The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.
A few years ago, researchers asked a group of people with anxiety to keep a record of all the things they worried about. Later the participants reviewed their journal entries to see how many of those things actually came to pass. Guess what? Ninety-one percent of the things they worried about never happened. In fact, for some of the participants, not a single thing they worried about came true. All that energy spent worrying for nothing!
It does not pay to be fearful of the future, but it does cost a lot. There are many downsides to fear, but perhaps the greatest downside is this: fear leads to bad decisions.
Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare.” Some single adults are fearful of being single the rest of their lives, so they make impulsive decisions about a life partner. Some people are fearful of losing their current lifestyle, so they make misguided decisions about their finances. Some teenagers are fearful of missing out, so they make poor decisions related to sex, drugs, and alcohol. If you look back over some of your own worst mistakes, I bet you can trace many of them to fear. Fear leads to wrong decisions.
That was true of the Christians to whom the book of Hebrews was written. They were brand-new believers who had come out of Judaism, and they were being ostracized by their family and friends for embracing Christianity. Because these Hebrew Christians feared the persecution they were facing, they were on the brink of making a disastrous decision: giving up their Christian faith and returning to Judaism. If they were going to persevere through the challenges ahead of them, they needed to overcome their fear.
Ultimately, the antidote to fear is knowing our God. Daniel 11:32 says it this way: “The people who know their God will display strength and take action.”
In other words, to overcome fear and move forward in life, you need faith–faith in God’s promises, His power, His provision, and His protection. Faith helps you conquer the fears that keep you from experiencing God’s best in your life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Fearless Faith” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Lucas S. LaFreniere and Michelle G. Newman, “Exposing Worry’s Deceit: Percentage of Untrue Worries in Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment,” Behavior Therapy, 51, no. 3 (May 2020): 413-423, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2019.07.003.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org