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5. How to Battle Fear, Doubt, and Discouragement (Genesis 15:1–6)

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After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:1–6)

How do we battle fear, doubt, and discouragement?

It has been said that the most repeated phrase in Scripture is, “Do not be afraid.” Some variation of it is mentioned over 350 times. God said it to Gideon when calling him to lead Israel (Judg 6:23). God said it to Jeremiah when calling him to be a prophet to the nations (Jer 1:8). Christ said it to the women at his resurrection (Matt 28:10). Christ told his disciples, “Do not worry about what you will eat, drink, or wear” (Matt 6:25). Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing.”

It was never God’s will for mankind to be fearful. It wasn’t until the advent of sin that fear became a problem for mankind. In Genesis 3, when Adam committed sin, a new word came into his vocabulary. In speaking to God, Adam said, “I was afraid so I hid.” Mankind now struggles with fear. We struggle with fear about the past, present, and future, anxiety disorders, phobias, etc. Fear is natural to man; even though, it was never God’s will for us to be afraid.

First John 4:18 says, “Perfect love casteth out fear. He who fears has not been made perfect in love” (KJV). For those who know God and are born again, we have experienced a love that when perfected in us, can wipe away all our fears.

Fear is not only common to people in general, it is even common to believers. After calling down fire from heaven and having the priests of Baal put to death, Elijah runs out of fear, as Jezebel threatened to kill him (1 Kgs 19). The disciples, after Christ was taken to be crucified, fled in fear. This is the very reason that we see so many admonitions in Scripture to not be afraid or to not be anxious. It is because we all struggle with fear in some way or another.

Application Question: What are some consequences of living in fear?

  • Fear often results in depression. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in the heart of man bring depression.”
  • Fear or anxiety often leads to sin. We saw Abraham lie about his wife because he was afraid that the Egyptians would kill him to take her.
  • Fear will immobilize your spiritual life. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man will prove to be a snare.” When a person gets caught in a snare, he can no longer move. Many Christians are no longer progressing spiritually because they are afraid of what people think, what people say or have said, or what people can do to them. Fear will immobilize us spiritually.
  • Fear will also make God’s Word unproductive in our lives. In describing the thorny ground, Matthew 13:22 said, “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it [the Word], making it unfruitful.” For many Christians, God’s Word is no longer alive to them because, instead of walking in faith, they walk in worry and fear. Therefore, God’s Word is choked and produces no fruit in their lives.

Because of all this, we can see why our enemy works so hard to bring fear in believers’ lives. It can severely handicap them from doing God’s will. It is through fear that Satan rules in many men’s hearts.

Interpretation Question: What was Abraham afraid of in Genesis 15?

In Genesis 15, Abraham was attacked by fear. We know he was afraid because God approached him and said, “Do not be afraid” (v.1). God is not like us. He does not waste words. If he says, “Do not be afraid,” we can be sure Abraham struggled with fear, and probably discouragement as a result of it.

What exactly was Abraham afraid of? It seems to be many things. In Genesis 14, he defeated a coalition of four kings from the east. One of them was a very strong king named Kedorlaomer, who oppressed five kings near the Dead Sea for twelve years. In fact, Kedorlaomer and his three alliances defeated the kings by the Dead Sea, including the king of Sodom, and ran off with Abraham’s nephew. Abraham, his 318 trained men, along with two alliances, defeated the four kings of the east through a night attack. They defeated these kings and took all their spoil, including Lot.

Perhaps, Abraham fears the repercussions of this attack. These kings were dangerous and probably wanted retribution. Some have speculated, maybe Abraham was also dealing with the natural consequences of battle. We were not made to kill or watch men die. The effects of battle leave scars on the greatest of men. Abraham may have been no different. But, we can also discern through his exchange with God that Abraham was also worried about his future. He left everything to come to the promised land—the land of Canaan. God promised to make him great and a great nation. In fact, Abraham, at this point in time, has become great. He conquered the armies of the east and, no doubt, was now revered by all those living in Canaan. However, Abraham still had no son—no heir to his household. The potential of retribution and death probably caused Abraham to consider who would be his heir and how God would fulfill his promise. As God appears to Abraham to comfort him, Abraham shares his concerns about not having an heir. God then renews his promise to Abraham saying that he would have a son from his body and that his seed would be like the stars in the sky (v. 4–5).

As we consider this dialogue between God and Abraham, many principles can be learned about battling fear, doubt, and discouragement, which will help enable us to walk in the peace and love God desires for us. What are secrets to battling fear, doubt, and discouragement?

Big Question: What can we learn about battling fear, doubt, and discouragement through Abraham’s dialogue with God in Genesis 15:1–6?

To Battle Fear, Doubt, and Discouragement, We Must Recognize the Root of It

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (Genesis 15:1 )

Again, Abraham is probably afraid of retribution from the four kings of the east. He also is considering his future, as he does not have a child. God shows up and speaks directly to the root of his fears by declaring that he is Abraham’s shield and great reward. Abraham didn’t need to worry about protection or provisions because God would take care of him.

Similarly, one of the ways we battle fear is by being aware of the root causes of our fear.

Application Question: What are common roots of fear, doubt, and discouragement?

1. Fear, doubt, and discouragement are often rooted in physical issues.

No doubt, Abraham had just come off a spiritual and physical high, as he and his allies defeated the four kings of the east. He would have just gained a new level of respect from his Canaanite neighbors, and he had just seen God’s miraculous provision. A common physical response to an emotional high is an emotional low. When we are running on an adrenaline high, the next step is a crash that hits right before our bodies go back to a state of equilibrium. This is how our body chemistry works.

No doubt, this was the reason that Elijah struggled with fear, depression, and a desire to die after defeating Ahab and his prophets (cf. 1 Kgs 18). He ran in fear, asking for God to take his life (1 Kgs 19:4). His response didn’t make any sense. If he really wanted to die, why not just let Jezebel kill him instead of running away?

However, God does not even correct him; he simply gives him a good meal and rest (v. 5–7). Elijah needed to eat and sleep. Many times it’s the same for us; we have been running on adrenaline to meet deadlines and finally we complete them. Then soon after, we crash. With our inhibitions down, we are now more open to irrational thoughts, fear, anxiety, and discouragement.

Sometimes, we just need to take a rest and eat good food. In order to battle fear, doubt, and discouragement, we need to know the root of it.

2. Fear, doubt, and discouragement are often rooted in spiritual attack.

To fear is ultimately to not trust God, and for that reason, Satan always seeks to draw people into fear. To have faith is to receive God’s promises and to fear will often draw people away from them. The Israelites feared the giants in the promised land and, therefore, received God’s judgment instead of his blessing. Many people miss God’s best because of fear. They say, “I can’t do this! This is impossible!”

The enemy commonly draws people into fear, doubt, and depression because he realizes that a fearful and depressed person is not very effective for the kingdom. Scripture calls Satan a roaring lion seeking to devour anyone he can (1 Pet 5:8). It has been said that lions roar to paralyze their prey. In the same way, Satan wants to paralyze us with fear so he can devour us and keep us from God’s best.

King Saul actually had a tormenting demon that brought him anxiety and fear (1 Sam 16:14–15). He battled it by having the Psalmist of Israel, David, play worship music for him. Certainly, at times the root of our fear maybe spiritual in nature as well; therefore, we must combat it through spiritual means such as reading God’s Word, worship, and prayer. We need to resist the devil by using the spiritual weapons God gave us (Jas 4:7).

3. Fear, doubt, and discouragement are often rooted in a wrong focus.

Abraham is probably focusing on the kings of the east and them potentially seeking revenge, instead of God. Because he could potentially die, he probably questions his lineage and the fact that God gave him no seed. He had a wrong focus which led him to fear and depression. He also probably questioned his rejection of the king of Sodom’s spoils and thus why God calls himself Abraham’s reward.

Like Peter walking on water, when he started to look at the wind and the waves, he became afraid and started to sink. Commonly, we do the same. All we see are problems, difficulties, and deadlines, instead of Christ, and therefore, we begin to sink. Since fear, doubt, and discouragement often come from a wrong focus, we need to develop a right focus. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” We gain this by focusing on Christ, as we prioritize our relationship with him.

Application Question: In what ways are you commonly led into fear, doubt, and discouragement? How do you deal with it?

To Battle Fear, Doubt, and Discouragement, We Must Have a Revelation of God

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)

While Abraham struggles with fear, God reveals himself to Abraham to calm his fears. In the same way, we should battle our fear by seeking God more. Many times in the midst of fear, doubt, and depression, God will reveal himself in new ways to us. Here, God tells Abraham that he is Abraham’s shield and very great reward.

God would protect him and, even though Abraham gave a tithe of all he owned to the king of Salem and rejected the wealth of Sodom, God would be his reward. God was enough for Abraham, and he is enough for us as well. If we just had a revelation of this, it would deliver us from all our fears.

Application Question: How can we battle fear, doubt, and discouragement through having a deeper revelation of God?

1. We must have a revelation of God through his Word.

Obviously, the first way we can battle fear is by knowing God through his Word. Genesis 15:1 says that “the word of the Lord came to Abram.” It must be remembered that when Abraham lived Scripture was not yet written. Moses, the narrator, is writing some of the first portions of Scripture, as he teaches Israel about Abraham in the book of Genesis.

God may choose to speak to us in a charismatic way, as he did with Abraham; however, his primary way of speaking to us is through the Word of God. Second Timothy 3:17 says that the Word of God equips the man of God for every good work. One of the good works God wants to equip us for through his Word is having peace and joy instead of fear, doubt, and discouragement.

David said, “The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes” (Ps 19:8). One of the ways God wants to give us joy is through studying his Word—by living in Scripture. It gives joy to the heart and radiance to the eyes. If we are not living in the Word of God, we will lack joy.

Similarly, Paul said,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8–9)

He told the Philippians to think on whatever was true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. No doubt, the primary thing that Paul had in mind was the Word of God. It is the truth. It is noble and righteous. It is pure and without fault. It is admirable. And he promises that the God of peace will be with whoever meditates on God’s Word and practices what it says (v. 9).

The way to encounter God, as Abraham did, is to study God’s Word and to practice it. God manifests himself to those who do, and he calms their fears and gives joy to their hearts.

2. We must have a revelation of God through experiencing his love.

Here, we see that God tells Abraham that he is his shield and great reward. I think this is a picture of God’s love for him. He would protect him, and he would satisfy him. Similarly, when we struggle with fear and doubt, we need to know how much God loves us. Again, this is what John said, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).

One of the reasons that we struggle with fear is because we don’t know the love of God, as we should. We fear the future, the past, the present, and people, all because we really don’t know how much God loves us. Perfect love casts out fear.

Application Question: How can we have a fuller revelation of God’s love?

  • To know God’s love, we must pray for it.

Consider what Paul prayed for the Ephesians:

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17–19)

Paul prayed that the Ephesians would know the depth, the height, and the width of God’s love for them. We need to pray this as well. If we had a revelation of God’s love, it would deliver us from fear and the resulting discouragement.

  • To know God’s love, we must experience it through the body of Christ.

God has called for the church to be the body of Christ, and it is through his body that we often hear his words, feel his touch, and sense his care.

Many Christians don’t know God’s love because they refuse to really get involved with the body of Christ. The more you are involved with God’s body, the more you can start to experience “together with all the saints” the love of Christ (Eph 3:18).

In order to know God’s love, we should pray for it and also seek it through the fellowship of the saints. Are you thinking on God’s love so you can battle fear (cf. 1 John 4:18)?

What’s another way that we can experience a revelation of God that removes fear?

3. We must have a revelation of God through prayer.

Finally, to battle fear, we must be people of prayer. In this passage, we see something theologians call an “interchange.”1 God and Abraham dialogue with one another. This seems to be the first interchange that Abraham experiences. Previously, God spoke, and Abraham just listened and obeyed. But here, he has a conversation with the Lord, and in this conversation, God quiets Abraham’s fears.

Having a conversation with the Lord really is just prayer. When attacked by fear, doubt, and discouragement, we should run to God in prayer. Abraham doesn’t hide his doubts. He acknowledges his fear of not having a son, and maybe even a doubt in God’s promises. I think there is a place for that in our prayer. We should not sin by accusing God, but we should be honest about our genuine feelings and emotions, even if only in confession. David wrestles with himself before God, “Oh soul why are you disquieted within me, we will trust in God” (Ps 43:5).

We may not feel comfortable being fully honest and transparent with everybody, because some people may use the information to harm us. However, God already knows our fears and worries, and therefore, we should constantly bring our cares and petitions before him. First Peter 5:7 says, “Cast your cares before the Lord for he cares for you.”

Paul taught the Philippians to go to God in prayer when struggling with fear and anxiety. In Philippians 4:6–7, he says:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When we live in prayer (talking to God, adoring, and worshiping him), petition (bringing our requests before the Lord), and thanksgiving, then God gives us his peace.

If we are going to battle fear, doubt, and discouragement, we must continually experience a revelation of God through his Word, his love, and through prayer. Are you running to the Word of God and prayer? Are you accepting and experiencing his love? This is necessary to battle fear and discouragement.

Application Question: In what ways have you experienced a revelation of God that took away your fear, doubt, or discouragement? How is he calling you to seek a deeper revelation of him?

To Battle Fear, Doubt, and Discouragement, We Must Choose to Reject Fear

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)

Application Question: Why do some people accept fear instead of rejecting it? Why is it rational for us to reject fear?

Again, the first thing God says to Abraham is “Do not be afraid.” As mentioned, God say this many times in Scripture. Because it is so often repeated, we must recognize its importance.

It is very common for people to accept fear rather than reject it. It must be noted that some fears are healthy. Scripture says the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10); however, if we experience any fears that prevent us from obeying God and knowing him, they must be rejected.

Why do people accept fear? For many, they accept fear because they see it as rational. When God called Moses to lead his people, Moses saw his lack of speaking ability as a rational reason to fear leading Israel (Exod 4:10). Many times our fears are rational. Maybe, we have a tendency towards fear and depression that is chemical. Maybe, we are not good speakers or good leaders. Maybe, we are unequipped for a certain job or ministry. However, these excuses are only rational if we don’t consider God.

Why is it rational to reject fear?

1. We should reject fear because of God’s resources.

God says to Abraham, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” God essentially says to Abraham, “I am enough for you! I’ve got everything you need! Therefore, don’t fear!” Paul said something similar to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

He essentially says, “Timothy, don’t be afraid because God gave you power to accomplish his work. He gave you the ability to love difficult and needy people and self-discipline to complete your tasks. Timothy, God gave you his resources!” This is true for us, as well. God is so big, that we don’t need to be afraid.

Abraham did not have to worry about an army attacking him because God would protect him. He did not have to worry about the fact that he gave away and rejected so much wealth. God would provide for him. Certainly, this is true for us as well.

Do you know that God’s resources are at your disposal?

2. We should reject fear because of God’s person.

Not only was God referring to his resources, as he would protect and provide for Abraham, but primarily he was referring to himself. “I am your shield and your great reward.” The reality is that if we have God, we have everything.

Hebrews 13:7 says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Essentially, the author says, “Don’t be anxious about money and possessions because you already have God.” Christians who are anxious for this and for that are Christians who don’t know God’s person as they should.

First Timothy 6:6–8 says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” Why should we be content? We should be content because we have God. It’s like a married man who doesn’t look lustfully at other ladies because of contentment with his wife.

When we are not content with God, we find ourselves anxious for all the things in the world. Again, this is probably part of Abraham’s concerns. He is concerned about all the wealth he just rejected, and God says to him, “Abraham, I am enough. I am your reward.”

If we are going to battle fear, doubt, and discouragement, we must reject fear and worry. We must be “anxious for nothing.” We do this by recognizing our resources in God and enjoying his person.

Are you content with God? Do you know that he is enough? If not, you will be prone to fear, doubt, and discouragement. You will anxiously seek the things of this world because you ultimately hope that they will fill and satisfy you. However, they cannot—only God can.

Application Question: What do you think about Paul’s teaching that “Godliness with contentment is great gain … if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (1 Tim 6:6–8)? How do we implement this practically to avoid the anxiety that most of the world suffers from?

To Battle Fear, Doubt, and Discouragement, We Must Believe God’s Promises

But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:2–6)

Lastly, Abraham expresses his doubts about having a son. At this point, Abraham’s chief servant is his heir because he was the highest-ranking male in Abraham’s home. Since Lot left, he was next in line. However, God makes a promise to Abraham. He commands Abraham to look at the heavens and count the stars. He says to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Then the narrator says, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”

The way Abraham settled and removed his doubts and fear was by believing God’s promises. Warren Wiersbe said this about the word “believe”:

Abraham believed God, which is literally, “Abraham said, ‘Amen, God!’” The Hebrew word translated “believed” means “to lean your whole weight upon.” Abraham leaned wholly on the promise of God and the God of the promise.2

“‘Amen’ in Scripture never means a petition (‘May it be so’), but is always a strong assertion of faith (‘It shall be so,’ or ‘It is so’).”3 It meant “it is done.” Abraham believed and continued to believe the promise of God, and God counted it as righteousness.

Genesis 15:6 is a very important passage. It is quoted three times in full in the New Testament. It is quoted in Galatians 4, Romans 4, and James 2. Paul used this verse to teach how Abraham was saved by faith and not works. Believers were saved both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament by faith. Nobody has ever been saved by works. In fact, Romans 4:3–5 says:

What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

It is not the man who works that is saved but the man who does not work. If anybody is trusting in their baptism, their practice of the Lord’s Supper, their church attendance, or any other good deed for salvation, they cannot be saved. It is the man who does not work but, instead, trusts solely in God who is justified—made righteous by God.

Hebrews 12:14 says, “Without holiness no one will see God.” Because our God is so holy and righteous, no sinner can have a relationship with him or enter heaven. Therefore, the only pathway to salvation is grace—God’s unmerited favor. We must trust in his provision—through Jesus Christ—alone for salvation. In fact, the righteousness credited to Abraham’s account is the same righteousness credited to our account. God saved people in the Old Testament through Christ’s righteousness as well. Revelation 13:8 says, “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.”

Was Christ slain before the creation of the world? No, but his death and imputed righteousness applies to all with faith in God from the foundation of the world. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The content of the faith may have been different. Ancient believers didn’t understand what we know now about Christ. However, they probably understood more than we think. Jesus did say that Abraham rejoiced to see his day (John 8:56), which meant he knew about the coming messiah. Either way, all are saved by faith in God alone.

With that said, we must all ask the question, “Does the narrator’s assertion of Abraham being made righteous mean that Abraham was not yet a believer?” He had followed God for fifteen years now, as he was eighty-five.

Interpretation Question: Was Abraham saved when he believed God in Genesis 15 or beforehand? If he was already saved in Genesis 15, why does Paul use his belief as an analogy for how all have been saved?

Most commentators believe that Genesis 15 is simply a confirmation of his early conversion. Hebrews 11 supports this interpretation. It gives Abraham’s faith in leaving Ur as a model for us all. It says,

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (Hebrews 11:8–10)

Why would God describe Abraham’s early faith as a model if he were not truly converted? The text even says that he was looking forward to the city with foundations whose architect and builder is God. Abraham was not primarily looking for Canaan, but heavenly Canaan, which earthly Canaan is only a shadow of (Heb 12:22). Pastor Steven Cole, from Flagstaff Christian Fellowship, shared this about Calvin’s view on this passage:

“John Calvin thought that it is mentioned here, long after Abram was first justified, to prove that justification does not just begin by faith, only to be perfected later by works. Rather, justification is by faith alone, apart from works, from start to finish (Calvin’s Commentaries [Baker], 1:408–409)”.4

Abraham still possessed the same saving faith he initially had when he left his home in obedience to God. And this is true for all true believers; they are not perfected by works but by grace—through a continuing, persevering faith in God (cf. Eph 2:8–9). This is true saving faith that leads to justification.

With that said, the main principle we are focusing on in this text is that we, similarly, must by faith hold onto God’s promises to battle fear, doubt, and discouragement. Consider what Peter said about God’s promises:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:3–4)

God has given us his promises, so that by them, we can participate in the divine nature, which means looking more like God, and escape the sin and corruption of the world. The world is prone to worry, doubt, and anxiousness; however, as Christians, we don’t have to live that way. God gave us promises so we can be free from the corruption of the world.

Application Question: What are some of these precious promises that can deliver us from fear, doubt, and discouragement?

Here are a few: Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” If we put God first, he will take care of all our needs. This was given in the context of the disciples worrying about their future provisions. If we put God first, he will provide for us.

Similarly, when struggling with our future and what path to take, Proverbs 3:6 says, “in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” It can also be translated, “He will show you which path to take.” When worried about our future and what direction to take, we must focus on putting God first. We put him first by serving the church, by consistent devotions and prayer, and by being a light in the world, among other things. When we do this, God guides and delivers us from fear and worry.

In addition, as mentioned earlier, Philippians 4:6–7 says:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When we are living in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, God promises to give us his peace. This peace will many times not make sense. How can we have peace in the midst of chaos? It is a divine blessing given to those who take hold of God’s promises.

Another great promise to consider and to continually drink deeply from is Psalm 23. It says:

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

If we have not committed these verses to memory, we should. We will need them, when we, like Abraham, struggle with fear, doubt, and discouragement. We must by faith take hold of God’s promises and believe them. As we do, God will comfort and strengthen us.

Application Question: What promises of God are especially helpful to you when battling fear, doubt, and discouragement? How is God calling you to trust him more in your circumstances?

Conclusion

How should we battle fear, doubt, and discouragement?

  1. To Battle Fear, Doubt, and Discouragement, We Must Recognize the Root of It
  2. To Battle Fear, Doubt, and Discouragement, We Must Have a Revelation of God
  3. To Battle Fear, Doubt, and Discouragement, We Must Choose to Reject Fear
  4. To Battle Fear, Doubt, and Discouragement, We Must Believe God’s Promises

Copyright © 2017 Gregory Brown

The primary Scriptures used are New International Version (1984) unless otherwise noted. Other versions include English Standard Version, New Living Translation, New American Standard Bible, and King James Version.

Holy Bible, New International Version ®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NASB) are taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, and 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Scripture quotations marked (KJV) are from the King James Version of the Bible.

All emphases in Scripture quotations have been added.


1 Swindoll, Charles R. (2014-07-16). Abraham: One Nomad's Amazing Journey of Faith (Kindle Locations 893–895). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

2 Wiersbe, W. W. (1991). Be Obedient (pp. 46–47). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

3 Hughes, R. K. (2004). Genesis: Beginning and Blessing (p. 224). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

4 Steven Cole’s Sermon on Genesis 15:1–6, “Making God’s Promises Yours” accessed on 10/4/2014 https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-30-making-god-s-promises-yours-genesis-151-6

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