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It’s scary out there—no doubt about it. We'd all like to remove fear and uncertainty from our lives, but that's no always possible. Are we destined to live scared to death or can we discover a new way of dealing with anxiety and worry?
Fear is an emotion caused by belief in a looming potential loss. It’s based in the future. The source of our fears is usually something we’re going to lose or we’re afraid we won’t have in the future. Since we can never really know what’s the around the corner, is it even possible to live without fear?
Fear wants control. But there is no fear in God’s love. His perfect love drives out fear. God’s love, expressed through Jesus’s death and resurrection, gives fear something to fear. God’s love causes fear to tremble. If you want to overcome your fear, identify it and believe God’s love can overcome it.
Scripture: Romans 8:38–39 — “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
What is your most irrational fear?
Think about a time when fear kept you from doing something.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “no influence” and 10 being “the primary influence,” to what extent do fear or anxiety influence your decision making and the quality of your daily life?
Read Romans 8:35–39. Is it difficult for you to believe that God’s love could make it possible for you to move away from your fear? Why or why not?
What are you fearful about right now? Into which category does that fear fit—loss of life, autonomy, separation, or ego? What are some things that make it difficult for you to believe that Jesus conquered death, God is trustworthy, he’ll never leave you, and that you matter to him?
What can you do this week to identify and defang your fear? What can you do to begin to believe and live as though God’s love has the power to overcome your fear?
As a society, we’re more anxious now than we’ve ever been. If fear is caused by our belief in a future potential loss, then anxiety is the present emotion caused by that uncertainty. We carry it around like a software virus. It slows us down and quietly keeps us from operating at our full potential.
Anxiety is the result of carrying something you weren’t meant to carry. God cares about you. Cast your anxiety on him by turning your anxiety into prayer.
Scripture: 1 Peter 5:6–7 — “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Do stressful situations make you anxious or are you usually calm? In what ways does that tendency benefit you? In what ways does it create challenges?
What are some reasons you think anxiety has been on the rise in our culture over the past 80 years?
During the message, Clay said, “Anxiety subtly slows us down and quietly keeps us from operating at our full speed.” In what ways is anxiety slowing you down?
Read 1 Peter 5:5–7. What are some practical ways you could be humble toward the people you interact with every day? What obstacles stand in the way of practicing that kind of humility?
Is it difficult for you to believe that being humble toward other people will invite God to shoulder your anxiety and “lift you up in due time”? Why or why not?
What currently makes you anxious? What can you do this week to cast that anxiety onto your heavenly Father, trusting that he is in control of your present and future?
Fear is always about something you’re going to lose in the future. But fear is almost always rooted in the past. Your past is a problem when it creates fear for your future. It limits your potential and gets in the way of a deeper relationship with God.
Don’t let the fear caused from a past experience keep you from experiencing God in the future. Identify the wall you’ve built to protect yourself from fear. Address the past. Settle the past. Choose to trust, obey, and follow God.
Scripture: Isaiah 43:18–19 — Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
What are some things that stand in the way of people addressing their pasts?
What kinds of walls do you tend to build in order to manage your fear—anger, humor, sarcasm, a critical spirit, withdrawal, control, substance abuse?
Read Philemon 8–18. Talk about a time when someone advocated on your behalf. How did it affect your relationship with that person?
Is it difficult for you to believe that God would advocate for you, that he can help you resolve your past so that you can move forward into a better future? Why or why not?
Think about what you currently fear. What wall have you built in order to protect yourself from that fear? What are some ways that wall is limiting your future?
What can you do this week to begin to address and settle the past and trust God with your future?