In Ps 56:11, David said, “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” He didn’t say, “Though I am afraid what man can do unto me, I’m going to trust God.” Do you see? He’s not trusting God and fearing man at the same time. He’s not fighting his enemies despite his fear. He’s trusting God to dispel his fear.
You may have heard quotes similar to “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act in spite of the fear.” I have always believed that. And, therefore, I have always thought that I lacked courage. When I’m afraid, what I do and say are not the same as what I would do and say if I weren’t afraid. So, I’ve always struggled with how to act or how to speak despite the fear.
However, when I study what the Bible says about fear, I don’t believe that God wants us to speak or act “despite” the fear. I believe that He wants us to “dispel” the fear. He doesn’t want fear to be a factor, at all. Of course, like you, I thought, “How in the world do you dispel the fear?” You dispel fear:
By Trusting God – Ps 56:3, 11. When you are afraid, according to Ps 56:3, you must trust in God. Then, when you have put your trust in God, according to Ps 56:11, you will not be afraid what man can do to you. You trust in God dispels your fear of man. If the fear of man is still there, you haven’t fully trusted in God. You see, the key is to fully trust in God. He’s with you. In Matt 8:23-28, Jesus asked his disciples, “Why are ye fearful?” He answered his own question when he said, “O ye of little faith.” Jesus was right there with them. They had absolutely nothing to fear.
In the Bougainville campaign of the Pacific War, Clinton Waters was a section leader with 12 men under his command. When they hit the beach under all that enemy fire, Waters was overcome with fear. He literally could not move. He was frozen with fear. He was not a religious man, at all. However, he dropped to his knees and cried out to God for help. He said, “God help me.” He said that though no one was near him, he felt a hand on his shoulder and a voice spoke to him saying “Stand up; get going; I’ll take care of you.” And he stood up and led his men forward. He said that after this, he never felt fear in battle, ever again. He truly trusted God.
In 2 Tim 1:7, Paul shows us that God gives us power over fear. It’s not his power in spite of the fear; it’s his power over the fear. He dispels the fear. He gives us a sound mind to think clearly. We are not limited to our irrational mind overcome by emotion. And he gives us love which we need for the next point.
By Loving Perfectly – 1 Jn 4:18-21. Read verse 18 very carefully. What does it say? “Perfect love casteth out fear.” John is not talking about the fear of the Lord. He’s talking about being afraid. If you are afraid of someone that you are supposed to love, like Jesus Christ, like a brother or sister in Christ, like a spouse, like a mother or father, then your love is not perfect. The trouble is not with them. The trouble is with you.
You don’t love and fear, if your love is perfect. You love and perfect love casteth out fear. What does verse 18 say? “There is not fear in love.” When you don’t think you’re loved, you feel like you’re being judged. Look at verse 17. And this fear of man or this fear of what other people think is “torment.” Verse 18 says, “Fear hath torment.”
So, the way to dispel fear in your relationships is to love perfectly. This starts with loving God because he loves you, 1 Jn 4:19. And then it goes to loving others because you love God. So, if you are afraid, perfect your love, because there is no fear in love.
By Praising His Word – Ps 56:4, 10. Look at verse 4. Notice the combination of trusting God and praising his word. Praising his word is what helped David to dispel his fear of the Philistines who took him in Gath. David repeated this in verse 10 before writing verse 11.
I remember how praising God in his words and hymns completely dispelled the fear that overcame me when I opened my eyes inside of the MRI. For twenty minutes I praised the Lord and sang hymns in my heart and it seemed that I had only been in that confined tube for a couple of minutes.
Look at Heb 13:5-6. God said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” As a result, look what we boldly proclaim, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” When we boldly proclaim this truth, we are praising his words, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Praising his word dispels the fear. Next time you start to feel afraid, start praising his word.
In Jos 1:5-9, the Lord said, “I will be with thee, I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth.” In Is 51:12-16, who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die… and forgettest the Lord thy maker… The Lord of hosts is his name. And I have put my words in thy mouth.
Conclusion: In fear you forget that the Lord is there and you forget his words… the fear exalts what you’re afraid of. The disciples fled in fear at the crucifixion. Why? The Lord was taken away from them. They didn’t know his words; they were hidden from them, Lk 18:34. And, as for Peter, he lacked perfect love. So, the Lord asked Peter, do you love me? See Jn 21:15-19. And after that Peter could follow the Lord without fear, right up to his death.
The way to dispel fear is to trust God, to love perfectly, and to praise his word. That combination works. It always has and it always will.