Imagine a young teenager walking down a damp, poorly-lit alley on their way home from a friend’s house when all of a sudden a six-foot-tall, 300-pound man jumps out of the shadows. Instant fear shakes the teenager. That teenager should be scared because a real source of terror exists. This, however, is not the type of fear that we typically experience. The kind of fear we deal with would be like the teenager walking down the alley fearing what could happen but never does. Except instead of an alley it is at a family function, work, or even at home. In those places it is not a large man, but fear about finances, job security, failure…and the list could go on forever.
I think if most of us were honest, we would say that fear is something we all have experienced. There have been times in my life when fear has felt crippling and almost debilitating. That is often what our counselees are experiencing when they meet with us. In His Word, God often uses the phrase “fear not.” These passages are quite prescriptive in dealing with fear and should be used.
If that same teenager were walking down that same dark, damp and poorly-lit alley with the comic book hero Superman, would he or she still be afraid? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Why not? Simple: there is no one tougher than Superman. That large man has no strength compared to Superman. I have recently treasured a more prophetic portion of scripture that has helped me and others to stop fearing and recommend it for study when speaking to those who struggle with fear. It makes Superman seem like a wimp.
Studying Revelation 1:9-18 is the place to start. If you were to listen to the third message of James MacDonald’s series on Revelation, you would hear a sermon that deals with fear in the best way possible. In this passage we see Jesus Christ as King in Heaven.
John walked with Jesus in His earthly ministry and was familiar with Jesus Christ the servant. Yet when Jesus Christ is revealed to John in Revelation 1, his response was proper. “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead” (Revelation 1:17). Why was John’s response to fall in absolute terror? John saw Jesus Christ the King as He is right now. The next part of verse 17 and 18 is wonderful. Jesus says, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one.” Jesus Christ sees our fears, and when He commands us to stop we can. Why? Our fears are nothing compared to the awesome and powerful God we love and serve.
Taking counselees through the verses preceding this passage is a wonderful exercise in seeing our God as He is. It shows Jesus Christ as strong, radiant, beautiful, commanding and powerful. Comparing our fears to this kind of God is something that can begin to eradicate our fear. So as homework for someone struggling with fear, I recommend a study in Revelation and would assign them to purchase MacDonald’s series on Revelation at Walk in the Word. As I have walked Christians through this passage, it has encouraged them to stop fearing. Why? They start seeing Jesus Christ as He is. Fear begins to look small and weak when compared to our King. That is one of the ways God’s word can provide hope to a struggling Christian. It shows Christ as a strong King who cares for you and me.
Fear is real and is a reality for many individuals. Helping a counselee begin to view the King in His glory can start to eradicate fear and build hope. So when we hear of someone talking about fear, introduce them to the King, and fear will begin to run no matter where you are at or what you are experiencing.