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Series Theme:  Spiritual Warfare

Title: 9. Clearing the Past:  b) Fears & Anxieties




In these four pages of "Clearing the Past" we consider Guilt, Fear & Anxiety, Rejection, and Unresolved Conflict as four areas where things from the past impinge on the present.

On this page we move on to consider "Fears & Anxieties", the varieties of fears, and then dealing with them.

1. What is fear and anxiety?

“ Fear is a state of alarm caused by impending danger ”.

From this definition we can deduce that fear can be either:

    a) good and helpful (to protect us)

    b) bad or harmful

"Good fear” includes the fear of the Lord, and fear of dangerous things, such as fire, poisons etc. that protect us against harm.

“Bad fear” includes imaginary fear, unrealistic fears and fears from the past that inhibit the present well-being of our lives.

“Anxiety is a feeling of unrest, apprehension, dread or agitated worry”.

“Anxiety” has also been described as a fear in the absence of real danger, or a fear of something that is not understood.

Bad fear & anxiety therefore focus us on negative aspects of a situation while taking our thoughts away from the positive aspects.

Therefore, when they exist, they hinder us and stop us fully enjoying life as a child of God today.

We will consider:   

a) fears from the past
b) fears of the future
c) fears of things that are not harmful
d) fears of unknown we CANNOT affect
e) fears of unknown we CAN affect
f) fear of unknown we MAY affect



2. Fears from the Past


Such fears originate from times in the past when we have been hurt, whether it be physical or emotional.


2.1  Fear based on something that happened

    i) This is usually fear that the unpleasant thing will happen again in the future e.g.   

  •  Abuse - we received physical or verbal abuse in the past

  •  Pain or hurt - the outcome of a conflict, or something that happened to us physically, e.g. an accident.

  •  Failure - we didn't cope or handle a situation well and now feel bad about it.

  •  Sickness or an accident occured in the past and we fear a repeat of it, or worse.


   ii) It may also be that we fear our guilt and shame will be found out  i.e.

  •  we fear that what happened will be revealed with the accompanying shame.

  •  we become anxious when we wonder what others will think of us.


     When we fear a reoccurrence of a past upset, or that past guilt or shame will be revealed, we fear what will then happen:

  •  a reoccurrence of the hurt, pain, shame etc.

  •  a belief that we will not be able to cope.


2.2  Fears based on feelings conveyed or words spoken

      Causes of fears that result from the feelings or words of others, may be:

  •  ongoing parental attitudes

    •  if parents feared something, the children probably will as well.

  •  enemy attack at some point (see previous pages in this series)

  •  lies were spoken that were never countered,m so which you now believe  e.g.

    •  “you'll die at 50”

    •  “you are inferior”




3. Fears of the Future


We need to note that many fears aren't strictly fears from the past, although in fact ALL fears will be linked with what we have learnt in the past.

In that sense all fears are in fact rooted in the past and so all other fears could also be considered “past rooted fears”.   We didn't have them when we were born!


In general, fears of the future tend to be about:

a) What we think might happen.
b) Our perceived inability to cope with such things.

We'll pick up these in what follows below.




4. Fear of Non-Harmful Things


  •  People are often fearful of things that are NOT harmful, e.g. spiders

  •  Sometimes fear extends to things that we simply consider unpleasant e.g. the sight of blood.

  •  Often this is simply fear of the unknown.

  •  Working with the object may soon overcome fear of it.

  •  However, fear cannot always simply be overridden because it may have developed a stronghold within us and this needs strong prayer for release.




5. Fear of Unknown Things you CANNOT affect


Fears about things over which you can have no control might include:

  •  fear of a nuclear war

  •  fear of death (i.e. what happens afterwards)

  •  fear of the WAY we might die   

  •  fear of death of loved one   

  •  fear of a serious illness

  •  fear of a major accident

     In each of these cases, they are things outside our control.  We'll note more about these below.



6. The Cause of all Fear


     Ultimately all such fear is alarm at my personal inability to cope.

     From what we have said already, it is based on

  •   past experience, or

  •   past teaching


     It is forgetting or failing to believe the promises of God and to trust God's

  •  love,

  •  protection and

  •  provision


     These things go to the heart of our Christian experience and faith.



7. Dealing with Fear Generally


     We may need to:

a) Look to and reconsider our past, and
b) ask the Lord to release us from some of the things that have now bound us in fear, and
c) seek to receive grace to cope with fresh issues today.


    The following are some pointers for help:

  •   As Christians, we need the awareness that perfect love drives out fear (1 Jn 4:18) and therefore dwelling on the promises of God's grace for such situations can release faith. e.g. 2 Cor 9:8 / Phil 4:19 / 2 Cor 12:9    (Look up the pages on "God's Love for You", in the "What is means to be a Christian" area of these resources.)

  •  We need to cultivate a growing awareness that God is our loving, heavenly Father who will oversee, guard and protect us and provide whatever we need.

  •  If our fear is about death, we need to remind ourselves that Jesus came to release us from fear of death (Heb 2:14,15) by showing us that it wasn't the end.   We need to remind ourselves of the truths of heaven, and gain an assurance about our future.

  •  We need to remember that many such fears are based upon what MIGHT happen (but equally they might not!).

  •  A positive prayer is needed, committing the possible event to God and declaring HIS ability to help us cope as is referred to in Phil 4:6,7

  •  We need right thinking and will need to declare the truth and put the thing into a right perspective, as part of the things along the path to freedom with God's help.  Jn 8:32

  •  Strong prayer to break a stronghold of thinking may be needed.



8. Fear of Unknown Things you CAN affect


8.1  The Sort of Things e.g.

  •  Fear of going for an interview for a new job.

  •  Fear of going to a meeting to socialise with people.

  •  Fear of failing an exam and its consequences.

  •  Fear of financial difficulties.

  •  Fear of poor health.

  •  Fear of breakdown in relationships.


8.2  The Cause of Such Things

     Our alarm here stems from either:

a) our feelings of personal inadequacy, or
b) enemy attack.

                                  Remember these are things over which we have a say.


8.3  Dealing with Such Things :

We need first to identify the nature of the fear:

Our fears here may be

i) good fears (which are helpful)
ii) bad (or irrational) fears


i) “Good” fear , we said earlier, protects us from harm (or failure), e.g.

  •  Fear of exam failure can simply drive us to revise.

  •  Fear of bad interview can drive us to prepare thoroughly.

  •  Fear of financial difficulties can cause care in avoiding debt.

  •  Fear of poor health can cause wise eating, sleeping, a good fitness regime etc.


     Each “fear” can thus stir us into action to achieve better in the circumstances over which we DO have a say, and which we CAN influence.

ii) “Bad” fear is simply any fear that drives us into increasing negativism which limits our lives


  Dealing with such fears again requires facing the truth with God's help and may involve very practical outworkings, e.g.

  •  A visit to a doctor can guide health and allay fears.

  •  A visit to the bank manager can allay fears over finances.

  •  A phone call can open up relationships.

  •  A talk about career opportunities can dispel fears about consequences of exam failure.


Each such fear needs to be:

a) identified
b) spoken about and shared
c) given to God




9. Fear of Unknown Things you MAY not be able to affect


9.1  The Sort of Things

     Some things are unknown and you may not be able to do much about them.  e.g.  

  •  remaining single

  •  remaining childless

  •  remaining accident or sickness free


    In each of those things you may be able to do something, but ultimately may not  be able to guarantee the future outcome.


9.2  The Cause of Such Things

     These are things you may or may not be able to influence, 

e.g. the single Christian person

  •  can do some things, e.g. socialise and pray

  •  can't do other things, e.g. make someone fall in love with them


e.g. the childless couple

  •  can do some things, e.g. try for children, see a doctor, pray

  •  can't do other things, e.g. guarantee fertilisation


e.g. the healthy person

  •  can so some things, e.g. pray for protection and avoid danger situations

  •  can't do other things, e.g. keeping careless or ill people away!


i.e. these are things where you CAN do only a PART and have to trust for the rest

Fear enters in when, for example, we hope for something but have alarm feelings that it won't happen (as first two examples above).


Conversely, fear enters in when, for example, we hope for something NOT to happen but have alarm feelings that it will happen (third example above).

Feelings of fear ultimately come when we are unable to submit our future to the will of God and cannot feel His love in our situation.

9.3  Dealing with Such Things

  From what has been said above, we therefore need to:

  •  identify our thoughts, desires and feelings

  •  check to see if we have done all we can do

  •  purposefully submit our wills to God

  •  ask Him for grace to let go our hopes if necessary and accept an alternative



10. Being at Peace


Once we accept that fear cannot exist in the presence of perfect love (1 Jn 4:16,18), we see that fear comes from not allowing God access to every area of our lives, e.g. our health, well-being, protection, ambitions.


Peace comes from knowing the perfect love of God in every area of our lives and allowing the truth of that love to transform our thinking and touch our emotions to release us from any inhibiting “bad” fears.


Anything which stops us entering fully into the purposes of God for us is a “bad” fear and needs to be confronted.


As we allow the Spirit and the word to enter our lives we are thus released from all such things into the peace of God which keeps our hearts.


If you are someone who has been plagued by fears and anxieties, you may want to go back over the above notes prayerfully, asking the Lord to reveal the truth to you.

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