Anxiety and Fear are two great enemies of our faith in God and His Word. I’m not here to give a sermon on fear or anxiety, I’m here to share is the meaning behind the words (as used in the Hebrew and Greek language) to help us better understand God’s command AND to recognize when we are operating in fear or anxiety and what it REALLY means to operate in trust.
Sadly, churches don’t spend much (if any) time teaching believers how to study the word for themselves, so believers tend to go off what they hear rather than what they have taken the time to learn for themselves. Word study in the bible is important because the Hebrew and Greek meanings of certain words are NOT ALWAYS THE SAME when it comes to the English equivalent of the word. While we may think we understand “worry”, “fear” and “trust” as simple terms – breaking them down brought new light to the situation. I quickly recognize when I’m operating in fear/worry so I can counter it with Scripture, ask for God’s help and forgiveness, and move into greater trust. I wanted to share this with you because I am not the only believer who battles in this area and it is my prayer that you too are blessed by this.
Fear: The primary Hebrew word for fear is “yare” meaning (1) afraid/frightened (2) terrible/terrifying. Additional Hebrew words for fear are:
- “gur” meaning to dread,
- “dechal” meaning dreadful, made me fearful
- “chath” meaning fear…loss
- “mora” or “morah” meaning a fear, terror
- “masah” meaning to melt with fear, consume, dissolve
- “pachad” meaning to dread, be in dread or be in awe, panic, terror
The primary Greek word for fear is “phobeo” (from Greek word “phobos) meaning to put to flight, to terrify or frighten, terrify. Additional Greek words for fear are:
- “ekphobos” meaning terrified, full of fear
- “entromos” meaning terrified, shaking with fear, trembling with fear.
- “ptoesis” ( from Greek word “ptoeo” meaning to terrify) meaning a fluttering excitement hence terror
- “phobos” (from phebomai) to be put to flight) meaning panic flight, the causing of fear, terror, intimidation, sense of awe/reverence.
Therefore, operating in fear produces the following in our lives:
- Emotional Turmoil (emotions: terror, fright, dread) which steals Christ given peace.
- Idolatry (sense of awe/reverence) because we magnify the problem over God and put more trust in what we see/think/feel than God’s Faithfulness.
- Cowardice (intimidation) because we allow ourselves to be intimidated by the enemy, the world, people, circumstances, etc. which keeps us bound in fear apart from God’s will.
THE MORE WE OPERATE IN FEAR, THE MORE WE’RE FILLED WITH FEAR! IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE FILLED WITH FEAR AND HIS HOLY SPIRIT AT THE SAME TIME! Whichever you choose (key word, CHOOSE), determines how you operate (in the flesh or His Spirit). When operating in fear you doubt God, which leads to questioning God and reasoning based on your own limited knowledge (grasped from our circumstances/situations/emotions/experiences/influences). As you begin to panic, you act ahead, outside, or against God’s Will in an attempt to resolve the issue yourself, which often leads to more stress, worry, and fear. The cycle continues.
Closely connected to fear is “anxiety” – which comes from the Greek word “marimnao” meaning to care for in a concerned/worried way or worrying; which derived from the word “merimna” meaning concerned/worried. In the Hebrew language, it is associated with fear and shame.
1. Ongoing worry/concern which brings stress/restlessness (no peace)
2. Mental Stress due to restless thoughts that are negative/troubling (produced by the worry/concern) (no peace)
3. Hastened Acts – as you act out of emotion based on how you feel (no trust/self-reliance)
4. Fear & of confidence & security in God (no peace/self-reliance)
We counter fear and anxiety with TRUST.
Trust is derived from the Old Testament Hebrew words: “batach” meaning confidence, secure, complacent and “mibtach” meaning confidence and secure/security. The New Testament Greek words used for trust are: “Peitho” meaning to persuade, to have confidence, and “elpizo” meaning to expect, to hope for.
Therefore, to TRUST IN the Lord (Proverbs 3:5) you must:
1. Have confidence in God, His love for you, His promises, and your salvation in Christ.
2. Be secure in Christ and in your Faith (salvation) – so secure that you seem complacent because you have no need to worry or stress. There is no “worry” when you are TRULY secure in something/someone.
3. Remain hopeful at all times, expecting God to honor His Word and His Promises to His Children as a whole (Israel & the Church) and you personally.
Anxiety & Fear zap our faith and God many times will not move while we operate in either. Anxiety and fear are the DIRECT OPPOSITE of TRUST. AS CHILDREN OF THE MOST HIGH GOD, WE ARE CALLED TO TRUST GOD (Prov. 3:5; Isa. 26:4; Psa. 37:3, 40:4, 62:8; John 14:1; Rom. 9:33, 15:13) BRING OUR ANXIETIES TO HIM (1 Pet. 5:7; Phil. 4:6-7; Prov. 12:25; Psa. 55:22, 94:19), and we are commanded to FEAR NOT (Duet. 31:6; Psa. 56: 3-4; Matt. 10:25; Rom. 8:15; 2 Tim. 1:7; Heb. 13: 5-6; 1 Pet. 3: 13-14; 1 John 4:18).
TRUST INCREASES FAITH AND MOVES GOD (Matthew 17:20)!
When you TRUST GOD you gain security and confidence, which develops peace and patience within as you continue with expectation/hope in His promises and Salvation. This opens the door for the guiding of His Holy Spirit and more of His Wisdom which produces the fruit of His Spirit and helps you become “content in all circumstances” (Phil. 4: 11-13) with the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) and opens you to receive that “life…..to the full” (John 10:10) as Christ promised.
TRUST GOD….make a conscious effort to do so with the help of His Holy Spirit (pray and ask for help if you need to). Now that you understand the words, you can recognize when your actions don’t line up with “trust” and counter them with His word!
Update: Trusting God doesn’t mean you never fear bad things happening in this world…it means trusting in spite of all the bad we know will happen.
May God bless you as you claim freedom from fear/anxiety and move into greater TRUST in the Lord! There is freedom and peace in TRUST and YOU CAN ENJOY THIS TOO! Seek God in prayer. Selah.