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Why are you afraid?



  1. Fear takes many forms – anxiety, worry, dread, phobias, panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, paranoia (suspicion or mistrust of people), schizophrenia (out of touch with reality)

  2. Where does fear come from?

    1. Stressful life situation

    2. Anxiety produced

    3. Anxiety repressed (in subconscious)

    4. Current day situation (reminds you of the previous event)

    5. Anxiety is replaced by phobia (fear of something)

  3. What is fear? Fear is a persistent avoidance because of fears about an event, object, situation, or activity. Fear has nothing to do with “rational” thinking.

  4. There are 6 levels of fear:

    1. Discomfort

    2. Anxiety (worry, fret)

    3. Dread (we commonly call this “fear”)

    4. Panic disorders

    5. Obsessive compulsive disorder

    6. Schizophrenic disorder - Paranoia

  5. Common types of fears

    1. Real and present danger – robbery, assault, accident, heart attack

    2. Threatened danger – kidnapping, war, weather

    3. Threatened values – terrorism, limitation on our freedom

    4. Threat of conflict – trouble on the job, in the home, should I fight, could I lose this fight

    5. Irrational or perceived threats – Most of the things we fear are not a danger to us

    6. Self-fulfilling fear – When you fear the worst, your own thoughts may help to bring it about. Fear is the wrong use of imagination.

  6. Common types of phobias – high places, darkness (children), falling, confined places, animals (general or specific), insects (general or specific), elevators, storms, sight of blood, dirt (being dirty, having dirty hands)

  7. Other fears – strangers, being poisoned, speaking, crossing bridges, crowds (There is also a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth)


Causes of Fear

  1. Threat – danger, separation, loss

  2. Conflict

    1. Approach / approach – 2 good things, want to do both, but can’t (2 dinner invitations on the same night)

    2. Approach / avoidance – Something we both want to do and not do (accept a new job in a different state)

    3. Avoidance / avoidance – 2 choices, neither of which are desirable (endure pain or endure surgery)

  1. Unmet needs – survival, security, self-worth

  2. Physiology – dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain

  3. Individual differences – We all react differently to similar situations because of – personality (some people are more “high strung”), past experiences (I have been through a tornado), learning (example of parents)


Not all Fear is Bad

  1. We need tension, stress, and fear to keep us alert.

  2. Without fear life would be boring, inefficient and not much fun.

  3. Fear keeps us alert, cautious and ready for sudden changes


Biblical terms for fear

  1. Respect, awe, wonder – “It is only the fear of God that can deliver us from the fear of men.”

  2. Dread, fear of punishment

  3. Fear of harm

  4. “Fear” – 534 times in the Bible (OT – 405; NT – 129)

  5. In the NT – Greek word – “phobeo” – English word = phobia

  6. Thayer Definition: “phobeo”

1) to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away)

1a) to put to flight, to flee

1b) to fear, be afraid

1b1) to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm

1b1a) of those startled by strange sights or occurrences

1b1b) of those struck with amazement

1b2) to fear, be afraid of one

1b3) to fear (i.e. hesitate) to do something (for fear of harm)

1c) to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience

  1. Timidity – 2 Timothy 1:7 – This is a different word meaning timidity, cowardice


Study these Passages

  1. Psalm 64:1-4 – Hide me from those who would do me harm, I am afraid

  2. 2 Timothy 1:7 – God has not given us timidity (fear), but love, power and sound mind.

  3. 1 Samuel 21:10-12 – David afraid of Saul and Achish, the king of Gath

  4. Proverbs 29:25 – The fear of man brings a snare

  5. Matthew 10:28 – Do not fear one who can kill the body, fear one who can destroy soul in hell

  6. Psalm 27:1-14 – Whom shall I fear?

  7. Romans 8:15 – Not received the spirit of bondage to fear, but spirit of adoption


Elijah – Ran for his life (1 Kings 19:1-21)

  1. Fear makes us run away (1-4)

  2. God comes to our side (5-6)

  3. Fear isolates us (9-10)

  4. God draws us closer to Himself (8b, 11a)

  5. Fear tells us to quit (4)

  6. God tells us to carry on (15-17)

  7. Sometimes the Lord calms the storm. (Mark 4:37-39)

  8. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child. (Elijah)

    1. God can handle your “Jezebel”

    2. Keep your hand to the plow

    3. Jezebel was a non-issue with God

  1. How can I carry on?

      1. You are not alone (18)

      2. God wants to be there as well

      3. We play hide-n-seek with God

        1. When children play – they want to be found

        2. God wants to find us


The Cure for Fear

  1. Walk in daily contact with God

  2. Learn to cope – Develop a coping mechanism.

    1. Admit the fear

    2. Talk about the fear

    3. Face the fear

  1. Keep things in perspective – Make sure your view of the situation is real.

  2. Maintain a support system – Who can help you, support you?

  3. Reach out to others


Another Approach

  1. Recognize that the fear is real.

  2. Realize that the fear is a limiting, restricting, hindrance.

  3. The fear is not ______ (object of our fear); it is a fear that had become associated with it.

  4. We fear the experience we had with the object of our fear.

  5. The object does not produce these experiences; we do this ourselves.

  6. What we fear now is fear.

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