1 John 4:4,16,18 | 1 Thessalonians 5:11 | Hebrews 12:2
Read this! (If you dare…)
It’s easy to get caught up in fear. Like when you tell someone you are anxious about starting high school, and they answer with a string of freshman fail stories.
Why do people do that? Maybe people tell these ‘horror stories’ because they can relate to being afraid.
Everyone experiences fear–no matter what they tell you. But if you believe in Jesus, you don’t have anything to fear. God’s Holy Spirit is greater than anything in this world.
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.1 John 4:4 NLT
It is more than unbecoming for a Christian to foster fear. We are called to encourage one another.
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT
The word “encourage” means “to inspire courage”. It is the exact opposite of feeding fear. But how do we do that? How can we inspire courage in someone, when we are scared ourselves?
First, we have to deal with our own fear. We do this by replacing our fear with trust. And what we trust in is God’s perfect love.
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.1 John 4:16a NLT
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.1 John 4:18 NLT
Knowing that God loves us and is not out to get us, we can be free to encourage our Christian brothers and sisters…and even the world. And if people wonder why you are not afraid, think about what you will say.
But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.1 Peter 3:14-15 NLT
There is no shortage of uncertainty in the world. But if we focus on Jesus and the hope he gives us, we can factor out all that fear.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.Hebrews 12:2a NLT
Questions for Group Discussion
- Have you ever seen people spreading fear intentionally? Why would anyone want to spread fear?
- Have you seen someone spread fear inadvertently? How does this happen? Have you ever done it? If so, how did it happen?
- How can you be sure to be encouraging? Does it matter if you yourself are unsure when you attempt to encourage someone else? Can your own fears ‘leak out’ and spread without your intent?
Application: Fear Factor-y
What is fear made of? Thoughts and words, mostly.
Let’s look at the ingredients on the side of your typical box o’ fear. We will do this by writing down a list of words or phrases that are typically used to foster fear.
Begin with the suggestions below, then add your own.
- I’m not sure…
- I’m afraid…
Once you have compiled your list, look it over a few times to become more familiar with it. Then pay attention to your own speech over the course of three days, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there a word or set of words/phrases on the list that you say often?
- Are your words generally encouraging?
- Do you need some encouraging yourself?
If you find yourself needing encouragement, start with prayer. Below is a suggestion:
Father, I know you love me and care for me. But I have a habit of being scared. Lord, please help me get used to trusting you. Give me courage enough to share with others. Thank you in Jesus’ name. Amen.