Overcoming Fear

Jim Still-Pepper

Fear tempts us to take our focus off of God and to put it on whatever circumstances threaten us. This change in focus is why God tells us to “Fear not!”

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Begin with a story about fear. Read Mark 4:35–38, but do NOT read past verse 38.

When the storms of life are dark and raging, when the waves of life are hovering way over my head, when I call out for Jesus and he seems to be sleeping rather than helping me—then I am afraid.


What Fear Isn’t

Fear is not a sign of failure. It does not mean that we are weak or that we are not brave. The bravest people in the world have been afraid, but they were not overcome by fear.

What Fear Is

Fear is a feeling that makes us dread what we may encounter in the future. We may be afraid of taking a test, getting married, not getting married, being loved, not being loved, being alone. Sometimes we fear spiders, snakes, height—even fear itself.

Fear tempts us to take our focus off of God and to put it on whatever circumstances threaten us. This change in focus is why God tell us to “Fear Not!” God wants us always to look to God.

Read the story of Peter walking on the water in Matthew 14:22–36. Peter was able to walk on the water until he took his eyes off of Jesus. When Peter focused on the waves and the wind, he became afraid and began to sink. You know the feeling, don’t you? But if you know Jesus, you will not give in to fear!

How to Handle Fear

We can’t always choose the things that make us afraid, but we can choose what we do with our fear.

F – Focus on your faith, not on your fear (Colossians 3:1).

E – Enlist God’s help (Matthew 7:7).

A – Accept the peace that Jesus offers (John 14:27).

R – Rest in God. Be still and know that God is God (Psalm 46:10).

N – Nothing can separate you from God’s love (Roman 8:35–39).

O – Order your life, knowing that God is most important (Matthew 6:25–34)

– Trust Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

Memorize these passages. When you are afraid, remember God’s word.

Lighthouse Ftr TSP 152533490Choose Peace

When you are afraid, imagine Jesus giving you a gift. If you open it, you will find God’s gift of peace. If you choose not to open it, then fear will continue to take your focus away from Jesus. You can choose what you do with fear. Choose peace!

The Rest of the Story

We understand how the disciples felt that night in the boat on a stormy sea. They were afraid for their lives. But read Mark 4:39–41 to see what happens next. Jesus speaks and calms the seas. Jesus speaks to calm the storms in our lives too.



Make a list of things of which you are afraid. Then read Mark 4:35–41. Imagine that your life is a small boat floating in the ocean. Imagine that the things you fear are waves ready to swamp your little boat. You turn to Jesus for help. Hear Jesus say to the waves, “Peace! Be still!” What happens? How do you feel? What do you say or do?

Jim Still-Pepper is a therapist for youth and their families in Zanesville, Ohio.

—from devozine (November/December 2006). Copyright © 2006 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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