen 26:2-5, we read of the way that God promises Isaac that He will “establish the oath” that He swore to Abraham.

He promised Isaac that He would multiply his offspring. Finally, God said He would do all this because, “Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” You see, Isaac did not need to fear. God was with him.

Conquering fear through the cross

If we are not careful, we will miss the weight of what is stated in Gen. 26:5.

God told Isaac that He was going to bless him because Abraham obeyed His voice. God told Isaac that He was going to bless him because Abraham kept His charge. God told Isaac that He would bless him because Abraham kept His commandments. God told Isaac that He would bless him because Abraham kept his statutes.

Finally, God told Isaac that He would bless him because Abraham kept His laws.

God was with Isaac (a necessary component to conquering fear) because of what Abraham had done. Here we see a picture of the work of Christ. God is with us because of the work of another. We are blessed because of the work of another. God is with us because Jesus obeyed His voice and kept His commandments.

We can shout the battle cry with Joshua that we need not fear because God is with us. Joshua knew that God was with him in battle. A quick reading of the book of Joshua will expose this truth. The belief in God’s presence with him conquered every fear. We can believe too. But we can only believe rightly when we see God with us through the cross of Christ. He is Emmanuel, God with us (Matt. 1:23).

Closing prayer

Father, I thank You for being with me. I thank You that You will drive out my fears and that I don’t need to fight my battles. You will fight for me and give me the strength to have the victory. Help me to remember the work of the cross. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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