Reprinted from The Battle Belongs to the Lord with permission of Warner Books.
God wants us to be totally free from fear. He doesn't want us to live in torment, and He doesn't want fear to stop us from confidently doing what He tells us to do. When we have a deep understanding concerning God's perfect unconditional love for us, we realize He will always take care of everything that concerns us - that knowledge eventually delivers us from fear. As we have experience with God and see that He always takes care of us and provides what we need, we begin to relax.
There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection].
--1 John 4:18
God moves on our behalf when we focus on Him instead of on our fears. The feeling of fear or fearful thoughts is simply our enemy Satan trying to distract us from God and His will for our lives. We may feel fear at various times in our lives but we can choose to trust God and if we need to, "do it afraid."
This "do it afraid" theory is something God revealed to me many years ago. I saw that when He told Joshua as recorded in Joshua 1 to "fear not," He was actually warning him that fear would try to stop him, but instead of letting the fear control him, he was encouraged to be strong and full of courage and keep going forward.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. --1 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
Anytime trouble comes fear is usually the first thing we feel. Satan injects "what if" thoughts into our head, and we often begin to see the worst possible outcome. As soon as that happens, we should realize what is going on - Satan is trying to keep us from going forward in God's will and good plan for our lives.
When we feel fear or begin to experience fearful thoughts, the very first thing we should do is pray. I always say, "Pray about everything and fear nothing." We should set ourselves to seek God until we know we have the emotional and mental victory over the spirit of fear. As we seek God, we are focusing on Him instead of on our fears. We worship Him for Who He is and express our appreciation to Him for the good He has done, is doing and will continue to do.
God has blessings and new opportunities in store for us. To receive them we must take steps of faith. That often means doing things we don't feel like doing or in our own minds don't even think will work, but our trust and reverence for God must be greater than what we personally want, think or feel.
We see a perfect example of this in Luke Chapter 5. Peter and some of the other disciples of Jesus had been fishing all night; they had caught nothing; they were tired, actually exhausted; they needed sleep; I am sure they were hungry. They had just finished washing and storing their nets, which was a big job. Jesus appeared on the bank of the lake and told them if they wanted to catch a haul of fish, they should cast their nets again, only this time in deeper water. Peter explained to the Lord that they were exhausted; they had caught nothing, but he said, "On the ground of Your word we will lower the nets again." This is the kind of attitude the Lord wants us to have. We may not feel like doing something; we may not want to; we may not think it is a good idea; we may feel fearful that none of it will work, but we should be willing to obey God rather than our fears or feelings.
The devil tries to use fear in its many different forms to keep us in shallow water. But even though we may feel fear, we need to focus our attention on God, and at His word we should launch out into the deep to receive the blessings God has for us.
God may speak by giving us peace deep inside of us; He may give a creative idea; He may calm our troubled emotions; He may give us assurance. God speaks in various ways, but if we seek Him we will find Him. He will lead us and guide us if we acknowledge Him in all our ways. (Proverbs 3:5,6.)
Everyone you know may be telling you to trust God, and you want to, but "how to" has evaded you. The fears are screaming at you, threatening you. Your friends are saying, "Everything will be all right," but somehow it doesn't penetrate the fear until God speaks deep in your heart and says, "You can trust Me; I will take care of this; everything is going to be all right."
When we do ask God for help we should realize He hears us the first time we ask Him for something. We don't need to spend our prayer time asking Him for the same thing over and over. We may keep talking to Him about our needs until we have assurance in our hearts that we have a breakthrough, but we don't have to do that to move God.
God has a plan for our deliverance before the problem ever appears. God is not surprised when the enemy attacks. He is not in heaven wringing His hands trying to figure out what to do. Our part is to focus on Him and His mighty power, worshiping Him and praising Him for the manifestation of His solution and listening for a word or direction from Him.