This is Lesson 3 of 6 in the Cleanse women’s series.
Fear is a complex emotion. It can be helpful to us when it triggers the fight or flight response to get us out of danger. But fear can also be debilitating when our fears stem from worry or distrust.
Think about your life. What are the things you fear the most? It might be snakes or drowning. But, it’s more likely about things regarding the safety of you and your loved ones, having enough money for retirement, or being successful. Most of our fear is directed at the unknowns of life that we are desperate to control. Fear is our way of trying to figure out the answers. But, being fearful doesn’t help us, it hurts us. It draws us more into ourselves and further away from God. Fear becomes an idol for us, not because we love fear and want to bow down to it, but because we elevate our fears above trusting and relying on God.
Fear becomes an idol when we trust our own perspective over God’s
Usually when we’re worried about stuff, our minds are going a mile a minute. We go into “fear mode” We start analyzing every angle and scenario of the situation. We play out
scenarios in our minds of what could happen. Meanwhile, our hearts are heavy and we’re stressed out because we are desperate for answers and we want solutions. Because we think we know what’s best, we don’t seek God. We might throw some obligatory prayers his way and we might peruse the Bible for an inspiring quote. But, we don’t let God lead the charge. We are at the center of the situation and we are relying on our own perspective to deal with it. We think we know better than an infinite God who can see the end from the beginning. We choose not to trust in the God who created each one of us who has a plan for our lives.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
God doesn’t work in the business of fear
This is the best news of all. God doesn’t use fear to motivate us or to steer us. Fear is a tool of the enemy who is always trying to derail us from our pursuit of God. He tries to put obstacles in our way that force us to rely on ourselves for the answers. But, God doesn’t use fear. In fact, God works in the opposite of fear which is love.
1 John 4:16-18 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Key points of the passage::
- God is love. It’s who he is. He can’t not love because he is love. His love is perfect. His love is complete. We can rely on God’s love because love is at the core of his character.
- God is not fear. God does not operate in fear because fear is the opposite of love. Fear makes us insecure and unsure. God wants to drive out fear from our lives.
God loves us and is for us. He doesn’t want us to be consumed with worry and fear. He wants us to focus on him and trust his ways over our own.
Cleanse yourself from the idol of fear
Recognizing that fear is just a tool of the enemy can help us put fear in it’s proper place. We need to treat it like a cancer that we work to cut out of our lives. In order to do that, we need to take some initiative. We need to do a cleanse.
Jeremiah 4:14 O Jerusalem, cleanse your heart that you may be saved. How long will you harbor your evil thoughts?
We need to take action and actively work to remove the idol of fear from our lives. Then, we need to replace fear with trust in God. In the homework below, you will find a 4 step cleanse process to help you rid your life of the idol of fear. Be prepared to do it more than once. In fact, you may need to do it every day until you truly replace the idol of fear with trust in God.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Share your insights from last week’s homework and how you’re trying to apply those truths to your life going forward.
- Describe a time when the fight or flight response helped you get out of a tough situation.
- Make a list of some of your biggest fears. Why did those make the list? What is at the root of each of those fears?
- How has fear been an idol in your life? Why is it more natural for us to rely on ourselves?
- Read 1 John 4:16-18. Identify every key description about love and fear in this passage. Why is love the opposite of fear?
- What does it mean to you that there is no fear in God’s love? How can that truth change the way you look at hard situations in your life?
- Read Proverbs 3:5-6. What are the potential consequences of trusting our own perspective over God’s?
- How do you think doing the cleanse be helpful to you as you battle fear?
- Read Matthew 6:25-31. What are these verses saying about worry? Why can we be confident that God will take care of our lives?
- Read Philippians 4:6-7. What should we pray for when we’re battling the fear idol? Why is being thankful part of the equation?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.
Want More? (for further study on this topic)
Watch the videos and read the passages. Journal your thoughts and insights as you learn who God is and evaluate if he’s the only one you worship.
Day 1: More about fear
Read Romans 8:31-39. Rewrite this passage and make it personal to yourself by replacing us, we, ours and our with me, my, mine. What does this passage say about God? How does this passage help you to view your idol of fear?
Read 1 Peter 5:6-8 .What fears do you need to surrender to God right now? How does the enemy try to torture and deceive you? How can you combat that?
Memorize this verse – 1 John 4:18
Day 2: More about trust
Read Psalm 121. Write down everything that God does for us. What does this passage say about the character of God? How does understanding God’s character help you to face your idol of fear?
Read Isaiah 40:25-31. Write down all that this passage says about God. Why is God worthy of your trust? What can you do to start trusting God more with the fears that plague you?
Memorize this verse – Proverbs 3:5-6
Day 3: Do the Cleanse
Journal – Make a list of everything that causes you to fear. Identify the reasons why those things cause you to fear.
- Fix your eyes of Jesus. We need to remember who is really in charge of our lives. We need to start by trusting that God will walk with us and will provide for us along the way. (Matthew 6:25-30, 1 Peter 5:6-8)
- Go to the Bible. Read these verses that speak to fear. When you start to cling to fear, speak these verses over the situation and quiet the worrisome thoughts that creep in. (Isaiah 30:18,Proverbs 3:5-6, Philippians 4:6-7)
- Commit to prayer before action. Don’t start by trusting in your own perspective. Start the journey by surrendering to God and laying your burdens before him. Pray, “Lord, I choose to lay this (insert your fear) before you. I trust that you will provide what I need and will show me where to go. I refuse to let the idol of fear rule my life any longer.” ( Psalm 17:6, Romans 12:12)
- Seek wisdom and accountability. Talk to a trusted friend or mentor in your life to find encouragement. Confess your idol of fear to them and ask them to hold you accountable. Be honest when you’re struggling and share your victories along the way. Ask them to pray for you to battle against fear and learn to instead cling to God. (Hebrews 10:25 Romans 12:9-13)