From: Paul Ludy
Seven Antidotes for Fear
(It appears that Restoration Voice #250 will be late because our printer is closed for a month. Therefore, we are sending this short e-mail message now to strengthen the Saints.)
Paul V. Ludy,
Seven Antidotes for Fear
by Evan A. Fry
Excerpt from The Saints’ Herald, April 17, 1943
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:35).
A very large portion of the teachings of Jesus was directed toward eliminating fear in His disciples.
Jesus was not simply preaching academic theories as He cautioned and counseled His followers against fear. They knew what fear was, what oppression was, and what terrorism and ruthlessness were. It was only 60 years before Christ that the Romans had conquered Jerusalem with all the ruthlessness of which the Roman conquerors were capable. Only 48 years before Christ, 30,000 Jews had been sold into slavery by those same Romans.
If we think that we live in terrible and fearful days—as we do—we need to remember that Jesus was no stranger to terrorism, cruelty, rapacious conquest, and bloody reprisal.
It was against this background that Jesus preached to His followers: “Fear not them that kill the body. Take no anxious thought for the morrow. Ye are of more value than many sparrows. Consider the ravens, and consider the lilies of the field. Will God not much more provide for you, if ye are not of little faith?”
As we study the teachings of Jesus, we find Him giving seven antidotes for fear. And if they were effective amidst the fearful terrorism of Jesus’ day, they will also work today.
1. One of the basic teachings of Jesus was “Have faith in God.” That is the first antidote for fear—the knowledge that there is an overruling Omnipotence, Who is greater than any human power for ill and Who is personally and vitally interested in each one of His creations. Care and concern is manifested toward each of His creatures who will have faith in His power to provide, to protect, to save, and to heal.
It is not that we shall always escape pain or disaster. The lily is cut down with the grass of the field and destroyed. Man must die, too. It matters not so much how he dies, so long as he dies without fear, with faith that God is still looking after him and going before him.
2. The second antidote for fear is obedience. Many people refuse to have faith in God because they know that if they do, they will necessarily have to obey Him better than they are now doing—and they don’t want to obey. They want their own way. But among such people, it is common to find a haunting, possessing fear—a tendency to worry about the future.
Unless we obey God, we are constantly in fear; but obedience to Him releases us from the bondage of fear.
3. The third antidote for fear is repentance. A sense of guilt is one of the greatest fear
producers in the world. Conscience makes cowards of us all. The man who is being hunted by the police sees a menace in every blue coat. The embezzler dreads the visit of the bank examiner and jumps with fear every time his superior speaks to him. The only remedy for this kind of fear is repentance—a cleansing of the conscience and an open confession of all past sins so that there will be nothing more to hide in fear.
If you would be free from fear, get rid of sin; get rid of that guilty conscience which makes cowards of us all.
4. The fourth antidote for fear is preparedness. Many men fear because they know they are inadequate to cope with the situation. They have no skill, no training; they are not prepared; so they cannot act; they can only fear. It is significant that Jesus did not simply choose a few men and send them out with an injunction to go and get busy and learn by doing. He kept those men with Him for three years.
5. The fifth antidote for fear is knowledge. We always fear the unknown. In Columbus’ day, men feared the western sea because no one knew what was there. There may be many reasons why children fear the dark, but back of them all is the fact that they can’t see and know what is there if they are surrounded by darkness.
The disciples feared Jesus when they saw Him come walking to them on the water because they didn’t know Him and didn’t understand. But their fear ceased when He spoke to them. The armies of Israel trembled when Goliath bellowed his challenge from the Philistine lines. But David knew where the giant’s weak spot was, and he was not afraid.
6. The sixth antidote for fear is action. It is idle to fear, and fear makes people idle. Psychologists tell us that when we feel fear coming on, the thing to do is to do something. Part of our activity may take the form of obedience, repentance, preparation, and acquiring knowledge and information about the thing or person we fear.
James has a significant verse about fear and action in his chapter on faith and works. He wrote, “Thou believest there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe and tremble” (James 2:19). Those who are content merely to sit still and assure themselves that there is no danger will fear in spite of themselves. But those who act will forget their fear and deliver themselves.
7. Our seventh and last antidote for fear is love. Many times Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another and to love all men as brothers.
Many of us are also fearful because we are too self-centered; we are interested in saving ourselves and unconcerned about anyone else. That kind of fear—fear for self—has torment; but perfect love casteth out fear.
We repeat: Jesus was no stranger to fear, to terrorism, to sadistic brutality, to oppression, to conquest. But He gave His disciples these seven antidotes for fear. By example as well as by precept, He taught them how to live above fear. Almost His parting words to them were an assurance against fear: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27).
In these days when men’s hearts are failing them for fear, may we find the peace of God, that we may live above fear in the peace that passeth understanding.