Freedom From Fear

Bible Book: 2 Timothy  1 : 6-7
Subject: Fear; Faith; Trust; Believing
Series: Dealing With How Your Feeling

"Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:6-7, NKJV).

It is a force that lingers about every home and village in the world. Now and again it is affirmed by sweaty palms. Instantly it can bind your stomach into knots that take hours to unravel. It can propel a lump into your throat and completely close your windpipe. It can make your blood pressure soar like an eagle and your courage crash like a jet that has lost both its engines. If the shock it brings is powerful enough, the blood can be stopped almost entirely from the brain temporarily, which results in a person fainting. In some circumstances, it can cause the blood flow to the extremities of the body to be restricted, which literally results in a person getting "cold feet." This bizarre beast can even prove to be deadly. Medical science has even confirmed that it can cause the cardiovascular muscles to respond in such a way that heart failure is the result, meaning that someone can literally be "scared to death." [38] What is this quiet, invisible, fatal foe that does not discriminate, acknowledges no friends, and is undeniably merciless? It is the sinister minister known as fear.

Now I would be careless if I did not warn you that not all fear is essentially bad. As a matter of fact, not only is some fear good, some fear is Godly. One of the most renowned quotes in history was when President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the statement: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." However, the only problem with that quote is it is simply not true. As long as there are murders, rattlesnakes, spiders, terrorists, and criminals on the loose, there is a sufficient amount of room for fear.

In fact, Jesus, on one occasion, instructed us to fear. He said in Matthew 10:28, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." The Word of God also clarifies that fear is not always irrational. Proverbs 1:7 tells us, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." In other words, there is a type of fear that is both beneficial and blessed.

A medical doctor ought to fear that he might give a false diagnosis, thereby dooming his patient. The electrician ought to fear the hot wire he works near, in case it take his life. The airline pilot ought fear a fierce thunderstorm and seek to steer clear of it, in case it causes his plane to crash. Nevertheless, there is also a spirit of fear that is discouraging, a spirit of fear that is deceiving, a spirit of fear that is devastating. This is the kind of fear that condenses your faith and cultivates your doubt. It is the kind of fear that Peter had on the Sea of Galilee that considers the storm and fails to notice the Savior. This kind of fear is both damaging and desecrating and will ultimately make you depressed. It is this type of fear that the Apostle Paul is dealing with in these dramatic verses of scripture in 1 Timothy 1.

I. The Reality Of Fear

It is safe to say that fear is not always just an illusion or hallucination. It is real. Nationally syndicated advice columnist, Ann Landers, who receives an excess of 10,000 letters monthly, has said that she gets more mail regarding one particular subject than any other. And despite what you may think, it is neither marriage nor money. But instead, fear.

The Greek word for fear is "phobos." That is quite ironic because I discovered recently that psychiatrists and doctors have identified over 700 different kinds of phobias. For example, aerophobia is a fear of drafts. Claustrophobia is a fear of enclosed places. Microphobia is a fear of germs. Socialphobia is a fear of people. In fact, there is even phobophobia, which is a fear of fear! [39]

Now although you may not struggle with phobias, we all struggle with day-to-day fears. Students in schools the world over fear exams. Large corporations and small businesses alike fear growing interest rates and a diminishing economy. Countless numbers of people live each day of their lives in fear of a war and worldwide conflict. Fear is simply a reality in everyday life.

II. The Role Of Fear

I suspect that fear is one of the most powerful human emotions that there is. I want you to understand in detail how fear can affect both your mind and body.

A. Fear Persecutes

Fear is a force that can control anyone. Do not be of the opinion that just frail, meek people are affected by fear. Fear affects the illustrious. Muhammad Ali, the former boxing champion, is extremely fearful of flying on airplanes. Tennis champ André Agassi is afraid of spiders. Alfred Hitchcock had a peculiar fear of eggs, according to biographer Donald Spoto. [40]

Fear also affects the influential. It is said that the Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, so feared for his safety that his residence in Moscow contained eight bedrooms. And each night Stalin chose a bedroom at random to ensure that no one knew exactly where he was sleeping.

Fear can even affect those who are spiritual and have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Apparently young Timothy had to struggle with fear. He was just naturally timid. The Apostle Paul even wrote to the Corinthians and said in 1 Corinthians 16:10, "Now if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear." Therefore if you ever have been or even now are being persecuted and victimized by fear, don't let that trouble you too much, because you're in good company.

B. Fear Postpones

This world is occupied by people whose lives are being threatened by fear, intimidating them to the point where they can't even function normally.

Jesus once told a parable of the talents and explains how three different men had been given different talents to invest in the service of their master, but one man just buried his talent in the ground and did nothing with it. When he was asked why, he said it was basically because he was afraid (see Matthew 25:30). Did you know that there are a lot of people who never succeed in life? Yet, it is not because they are afraid of failure, but rather they are afraid of success! So many people have success within their reach, but they cannot get a handle on it because of fear.

C. Fear Possesses

Allow me to explain how fear works. First of all, it begins to possess the thought. And when it possesses the thought, it then possesses the action because the action is merely the product of the thought. It is at this instant that fear becomes a phobia and begins to possess every part of our lives.

One of the most remarkable stories I ever read occurred many years ago. There was a well-known artist by the name of J. H. Zorthian who read about a little boy who had been killed in traffic. His stomach churned as he thought about the likelihood of that happening to one of his three children. His worry turned into anxiety, and his anxiety turned into fear. Then his fear turned into a phobia. He became so infatuated with this fear of something happening to one of his children that he could no longer even focus on his work. Finally, he gave in to his fear. He canceled his negotiations to buy a large house in California and began to seek a place where he thought his children would be perfectly safe. His pursuit of this perfect place became so intense that he set aside all of his work, trying to plan every possible way to protect his children from harm. He at last bought what he thought would be the perfect home: twelve acres of land perched on a mountaintop at the end of a long, narrow, winding road. At each turn along the road he posted signs that read, "Children at play." Prior to building the house he even personally built and fenced a playground for his three children; he built this playground in such a way that no car could get within fifty feet of it.

Then he built the house. He collected various designs from different architects and built the safest house a human being could possibly build. He made certain it was flat. He eliminated all steps and stairs so that his children would not fall. Safety was placed before beauty in every instance. Finally, he built his garage. He built it so that only one automobile would ever drive into that garage - his.

Then he stood back and began to assess his work. He examined every square inch of the house. He tried to see if he had left any stone unturned. Then he came up with only one remaining danger - he had to back out of his garage. It became apparent to him that he might, in some hurried moment, back over one of his children. So he immediately planned a protected turnaround so that the car would always be moving forward and never backwards. The contractor returned to set the forms for the additional area but before the cement could be poured, a thunderstorm moved through that stopped the project. It was the first rainfall of any kind in months.

If it had not rained that week, that concrete turnaround would have been completed and would have been in use February 9, 1947. However that was the day that his 18-month-old son, Tiran, squirmed away from his sister's grasp and ran behind the car as Mr. Zorthian drove it from the garage and the child was killed instantly. [41]

As I analyzed that story, the thought occurred to me, "that is precisely how fear will possess and control you if you submit to its vile restraints."

D. Fear Paralyzes

Fear can dominate you so that you become so afraid to do anything that you wind up doing nothing. In A Word from the Wise, I. D. Thomas tells the story of a Georgia farmer living in a dilapidated shack.    A stranger came by and said, "How is your cotton coming along?" The farmer said, "I don't have any cotton. I did not plant any because I was 'fraid of the boll weevil." The man said, "Well, how is your corn doing?" He said, "I didn't plant any corn, I was 'fraid of the drought." The stranger said, "Well, how about your potatoes?" The farmer said, "I don't have any potatoes, I was too scared of the potato bugs." The stranger said, "Well just what did you plant?" The farmer said, "Nothin', I just played it safe."

So many people are doing just what that Georgia farmer's doing: playing it safe, never achieving anything, never reaching their full potential because they are petrified by the foe of fear. In Romans 8:13 fear is described as a "spirit of bondage." Fear is a monster that wants to become your master and will make you its slave if you will allow it. If you are at this moment living in that spirit of bondage, if you have become a slave to that massive monster, you need not ignore the following truth.

III. The Release From Fear

Over 300 times in the Word of God you read this harmonious refrain, "Fear not." God has given an infallible solution that can indeed resolve the problem of fear and free you from its bondage eternally. God has given us three weapons that we now possess that we can use to defeat this monster and prevail over it forever.

A. The Power To Combat Fear

The Apostle Paul boldly declares that "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power...." (2 Timothy 1:7a, NKJV). Therefore, we have inside of us at this very moment supernatural power that is greater than any enemy that we might face, including Satan himself. 1 John 4:4 says, "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."

Consider this thought for a moment. If God is our Father above us; and His son, Jesus, is our friend beside us; and His dear Holy Spirit is the force within us, why should we ever fear anything or anyone? In truth, we ought to sing with the psalmist, "The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation" (Psalm 118:14, NKJV).

B. The Power To Confront Fear

Paul goes on to say in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God has given us "love." So notice that we not only have the power to combat fear but the love of God to confront fear. Now how can the love of God help us to confront fear? 1 John 4:18 states, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."

Be aware that this does not refer to my love for God because of the fact that my love is not perfect. This, in effect, refers to God's love for me. The Living Bible translates 2 Timothy 1:7 this way: "We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly." So, honestly, there is one good reason you should never fear anything again: God loves you.

Now if I know in my heart that God loves me, then I know that he will never let anything happen to me, but will work things out for my good and His glory. In Paul's letter to young Timothy he reminded him, "And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work" (2 Timothy 4:18, NKJV). So, keep in mind the difference between Godly fear and ungodly fear. Ungodly fear is a fear that God will let something hurt me. On the other hand, Godly fear is a fear that I will do something to hurt God. [42]

C. The Power To Control Fear

Paul also tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God has given us "a sound mind." In effect, we not only have God's strength and God's security, we have God's sensitivity. God has blessed us with a discerning mind so that we might perceive fear for what it truly is. Do realize that many of our fears are unconfirmed and unverified? Motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, has described fear (f-e-a-r) as "false evidence which appears real." [43]

A University of Michigan study on fears puts them into proper perspective. The study found that 60 percent of our fears are totally unwarranted, 20 percent have already occurred and are completely out of our control, and 10 percent are so petty and trivial they do not have any impact on our lives at all. Of the remaining 10 percent, only 4 to 5 percent are real and justifiable fears. Of those 4 to 5 percent, we couldn't do anything about half of them. The other half - or the 2 to 2.5 percent of all our fears that    are real - can be resolved easily if we stop worrying and take action. [44]


In conclusion, let me impart three practical steps on how to take these weapons that we already possess and achieve "freedom from fear."

To begin with, reveal your fear. If you recall, once when David had been captured by the Philistines, he declared, "Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you" (Psalm 56:3, NKJV). The eminent king of Israel revealed that he was afraid. Acting as if you are not afraid or acting as if fear does not exist will not resolve the problem. Never be embarrassed to reveal your fear.

Then, release your faith. God's remedy for fear is faith. You have to come to the place where you say, "No matter what happens or what comes my way, I will trust you." Above the mantle of a famous hotel in England, there is this inscription: "Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there." [45] Those who trust God fully are ready for anything and will fear nothing. Therefore, you need to release your faith and act upon it.

Finally, recognize your Father. David had said that when he was afraid he would trust God. Yet Isaiah, perhaps more settled at this point in his life, said, "Behold God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid" (Isaiah 12:2, NKJV). The distinguished preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, once said, "The past you need not fear for it is forgiven you, the present you need not fear; it is provided for, the future you need not fear; it is secured by the living power of Jesus." [46]

When the minister W. B. Davidson was a young boy, he walked with his father three miles from his rural home to his grandmother's house. While they were visiting, the sun set. Davidson, regarding the incident, wrote, "When just a small child, I accompanied my father on a short trip to see Grandmother, who lived three miles from our home. We remained longer that we should have, and night overtook us. Between our home and Grandmother's house was a swamp. That night the frogs' croaking and the crickets' chirping, together with the darkness and the shadows of the trees, frightened me. I inquired of my father if there was any danger of something catching us, but he assured me there was nothing to dread. And so, taking me by the hand, he said, 'I will not allow anything to harm you.' Immediately my fears passed away and I was ready to face the world, for my father had me by the hand." [47]

Likewise, as we rest in the love of Christ and recognize that God, our heavenly Father, holds our hand, we too shall be at perfect peace and have "freedom from fear."


[38] Joseph Mercola, "The Evolving Science of Chiropractic Philosophy, Part II,", 16 July 2003. Accessed 4 December 2005 at

[39] Fraser Kent, "Nothing to Fear" (Garden City: Doubleday & Sons, 1977), 137.

[40] Vicki M. Davidson, "Phobias of the Rich and Famous." Accessed 6 December 2005 at


[41] Chuck Swindoll, "The Quest for Character" (Portland: Multnomah Press, 1987), 81-82.

[42] James Merritt, "Farewell to Fear." Accessed 6 December 2005 at

[43] Ibid.

[44] J. P. Vaughan, "How to Design Your Own Road Map for Success." Accessed 7 December 2005 at

[45] Price, 53.

[46] Tom Carter, "Spurgeon at His Best" (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1988), 76.

[47] "Three Keys to Perfect Peace." Accessed 7 December 2005 at