Dealing with a fear of the future
Are you someone who fears the future. Fear of the future may lead us into spiritual depression.
As one who is prone to fear, I appreciate Martyn Lloyd-Jones encouraging words from 2 Timothy 1:7 as an antidote to fear. According to MLJ, Paul writes to Timothy because he had a tendency to be afraid of the future.
MLJ is not saying we should not be concerned with the future, not saying that planning is wrong. He writes, “Although it is very right to think about the future, it is very wrong to be controlled by it. . . As we saw before, it is a waste of time to be concerned about the past which you cannot affect; but it is equally wrong to be worried about the future which at the moment is obscure.” MLJ suggests that we live in the present, neither the past nor the future, “Live in the present to the maximum and do not let your future mortgage your present any more than you should let the past mortgage your present.”
Solution to fear: Remember that it is more important what is true of Him NOT what is true of us.
NOTE: “You do not become a person who is not afraid and one who is no longer subject to fear. You still have to work out your own salvation in fear.”
2 Timothy 1:7 offers us hope, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
- God provides us with power in reference not only to the question of living the Christian life, and battling with temptation and sin, it means also power to endure, power to go on whatever the conditions, whatever the circumstances, power to hold on and to hold out.”
- God may even provide us with the power “even to die.”
- Therefore when we are tempted to be depressed by the things which are against us, is to say : `I have the Holy Spirit, and He is the Spirit of power’.
- The main cause of this spirit of fear? The answer is `self’-self-love, self-concern, self-protection. Had you realized that the essence of this trouble is that these fearful people are really too absorbed in self-how can I do this, what if I fail?”
- There is only one way to get rid of self, and that is that you should become so absorbed in someone or something else that you have no time to think about yourself.
- The spirit of love “will deliver you from self-interest, self-concern, and from depression about self, because depression results from self and self-concern. It gets rid of self’ at all points. So talk to yourself about this eternal, amazing love of God-the God Who ever looked upon us.”
- Meditate on “the love of the Son in its breadth, its length, its depth, its height; go on to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. . . Think of His love, and as you come to know something about it, you will forget yourself.”
- “If you are consumed by this spirit of love you will forget yourself. You will say that nothing matters save the Christ who gave Himself for you, that nothing is too much for you to give.”
- “He will tell you what to do, He will tell you what to say, He will, if necessary, restrain you. We are not living on ourselves. We must not think of ourselves as ordinary people. We are not natural men; we are born again.”
- “Therefore to those who are particularly prone to spiritual depression through timorous fear of the future, I say in the Name of God and in the words of the Apostle: `Stir up the gift’, talk to yourself, remind yourself of what is true of you. Instead of allowing the future and thoughts of it to grip you, talk to yourself, remind yourself of who you are and what you are, and of what Spirit is within you; and, having reminded yourself of the character of the Spirit, you will be able to go steadily forward, fearing nothing, living in the present, ready for the future, with one desire only, to glorify Him who gave His all for you.”