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Fear always has to do with losing something. You could fear losing your life, your possessions, your sanity, your salvation, your job, your spouse, your control, your health, your family, your reputation, your money…
There are so many things to worry about losing. Some things are inconsequential while others are important. Either way, however, Jesus promises that nothing you can give up for His sake will be permanently lost. He says you’ll get it back, and then some, if not exactly during your lifetime, then certainly during the next lifetime. Whatever you lose for God’s sake, God will return to you something even better, even though what you lose will cost you something.
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.Matthew 16:25 NLT
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.Mark 10:29-30 NIV
What Do You Fear Losing?
If you can eliminate your fear, then you are truly free. Nothing will be able to hold you hostage. No one will be able to successfully blackmail you.
What fears are you holding on to? What are you afraid to lose?
Try saying, “I’m afraid that I will lose my ________________” or “I’m afraid I won’t get __________________.” How do you feel? What’s true in this moment?
Now try saying, “I’ve got nothing to lose” or “I’ll be fine no matter what happens.” How do you feel? What’s true in this moment?
In each of those moments, how ready are you to press forward toward your goals?
I experience those moments as hopeless and hopeful.
Loosen Your Grip on Your Fears
Think about what brings you the most anxiety or worry. Try to narrow it down to an emotional concern like people-pleasing. Who will be upset with you if you choose a path you want? If it’s anyone besides God, then you are allowing yourself to be held hostage. You are limiting yourself because of your need for approval or your need for others to understand you.
Sure, it’s nice if others like your decisions, but you’ll be okay if they don’t. Some things are right or wrong. God is clear about what those are. Many other decisions God leaves up to you. Don’t hold yourself back from exercising your God-given freedom to choose how to live.
Open Your Heart to Receive
After you prove to yourself that there is nothing you will withhold from God, you are in a place to receive. Abraham reached this when he was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac. This place might seem like a state of indifference, but it is actually far from it. Patience is different than complacency.
The patient person waits with expectation and trust in God’s goodness. Even if you never receive what you want, you will receive something better eventually. This person can persevere through all of life’s trials.
Indifference frees a person from the burden of caring. But without such a burden, life lacks meaning and purpose. It’s not worth living.
Fear is either gripping your heart or you can be gripping the heart of God. When you are fearful, your hands are too busy to receive from God. In your darkest moments, humble yourself by pleading to God that He will purify your heart from ill motives. Then you’ll be able to walk in freedom with a clear conscience. Then God will grant you the desires of your heart (Psalm 20:4, 34:4-5, 37:3-7).
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.