Overcoming Fear with Fear

By Mark D. Roberts

August 2, 2022

Scripture – Isaiah 8:12-13 (NIV)

“Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.”


There are many things in this world that can cause us to feel afraid. But if we “fear” God most of all, then our other fears subside. When we trust God fully, we will not be afraid.


As Israel faced the imminence of a foreign invasion, all of their attention was focused on their enemies, rather than on the Lord. They were understandably afraid and filled with dread. Yet, Isaiah called the people to put God first in their lives, fearing God above all else. In fact, they were to focus on the holiness of God most of all.

And so should we!

What does it mean to regard God as holy? In part, it means that God takes a special, exalted place in our lives. As we recognize God’s unique “set-apart-ness,” we honor God with our worship, obedience, and devotion. We offer up our praise to the Lord, telling others of his greatness. And we live our lives for God’s matchless glory. We don’t let our fears get in the way of our adoration of and service to God, no matter how tempting this might be.

In a world of competing loyalties, we often feel torn. Who gets our primary commitment? Our company? Our country? Our political party? Our church? Our family? Isaiah reminds us to put God first above all. When we do, the rest of life will fall into its rightful place.

Similarly, there is much in our world that can cause us to be afraid: a persistent pandemic, the threat of new diseases, the rise of hostile global powers, the changing climate, economic insecurity, political turmoil, etc. But if we “fear” God, if our humble reverence for God is great, then our fears will diminish. We will know that God is greater than any evil and that God’s justice and peace will ultimately prevail. Thus, as it says in Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength,
+++a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
+++though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
+++though its waters roar and foam,
+++though the mountains tremble with its tumult. . . .

The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
+++he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
+++the God of Jacob is our refuge (Psalm 46:1-3, 6-7).


What fears do you have that might get in the way of your devotion to God?

What place does God get in your life?

What might it mean for you to make God holy in your daily life?


As you think about things that fill your heart with fear, talk to the Lord about them. Ask for freedom from fear that comes from the assurance of God’s power and presence.


Gracious God, it’s easy for me to feel afraid. I hear the latest news stories and my heart starts churning with anxiety. I worry about what might happen to the world, to my family, and to me.

Help me, Lord, to learn to “fear” you so much that my other fears diminish. Help me to trust you with my whole heart, and in that trust to know your gift of peace. Amen.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: God’s Presence in the Midst of Disaster (Psalm 46)

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Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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