Mind, Character and Personality/Fear
Millions Bound by Fear—Millions of human beings are bound down under false religions, in the bondage of slavish fear, of stolid indifference, toiling like beasts of burden, bereft of hope or joy or aspiration here, and with only a dull fear of the hereafter. It is the gospel of the grace of God alone that can uplift the soul.—The Desire of Ages, 478 (1898).
Distrusting God They Have a Thousand Fears—Many neglect to lay up for themselves a treasure in heaven by doing good with the means that God has lent them. They distrust God and have a thousand fears in regard to the future. Like the children of Israel they have evil hearts of unbelief.
God provided this people with abundance as their needs required, but they borrowed trouble for the future. They complained and murmured in their travels that Moses had led them out to kill them and their children with hunger. Imaginary want closed their eyes and hearts from seeing the goodness and mercies of God in their journeyings, and they were ungrateful for all His bounties.
So also are the distrustful, professed people of God (p.475) in this age of unbelief and degeneracy. They fear that they may come to want, or that their children may become needy, or that their grandchildren will be destitute. They dare not trust God. They have no genuine faith in Him who has entrusted them with the blessings and bounties of life, and who has given them talents to use to His glory in advancing His cause.—Testimonies for the Church 2:656, 657 (1871).
Through Fear Satan Attempts to Rule—God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan’s constant resort—to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce—is compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience and to secure homage to himself. To accomplish this he works through both religious and secular authorities, moving them to the enforcement of human laws in defiance of the law of God.—The Great Controversy, 591 (1888).
Counseling With Fears Strengthens Them—If we take counsel with our doubts and fears or try to solve everything that we cannot see clearly before we have faith, perplexities will only increase and deepen. But if we come to God, feeling helpless and dependent, as we really are, and in humble, trusting faith make known our wants to Him whose knowledge is infinite, who sees everything in creation and who governs everything by His will and word, He can and will attend to our cry and will let light shine into our hearts. Through sincere prayer we are brought into connection with the mind of the Infinite. We may have no remarkable evidence at the time that the face of our Redeemer is bending over us in compassion and love, but this is even so. We may not feel His visible touch, but His hand is upon us in love and pitying tenderness.—Steps to Christ, 96, 97 (1892).
The Cause for Sickness of Body and Mind—That which brings sickness of body and mind to nearly all is (p.476) dissatisfied feelings and discontented repinings. They have not God, they have not the hope which reaches to that within the veil, which is as an anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast. All who possess this hope will purify themselves even as He is pure. Such are free from restless longings, repinings, and discontent; they are not continually looking for evil and brooding over borrowed trouble. But we see many who are having a time of trouble beforehand; anxiety is stamped upon every feature; they seem to find no consolation but have a continual fearful looking for of some dreadful evil.—Testimonies for the Church 1:566 (1867).
Fear Brings No Relief to the Soul—You should have a clear apprehension of the gospel. The religious life is not one of gloom and of sadness but of peace and joy coupled with Christlike dignity and holy solemnity. We are not encouraged by our Saviour to cherish doubts and fears and distressing forebodings; these bring no relief to the soul and should be rebuked rather than praised. We may have joy unspeakable and full of glory.—MS 6, 1888. (Evangelism, 180.)
Faith Grows in Conflict With Doubt and Fear—The Lord frequently places us in difficult positions to stimulate us to greater exertion. In His providence special annoyances sometimes occur to test our patience and faith. God gives us lessons of trust. He would teach us where to look for help and strength in time of need. Thus we obtain practical knowledge of His divine will, which we so much need in our life experience. Faith grows strong in earnest conflict with doubt and fear.—Testimonies for the Church 4:116, 117 (1876).
Fear Reveals Unbelief—As Jesus rested by faith in the Father’s care, so we are to rest in the care of our Saviour. If the disciples had trusted in Him, they would have been kept in peace. Their fear in the time of danger (p.477) revealed their unbelief. In their efforts to save themselves, they forgot Jesus; and it was only when, in despair of self-dependence, they turned to Him that He could give them help.
How often the disciples’ experience is ours! When the tempests of temptation gather, and the fierce lightnings flash, and the waves sweep over us, we battle with the storm alone, forgetting that there is One who can help us. We trust to our own strength till our hope is lost, and we are ready to perish. Then we remember Jesus, and if we call upon Him to save us, we shall not cry in vain. Though He sorrowfully reproves our unbelief and self-confidence, He never fails to give us the help we need. Whether on the land or on the sea, if we have the Saviour in our hearts, there is no need of fear. Living faith in the Redeemer will smooth the sea of life and will deliver us from danger in the way that He knows to be best.—The Desire of Ages, 336 (1898).
Perilous to Manifest Fear in Sickroom—Those who minister to the sick should understand the importance of careful attention to the laws of health. Nowhere is obedience to these laws more important than in the sickroom. Nowhere does so much depend upon faithfulness in little things on the part of the attendants. In cases of serious illness, a little neglect, a slight inattention to a patient’s special needs or dangers, the manifestation of fear, excitement, or petulance, even a lack of sympathy, may turn the scale that is balancing life and death and cause to go down to the grave a patient who otherwise might have recovered.—The Ministry of Healing, 219 (1905).
Fear Grieves the Holy Spirit—Faith takes God at His word, not asking to understand the meaning of the trying experiences that come. But there are many who have little faith. They are always fearing and borrowing trouble. Every day they are surrounded by the tokens of God’s love, every day they enjoy the bounties of His (p.478) providence; but they overlook these blessings. And the difficulties they encounter, instead of driving them to God, separate them from Him, by arousing unrest and repining.... Jesus is their Friend. All heaven is interested in their welfare, and their fear and repining grieve the Holy Spirit. Not because we see or feel that God hears us are we to believe. We are to trust His promises. When we come to Him in faith, we should believe that every petition enters into the heart of Christ. When we have asked for His blessing, we should believe that we receive it, and thank Him that we have it. Then we are to go about our duties, assured that the blessing will be sent when we need it most. When we have learned to do this, we shall know that our prayers are answered. God will do for us “exceeding abundantly,” “according to the riches of His glory” and “the working of His mighty power.”—Gospel Workers, 261, 262 (1915).
Freedom From Guilt Brings Freedom From Fear—Aaron as well as the people shrank away from Moses, and “they were afraid to come nigh him.” Seeing their confusion and terror, but ignorant of the cause, he urged them to come near. He held out to them the pledge of God’s reconciliation and assured them of His restored favor. They perceived in his voice nothing but love and entreaty, and at last one ventured to approach him. Too awed to speak, he silently pointed to the countenance of Moses, and then toward heaven. The great leader understood his meaning. In their conscious guilt, feeling themselves still under the divine displeasure, they could not endure the heavenly light, which, had they been obedient to God, would have filled them with joy. There is fear in guilt. The soul that is free from sin will not wish to hide from the light of heaven.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 329, 330 (1890).
What to Do When Fearful—Only the sense of God’s presence can banish the fear that, for the timid child, (p.479) would make life a burden. Let him fix in his memory the promise, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them” (Psalm 34:7). Let him read that wonderful story of Elisha in the mountain city, and, between him and the hosts of armed foemen, a mighty encircling band of heavenly angels. Let him read how to Peter, in prison and condemned to death, God’s angel appeared; how, past the armed guards, the massive doors and great iron gateway with their bolts and bars, the angel led God’s servant forth in safety.
Let him read of that scene on the sea, when to the tempest-tossed soldiers and seamen, worn with labor and watching and long fasting, Paul the prisoner, on his way to trial and execution, spoke those grand words of courage and hope: “Be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.” In the faith of this promise Paul assured his companions, “There shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you.” So it came to pass. Because there was in that ship one man through whom God could work, the whole shipload of heathen soldiers and sailors was preserved. “They escaped all safe to land” (Acts 27:22-24, 34, 44).—Education, 255, 256 (1903).
God Deals Plainly—But our Lord does not deceive us. He does not say to us, “Do not fear; there are no dangers in your path.” He knows there are trials and dangers, and He deals with us plainly. He does not propose to take His people out of a world of sin and evil, but He points them to a never-failing refuge. His prayer for His disciples was, “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” “In the world,” He says, “ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 17:15; 16:33).—Steps to Christ, 122, 123 (1892). (p.480)
Look Away From Self—Look away from yourself to Jesus. You may acknowledge that you are a sinner, while at the same time it is your privilege to recognize Christ as your Saviour. He came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. Difficulties and suggestions will be presented by Satan to the human mind, that he may weaken faith and destroy courage. He has manifold temptations that can come trooping into the mind, one succeeding another; but to closely study your emotions and give way to your feelings is to entertain the evil guest of doubt, and by so doing you entangle yourself in perplexities of despair. You may inquire, What shall I do under these terrible suggestions? Expel them from the mind by looking at and contemplating the matchless depths of a Saviour’s love. Do not exalt your feelings and tell of them and worship them whether good, bad, sad, or encouraging.—Lt 41, 1893.
Overcome Fear by Trust in Jesus—Jesus invites us to come to Him and He will lift the weights from our weary shoulders and place upon us His yoke, which is easy, and His burden, which is light. The path in which He invites us to walk would never have cost us a pang had we always walked in it. It is when we stray from the path of duty that the way becomes difficult and thorny. The sacrifices which we must make in following Christ are only so many steps to return to the path of light, of peace and happiness. Doubts and fears grow by indulgence, and the more they are indulged, the harder they are to overcome. It is safe to let go every earthly support and take the hand of Him who lifted up and saved the sinking disciple on the stormy sea.—Testimonies for the Church 4:558 (1881).
Christ the Burden Bearer—Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him His heart of love is touched by our sorrows and even by our utterances of them. Take to Him everything that (p.481) perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest.... The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.—Steps to Christ, 100 (1892).