Greg's Blog

Overcoming Overwhelming Fear

by Greg Laurie on Apr 16, 2021

Have you ever been so discouraged that you wanted to die?

That’s how the Israelites felt as they were poised to enter the Promised Land. They allowed their fear to overwhelm them.

Moses had sent out 12 men to go into the land of Canaan and see what lay ahead of them. And when they returned, the majority of the men gave this report: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. . . . But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!” (Numbers 13:27–29 NLT).

Then the Bible tells us, “But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. ‘Let’s go at once to take the land,’ he said. ‘We can certainly conquer it!’” (verse 30 NLT).

So 12 spies went in, and 10 of them came back with a discouraging report. But two of them, Joshua and Caleb, gave an encouraging report.

The problem with the 10 spies who gave the majority report was they didn’t see God for who He is. They only saw problems. God had promised them a land flowing with milk and honey. God had promised He would give them the land.

However, they ignored what God said and put their eyes on their circumstances, on obstacles, on challenges, on giants, and ultimately on defeat. In their minds they had a small God. Therefore, they had big problems.

Obstacles are frightening things when we take our eyes off the objective. When we fix our attention on the obstacles rather than on the objective, fear always will eclipse our faith.

That’s what happened to the people of Israel. Numbers 14 tells us, “Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. ‘If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!’ they complained” (verses 1–2 NKJV).

These people had lost perspective. They needed to take their eyes off the obstacles and put them on the opportunities.

That’s what Joshua and Caleb did. They saw the same obstacles and the same challenges. But they also saw opportunities and great victories waiting for them if they went into the land.

So they reminded the people, “Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” (verse 9 NLT).

We all face giants in our lives. These giants, so to speak, are anyone or any things that seek to control us, hurt us, destroy us, or torment us in life.

But the first step to defeating our giants is bringing them into the open, into the light of day. Let’s recognize that we cannot defeat our giants in our own strength. Let’s call on God and pray for His power.

God doesn’t want us to run from our giants. He wants us to attack them.

That’s what David did. In the Valley of Elah, he went to meet Goliath armed with a sling and some stones. He said, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head” (1 Samuel 17:45–46 NLT).

And that’s exactly what happened. So don’t just face your giants; defeat your giants. For example, if your giant is alcohol, don’t put it in the back of the cabinet so you can go to it later. Pour it down the drain. Don’t leave any backup plan. Deal with your giants. Don’t let them conquer you.

Writing about the Israelites in 1 Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul said, “These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age” (verse 11 NLT). By the way, I believe we are living in the last days. I believe that Jesus Christ is coming back and that Bible prophecies are being fulfilled before our very eyes.

Paul was using the Israelites’ wilderness wanderings as an allegory. They were delivered from the bondage of Pharaoh, and we are delivered from the bondage of sin. They wandered around in a self-imposed wilderness for 40 years, and we do the same thing when we take our eyes off God and make the same mistakes again and again.

They had a choice to make, and you and I have a choice to make as well. So let’s not take what God has done for us for granted, because the first step to going back is looking back. This is why Jesus said, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32 NKJV).

She, along with her husband and family, were delivered from Sodom and Gomorrah as God was destroying it. The angel of the Lord specifically told them not to look back as they ran to safety. But Lot’s wife ignored that warning and looked back. As a result, she turned into a pillar of salt.

Jesus also said, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62 NLT).

So don’t look back. Look forward. Don’t look at your obstacles. Look at your opportunities.

Someone has said that when you trust, you don’t worry, and when you worry, you don’t trust. That’s because faith and worry cannot coexist. When faith walks in, worry walks out. And when worry steps in, faith walks out. We want faith in our lives, not worry.

God is bigger than your giant. God is bigger than your problem. If you see God in His power, glory, and ability to help you, then you’ll see your problem with the right perspective. God is bigger than what you’re facing. It all comes down to how you look at things.

Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.

This article was originally published at

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