It could be said that we’re living in the Age of Fear when it comes to finances—it’s been a human lifetime since we’ve had such an intense combination of negatives occurring at the same time.
Fear and the Christian
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”—2 Timothy 1:7 (NHEB)
There are dozens of Bible verses dealing with fear and how the believer should react to it and most are a comfort, often containing the words “fear not”—as the believer is to adopt a spirit of peace even in the face of threatening circumstances.
But is that how we really feel? Do we banish fear from our lives the moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior? Somehow I doubt it, and I know it isn’t always how I react. The human side of my character is very much intact when it comes to fear and I bet that’s the case for most believers. Some people are more disposed toward fear than others, perhaps because of genetics, upbringing, personal experience, or a bit of all three. But don’t feel guilty over this. God knows that we have fears, and here’s how we can tell…
According to Answers.com the word “fear” appears in the Bible 365 times, and according to Word Nuggets, “fear not”, “do not fear” and “do not be afraid” appear a combined total of 107 times (NASB version). Why does God repeat this phrase over and over in Scripture? Because He knows we fear! Jesus assured his disciples not to fear again and again—and they had fears even though they walked with him every day!
Constructive Responses to Fear
One of the areas we have control over—especially when it comes to finances—is our response to fear. It can either be destructive, keeping us locked in our problems, or it can be constructive – it’s up to us!
When we focus on our fears at least five negatives kick in:
- We procrastinate—“I don’t want to face it right now”
- We retreat—“I can’t take it”
- We doubt ourselves—“I can’t do it”
- We doubt others—“I’m in this all alone”
- We doubt God—“He’s abandoned me”
Fear is not a way forward. We move toward whatever we focus on, and if we focus on our fears, we’ll move in that direction—if fear is what we set our sights on, then it will determine where we’re headed. We can never camp out in fear!
What can we do if we want to turn fear from an obstacle into a motivator?
Begin with—and stay in—prayer.
When we worry and begin to fear, it’s time to get down on our knees. Scripture gives strong reassurance on this:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
–Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Seek the company and counsel of others.
We often like to think that our problems are unique to us, or that our fears make us appear weak in the eyes of others. But rest assured, there is no problem we face, no fear we harbor, that others have not also faced. Just talking about your fears can give you a perspective on them that can make them less scary.
Set up an action plan.
Often the source of our fears is the absence of a way to deal with them. Setting up an action plan can go a long way toward giving us the confidence we need to overcome our fears.
Let’s consider a few typical financial fears and action plans that—along with prayer and the counsel of others—can help put the deepest concerns behind us…
Fear: I’ll lose my job and won’t be able to find another one.
- Work to be the best employee in your department or company
- Take on additional responsibilities that will make you indispensable
- Take courses or a part-time job that can train you for a career in a different field
- Start a side business that you can eventually grow into a full-time venture
Fear: I won’t have enough money to retire.
- Save as much as you can
- Begin to lower your cost of living
- Pay down and off your debts for more cash flow
- Consider a move to an area where the cost of living is lower
Fear: I have more debt than I can repay.
- Stop using credit
- Make the minimum payments—if you stop adding new debt, the old ones will gradually disappear even if you do nothing more
- Negotiate lower interest rates
- Take a second job and build savings
- Move to a cheaper home, take in a renter or sell a car with a large payment
Prayer, plus counsel, plus a workable action plan can minimize or even eliminate any financial fears you have. You’re doing all that you can and trusting the outcome to a loving God. You’re creating forward motion and as you do, your options and your confidence will increase. The fear you once had will turn out to be the force that moves you in a positive direction.
Article originally published on SeedTime.com and is being used with permission. Copyright 2018.
Bob Lotich is the founder of SeedTime.com: an award-winning financial blog focusing on money-management and debt-elimination using timeless Biblical principles. Bob’s writing and advice has been featured in Kiplingers, Yahoo Finance, Forbes, and many others. Visit SeedTime.com to take the FREE email course to help you master your money using Biblical principles.