The Landmine of Fear

By Charles Stanley


Have you ever considered how the power of your own emotions affects your life? Love, for example, influences our feelings, our behavior, and even our looks. So does fear. It can affect our thoughts and our conduct as well as our physical health. Apprehension also has the power to hold us back from all that God wants to accomplish in our lives.

Satan relies upon the emotion of fear because he wants you to miss what the Lord has planned for you. You may think that you have no particular fears, but the truth is that nearly everyone is afraid of something. Your fears may be hidden, and that's the very reason they're so dangerous.

The Bible offers you power over your anxieties, no matter what they may be. Isaiah 41:10 says, "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Almighty God is greater than any terror the human mind can imagine, and therefore He wants us to walk in courage and faith.

Scriptural Principles:

1. Aspects of Fear. The human reaction of fear is not a sin, nor is it evil in itself. It has several forms, some of which are useful or even wise. Practical protective fear, for example, is usually good common sense. We need to fear the daily threats that lie within this world. This kind of fear helps keep us safe. There is also the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10) This means that we are to reserve only reverence, honor, and exaltation for the holy God we worship. In other words, we are to stand in awe of Him. There is, however, a negative type of fear, which is a landmine. This is the kind of anxiety that enslaves. God told Joshua," Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9). Fear is a normal part of life, but not one that should hold us constantly in its grip. Our heavenly Father gives us promise after promise so that we never need to be dominated by fear.

2. The Nature of Fear. Why is fear so damaging? First of all, it divides the mind. God commands Isaiah, "Do not anxiously look about you," and yet, that is exactly what fearful people do. They are constantly mindful of their apprehensions, looking nervously about instead of focusing on what the Lord wants them to see. Secondly, fear torments and punishes people - worry itself is often worse than the source of someone's fear. This damaging emotion enslaves us, as fright dominates all our goals and desires; it also blocks our spiritual growth, since we cannot build our faith while giving in to fear. Our anxiety is a way of saying we do not find God sufficient to protect us. In fact, the fearful person becomes more and more blind to the Lord's powerful promises. Since he feels he cannot trust God, he begins to assess and respond to his circumstances in his own strength and reasoning power - and then comes up empty in life. Fear simply does not fit the life of a child of God. We may have moments of fear, but we should handle them by quickly remembering God's promise in Romans 8:28. He will use all things for our benefit and His glory.

3. The Sources of Fear. Where does fear come from? It can be the product of sin. Someone who disobeys God will be fearful of the consequences - anxiety and guilt are a natural result of transgression. Fear can also result from things we have been taught. For example, parents can instill apprehension within us when we are ve ry young. The imagination, too, can create "shadow fears," which our minds convince us are real, even though they are not. Or, we dwell on some possibility until we are consumed with anxiety. Ignorance of God's Word is another source. Those whose hearts are not fortified by His promises are more susceptible to worry. The more we dwell upon His Word, the more courageous we will be. Doubt and poor self-image are also sources of fear. Those who live with apprehension expect the worst from life.

4. The Consequences of Fear. There are terrible results for those who give in to the tyranny of fear. Since anxiety creates a divided mind, a number of troubles plague a worrier's life. Such a person is afraid to take risks and, as a result, will be incapable of launching out upon those great adventures God has pre p a red for him. There will be indecision and procrastination, and therefore a very limited ability to achieve pleasing results in life. self-confidence is undermined by apprehension. A person afflicted by worry will undergo torment and suffering. He will give in to panic and irrational courses of action. In summary, fear is a cruel master. Its domination ultimately encompasses a person's entire life. Fearful people feel the overwhelming desire to be free from this tyranny. That freedom comes through trusting the power and love of God.

5. The Way to be Healed of Enslaving Fear. Begin by asking yourself a simple question: Do I really want to be free of fear? The answer should come easily, since no one wants to suffer. Secondly, recognize that the basic cause of fear is a failure to trust in the sovereignty of God. Psalm 103:19 tells us that "the LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all." You can believe the infallible Word of God! Then thirdly, you must make a choice to be courageous - to take your eyes off that object of fear, and gaze upon God instead. He will liberate you from those powerful emotions. Then you need to keep your heart and soul on the right track by meditating upon Scripture. Read and reflect upon Psalm 23:4; Psalm 27:1, 3; Psalm 46:1-2; and Isaiah 41:10-13. Keep these words of life before you at all times, and see how your fears fade away.

6. Why There is No Need to Fear. The Lord is with you. He is not out of reach in some distant place, but He is there beside you at every moment. He is your God, and He loves you more than even a mother or father ever could. He will strengthen you and He will help you. These are solid promises from His Word, and He has never broken a single pledge He has made. You can expect Him to fill your every need, no matter what obstacle you may face in life. You also have His assurance that He will uphold you with His righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10) His words to Joshua are also His words for you: "Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9). According to Isaiah 54:17, no weapon formed against you will prosper. This is your wonderful heritage as a child of God.


Imagine living your whole life and missing out on all the good things the heavenly Father has prepared for you. Every single person in the world has but one opportunity to live this earthly life. My friend, there is absolutely no reason to spend that time in the vicious bondage of fear.

My prayer is that the next time you are afraid, and you start to feel anxiety wrap its coils around you, you will take hold of God's Word instead of giving in to your apprehensions. Don't anxiously look about you, but be strong and courageous! Your heavenly Father has given you His promise that He will never leave you nor forsake you. He wants you to be able to proclaim with confidence, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:6)

No matter what the Lord calls you to do, He will give you the power to accomplish it. He calls you out of your areas of comfort to bless you, not to frighten you. Trust in Him and experience a resounding victory over the enslavement of fear.