Do you realise that everyone feels fear? Yes, everyone! All teenagers experience feelings of fear at some stage. Even Christians can experience fear. God knows this. Therefore, he tells us more than 300 times in the Bible not to be afraid. However, there are a few requirements needed to really be free from fear.
Firstly, you need to be God’s child. (Isaiah 27:5). How do I become His child? John 1:12 says that everyone who accepts Jesus and believes in Him, is God’s child. This is a choice you have to make and it will change your whole life – for the better. You accept Him, you say ‘Yes!’ to Him, with your whole heart; and then you accept that your sincere ‘Yes’ was enough for Him. You are His child! Now live a life devoted to God and practical discipleship.
Secondly, ask the Lord to protect you and to deliver you from fear. There is no limit to His love (Psalm 138:7-8), but you do need to call on Him.
Next, you have to understand that God will help and protect you and deliver you from fear. God is your heavenly Father and he will take care of you if you allow him. Be honest if you doubt God. Tell him about your unbelief and ask Him to reveal himself to you. Make a deliberate decision to trust him. Believe him when he says he will be your Rock, your fortress, a strong tower. (Mark 9:24). Put your anxieties, fears and burdens on him for he cares for you. (1 Pet.5:7).
What makes teenagers anxious?
Rejection, exclusion and loneliness
You believe lies, such as ‘I am stupid, ugly and the least popular’. Other teens also experience these feelings at school. They believe that they are unacceptable, unworthy – a feeling of ‘I always come last’. They want to be ‘first’, but always feel ‘second’. They think: ‘I will never get a date for the matric farewell’ or ‘My boyfriend/girlfriend will leave me, for sure.’
Stop a minute and ask yourself: ‘How important is my girlfriend/boyfriend really? Has he/she become my idol?’ You may think: ‘I am just not good enough’. Remember all of us feel unsure of ourselves at times. Bear in mind that since you were born the devil has been targeting you with lies, because he knows that God wants to use you, loves you and cares for you. God loves you because he made you. It is better to know that you are loved than to love. And God loves you. God thinks highly of you – to the extent that he decided to be your Father, take care of you and wants to live in you! The truth is: you are precious in God’s sight!
The devil knows the truth of how God thinks about you and he hates that. That is why he hates you. He is worried that you will discover this truth for yourself. Replace the devil’s lies with God’s truths about you. Take to heart this truth in Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord …will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Ask the Lord to give you friends who follow Him. Don’t try to make your own plans. (Proverbs 3:5). The price of having the ‘wrong’ friends, ones who have bad habits, is too high.
Money, status, and the fear of disapproval
Young people often compare themselves to others. Perhaps you feel your parents are not important enough or rich enough. Maybe you are ashamed to be seen in your parents’ car or with your overweight mother? Perhaps your hockey stick isn’t new or your cell phone is not the best on the market. Maybe your clothes say: ‘Made in China’? But ask yourself: are these things really so important? All these things make no difference to God – He looks at people’s hearts. What is in your heart? The worldly things that we see as ‘all important’ really grieve God. (Luke 16:15). Confess these things before Him and ask for His forgiveness.
So many young people experience the trauma of divorce. You might be saying to yourself: ‘Everyone divorces, my parents are already divorced; I suppose I will also end up divorced? That’s if I even get a husband/wife in the first place!’ Stop! Rather listen to the truth. God says: “…I know the thoughts that I think about you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope”. (Jeremiah 29:11). Jesus tells us: “According to your faith let it be to you”. (Matthew 9:29). He told Thomas: “Reach your finger here and look at My hands; and reach your hand here and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving but believing”. (John 20:27). Pray now and tell Jesus that you are sorry for your unbelief.
Sickness, death and violence
You may fear the possibility of being hijacked, hurt or raped, being diagnosed with cancer or being paralysed, or any other fear of sickness, death and violence. Mark all the verses you can find in your Bible about healing. (Mark 6:56, Mark 8:22-26). Proverbs 3:6-8 says: “In all your ways acknowledge [God], and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones”. Know and believe that God heals and protects – that includes you. Ask the Lord to help you to take Him at His word, and to trust Him. God is never afraid. His love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18). If God lives in you, you have nothing to fear – whatever the circumstances.
How do I exercise my faith?
‘Highlight’. Every time you feel fear has a hold on you, take your Bible and ‘highlight’ or underline verses that talk about fear. When you see God’s promises, think about them and pray about them – your faith will start to grow. Look at this verse for instance: ‘Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10). Pray this verse now, until it is settled in your heart and the fear disappears.
Promises. Buy a book with God’s promises. Something that is small so that you can carry it with you. You will notice that it does not only help your faith to grow, but it will increase your Bible knowledge!