Tomorrow, all across the United States, we will be celebrating freedom. Today, I want to talk about freedom, but not freedom from a tyrannical government. Rather, I want to discuss freedom from fear—a tyrannical weapon of Satan.

Sixty-three times in the Bible, it says “Fear not.” God told Joshua five times to be strong and courageous. Why? Because he must have needed to hear it! And to Joshua’s credit, he believed it, and he took the promised land in less than seven years! I don’t believe it’s a sin to become afraid, but I do think it is a sin to stay afraid.  Joshua 1:9 states: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go.”

One key way to overcome fear can be found in the verse preceding this:

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (v. 8)

When I first began studying Joshua 1:8, I was troubled and thought, Lord, how can I possibly meditate on your Word day and night? You must not understand my schedule.

The Lord began dealing with me and said, “Did you know that Joshua was responsible for the food, water, clothing, and spiritual and military guidance for over a million people?”

Think about that.

While God provided everything while the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, after they crossed the Jordan River and entered the promised land, this became Joshua’s responsibility.

I’ve discovered that God has a lot to say about meditating, and it is exciting what meditating on His Word can accomplish. Meditation on the Word changes lives—in fact, it is life.  If you meditate on the Word day and night, you’ll implement the key element of being blessed, prosperous, and successful in every area of your life!

Since this month’s theme is hope with an emphasis on optimism, and our key verse is Joshua 1:9, I’ve provided one meditation below for each day this week, including today. It’s time to overcome unhealthy fears and become strong and courageous!

Day #1: In Him

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

We can conquer because He has conquered. The footprints of Jesus are on everything, including you. Everything you meet; He has already met.

The greatest outpouring of God’s miracle-working power was unleashed at the moment Jesus was raised from the dead—when life conquered death. Jesus gives that same resurrection power to believers when they are baptized with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:8).

The Christian life is not a struggle but a surrender. It is receiving and appropriating what He has purchased for us with His death and resurrection and being aware that we are in Him. Knowledge and formula are not enough; we must be in Him.

Each day, look to Him and say, “I’m wholly yours, Lord: my spirit, my soul, and my body are yours.” If one day brings a defeat or a disappointment, use it as an opportunity to gain another victory that will glorify the Lord. After a while, this way of life becomes a habit. It’s not a struggle; instead, it’s spontaneous living! Then you will realize you are every bit whole in Him—spirit, soul, and body. You are no longer living life under the sun. Now, you are living life under the Son! This is God’s victorious lifestyle for those who are wholly committed to Him.

Day #2: Dead-end Fears

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:12-13

The first words Jesus spoke after the resurrection were, “Do not be afraid” (Matthew 28:10). The road that leads to fear is a dead-end road. Sometimes, fear can be constructive and beneficial. When I was growing up, my parents set rules for us in our home. If we broke them, there were consequences. I had a healthy fear of disobeying them. Likewise, we can have a healthy fear of God. But when fear becomes our master, it produces dead-end results.

Fear comes into your life when you focus more on your circumstances than on Jesus. It will torment your soul and your body. The spirit of fear will move into all areas of your life, hindering you and hurting you, and when you give in to them, they will grow until they become bondages. When a fear is not surrendered to God, it will become a phobia that will envelop your mind and make you paranoid. Many diseases are rooted in fear.

Jesus fashioned us for faith and confidence. When you are afraid, be honest with the Lord. Tell Him that you’re afraid, that you don’t want to be afraid, because you know it’s the opposite of faith, and that you’re sorry for it. Then repent, saying, “Lord, I’m going to trust you to take care of me in this matter.” Saturate yourself in God’s love. He cares for you and wants to take away your fears. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Day #3: Sweet Surrender

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

When we know Jesus as “the way,” we find truth and life (see John 14:6). Jesus fulfills our total being. He is the way for our will, the truth for our intellect, and the life for our emotions. Life surrendered to Him is abundant life.

Surrender helps us overcome fear. Jesus struggled in great agony when faced with the cross. He knew He could walk away from it all, leave you and me behind. However, He conquered His fear and surrendered to His Father, saying, “Not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). How was Jesus able to face the cross? He surrendered to God because the Father’s will was best.

Surrendering our fears, bitterness, and grief to God is the only way to overcome them. When we are bitter, we must examine the reasons why we feel that way so we can get rid of it by laying it at Jesus’s feet. If we don’t allow grief to follow its natural course—taking our pain to the Lord and allowing ourselves to feel it—we will become angry and discontented. We must turn to God so that He can move in our situations and heal our attitudes and emotions.

Finally, surrendering to God can help us defeat depression in our lives. Depression causes us to feel burdened, gloomy, and sad. We can fight sadness and depression with the joy of the Lord. Cast your burdens on Him and begin to worship Him. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Rejoicing in the Lord will elevate you above the situation and enable you to maintain a childlike faith.

Sometimes, surrender is needed hour by hour or minute by minute. But I have found that surrendering to Him brings great peace in the midst of difficult situations.

Day #4: Dealing with Reality

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” John 15:16

There are three ways we can approach life: 1) we do all we can to escape reality; 2) we constantly rebel against reality; 3) we hand over our realities to Jesus let Him develop us.

Too often, people turn to alcohol, narcotics, food, or other addictions to escape the weights of life. As they keep facing the same harsh realities, they soon discover that they can’t escape them. Christ came to set us free in our realities, not from our realities.

In real life, I am a woman. In our culture, there are certain negative stereotypes associated with my gender: lack of intelligence, lack of leadership abilities, lack of toughness, and many other falsehoods, which can limit me if I let them. But I have found the exact opposite to be true in Christ. God did not make a mistake when He made woman. I have experienced abundant favor. I have lived in His ability to develop daily miracles; and He can do the same for you!

Day #5: Kingdom Reality

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9

Did Jesus ignore reality? The raising of Jairus’s daughter is told in three of the four Gospels (see Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; and Luke 8:40-56). Jairus asked Jesus to heal his dying daughter. In Matthew’s account, as Jesus and His disciples traveled to Jairus’s house, a sick woman in the crowd reach out and touched Jesus’s cloak, and she received healing for an issue of blood. While Jesus was talking to the woman, Jairus’s servants arrived with news that his daughter had died. Was Jesus unable to juggle the two realities? If so, why was He sidetracked with the case of this woman?

Jesus knew that there was a higher set of facts at play—kingdom facts. There is always a higher level of reality than what we see before us. Jesus lived in two worlds—earth and heaven. This story demonstrates how choosing the higher way of heaven can affect the lower way of earth.

When Jesus came into the ruler’s (Jairus’s) house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. Matthew 9:23-25

Jairus’s daughter lived, showing us that the kingdom of God runs on faith. Is anything impossible with God?

Day #6: Living for Today

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. (1 Peter 5:7 AMPC)

When we try to live for yesterday, today, and tomorrow all at the same time, we get confused. If you try to go in three directions, you will get nothing but dizzy. Be a today person. If you carry all the worries of the past, present, and future, they will weigh you down and overwhelm you. Jesus says in Matthew 6:34:

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Jesus wants you to live in the present. When you try to live in the past and future, you cut off the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Often, I have wasted hours worrying about some event in the future, and, when that time came, the things I feared never occurred. What a waste of time that was! Cast your cares on Him and enjoy every good thing today!

Day #7: The Ongoing Work of Christ

Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself]. (Ephesians 1:23 AMPC)

In the opening chapter of Acts, Luke gives an account “of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen” (Acts 1:1-2). But Jesus was not finished with His apostles. He was sending them the Holy Spirit who would empower them to do all that they were called to do (see John 14:26).

To me, this suggests that as long as I have breath, Jesus is still working in me. Christ in us is a constant hope of glory (see Colossians 1:27). Jesus came to give us abundant life (see John 10:10). As I have gotten older, I have found new abundances.

Revelation 21:5 says, “Behold, I make all things new.” Jesus makes new beginnings. What He begins in your life, He wants to continue. Keep your eyes open for daily miracle. He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13).


This post has been excerpted and adapted from 30 Meditations on Jesus (Whitaker House, 2014).