Once sin came into the world, fear followed. Mankind has been plagued by it ever since. However, Dr. Stanley offers Isaiah 41 as a timeless prescription for fear. Learn how God’s Word can comfort you and give you courage to face every fear that troubles you. For more messages from Charles Stanley, including this week’s broadcast, go to https://intouch.org/tv

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male announcer: “In Touch,” the
teaching ministry of Dr. Charles

Stanley, reaching the world with
the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Next on “In Touch,”
“When We Are Fearful.”

Dr. Charles Stanley: Fear and
anxiety have plagued the human

race from the very
beginning of time.

Think about this, the first
recorded conversation between

God and the first man

was like this: man,

in that conversation
said, “I was afraid.”

And all down through
the history of humanity,

people have been
saying, “But I’m afraid.

I just have fear.

I am anxious.”

And all through
the Old Testament,

God’s response has
been, “Do not be afraid.

Do not be afraid.”

In the New Testament,
over and over and over

again, “Do not be afraid.”

For example, when the
angel spoke to Mary,

he said, about the coming of
Jesus–she was to be His mother,

“Do not be afraid.”

To Joseph, “Do not be afraid.”

To John the Baptist’s father,
Zacharias, “Do not be afraid.”

When Jesus was speaking to the
multitudes in the Sermon on the

Mount, He said to them
there on the hillside,

“Don’t be anxious
about anything.”

Three times He said
that, “Don’t be anxious.

Don’t be afraid.”

To the apostles out on the
sea, in the storm when they were

scared to death, He said to
them, “Do not be afraid.”

The apostle Paul, at
one time in his life,

undergoing real
difficulty, and God said to him,

“Do not be afraid anymore.”

And I was so glad he had that
part in there because it made me

realize that the apostle Paul,
even he experienced times

of anxiety and fear.

“Do not be afraid
anymore but go on speaking.”

John the Beloved, who
wrote the Revelation,

at the vision of the Lord Jesus
Christ and he falls on his face

and he is absolutely petrified
in the presence of Jesus.

And what did He say to him,
He–the Bible says He walked

over and touched him and He
said, “Do not be afraid.”

And what is the admonition
all through the scripture?

God said through the apostle
Paul in 2 Timothy chapter 1,

verse 7, He said, “I have not
given you the spirit of fear but

of power and of love
and of a sound mind.”

The apostle Paul,
again, said, “Don’t be

anxious about anything.”

And anxiety is simply
fear of the future.

“Don’t be anxious about
anything but in everything,

by prayer and supplication
with faith,” and he says,

“let your requests be
made known to God.”

All through the scriptures,
God is admonishing us not to be

afraid, not to be
anxious because,

as His children, we
have no basis for fear.

That does not mean that
something may not happen and,

for that moment–for example, if
you walked out and someone stuck

a revolver in your face,
you would have some fear

and anxiety at that moment.

Now, what I want to deal with
in this message is something a

little bit more
subjective than that.

And that is, I want to deal
with those fears that oftentimes

we’re not even aware of.

And even when we are
experiencing them,

we can’t put our finger on why
they’re there or why they keep

cropping up in our life.

And what’s their origin?
What’s their root?

So, I want you to
turn, if you will,

to Isaiah chapter 41.

This is one of those verses that
I tell you that you ought to

underline, put a
circle around it,

whatever you need to do because
I believe this is one of those

anchors–those anchor texts
in the Bible that God’s people

should be very much aware of,
and especially in light of what

we’re going to talk
about in this message,

and that is: the source of our
strength: when facing fear or

when fearful, the source
of our strength

when fearful or anxious.

And anxiety is simply
the fear of the future.

It may be the fear
of the next minute,

the next day or the next
hour or the next month,

the next year,
the next ten years.

And so, Isaiah chapter 41.

Look, if you will,
in this tenth verse.

He says, “Do not
fear, for I am with you;

do not anxiously look
about you, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you,
surely I will help you,

surely I will uphold you

with My righteous right hand.”

Here is an awesome promise of
assurance for all of us who are

going through fear and anxiety.

And listen to what He says.

He says, “Do not be afraid.”

But secondly, He gives us a
word concerning an attitude here

that, oftentimes,
we’re not aware of.

He says, “Do not
anxiously look around you.”

Now, that is one of Satan’s most
subtle and successful traps.

And that is to get
our focus off of God,

looking at our circumstances,
and what happens?

The more we look at them,
the more anxious we become.

So that we are a
part of and we are,

oftentimes, the
cause of our anxiety,

and that is,
looking at circumstances,

trying to evaluate and
weigh what could happen,

what might happen,
what has happened,

what do they say will
happen and whatever.

He says, “Don’t look
around you anxiously.

I’m your God.
I’ll be with you.

I’ll help you.
I’ll strengthen you.

I’ll uphold you with My
righteous right hand.”

Now, what I want to do is I want
to deal with those root causes

of fear and anxiety.

Well, let’s look
at some of these.

And the first one is this: a
feeling of being inadequate.

What happens is there’s a tape
going on in your mind that says

to you–somewhere back
yonder it got planted–

that is, “You’re inadequate.

You can’t do it.
It won’t work.

You’re not going
to succeed at that.

Don’t even try.”

And what happens is our
imagination begins to function

when we get this
offer, this opportunity.

And what happens is, instead
of imagining yourself to be

successful, that you can do it,
it’s a wonderful opportunity and

you’re going to
move ahead in life,

your imagination plays this
trick on you: it begins to play

an old tape, and
the old tape

says, “No, you can’t do that.

Some other people
can but you can’t.”

And before long, instead
of imagining yourself to be

successful to
achieve or to do that,

you begin to imagine
yourself as failing.

And then that sets up a whole
domino effect and you begin to

come up with all the reasons
that you don’t really think

it’ll work and that you can do
it and it won’t happen that way.

And so what happens is you
live in anxiety and fear.

That has nothing
to do with reality.

It is something
preconceived in our thinking.

And we don’t realize how
often we are programmed in our

thinking that is in error.

And so, we feel inadequate to
meet certain people and to do

certain things, and especially
opportunities in life.

So, often, those opportunities
come and we let them go by

because we don’t feel adequate.

A second, I think, subtle
reason, root cause of

our fears and anxieties is
this: we somehow don’t believe

that we can reach the standard
that we’ve set for ourselves.

And all of us have
set certain standards.

You have moral standards,
you have standards in

your work as far as your
performance and so forth,

and some of you are very
committed to doing a very good

job no matter what,
whatever it might be.

And so, you’ve set very
high standards for yourself.

Well, if you set
standards that are unrealistic,

standards that God
didn’t allow you to set,

you set them for yourself,
sometimes we set standards

that are beyond our capacity.

And what we do is we look around
to see what other people are

achieving and what they are
doing and they are saying,

“Well, if I–they can do
that, then I can do that.”

And what happens is, we set
unrealistic standards for

ourselves, then we
can’t meet them.

Then we go through life trying
and we fail and we keep trying

and, you know, “I’ve got
to prove it to myself

and I’ve got to prove it others.

And what are they going to
think if I don’t match up

and if I don’t achieve?”

And so, we live with
the anxiety that won’t

be able to measure up.

Well, there’s a third, I
believe, root cause of

these things, and that
is this whole attitude

of a sense of guilt.

And that is, if people
live with a sense of guilt,

that somewhere along the way,
they’ve either done something or

somehow God’s displeased,
they live with anxiety.

And you see, that kind of person
will oftentimes come to this

type of situation in
their life where they

begin to succeed in life!

And just over and over and
over I’ve seen this happen.

They begin to succeed
in life, they begin

to move on, and what happens?

Right when they’re just about
to really take off and succeed,

they have a setback.

Well, they sort of
get over that and

they’ll keep moving on again.

And next time you see
them, they’ve had another one.

Now, here’s the reason.

they’ve already decided,

“I don’t deserve to succeed.”

Why don’t you
deserve to succeed?

“Well, back yonder in my
life,” or “I was born this way.

I was born that way.

This is my background, and
I didn’t have this,” or,

the–or, “I was told
this about myself.”

Or, “This is what I did
back yonder in life.”

And it’s amazing how many people
will not succeed in life because

they don’t feel
worthy of succeeding.

They just don’t feel
like they deserve it!

Well, what is the grace of God?

The grace of God is the goodness
and love and mercy and kindness

of God to us, not because we
deserve it but because His love

for us does not pour out upon us
on the basis of what we deserve

but on the basis
of His character.

And His character says He
loves us unconditionally.

And so there’s
that sense of guilt.

That is no way to live.

But you see, these are
the root causes of a

lot of our fears and anxieties.

Now, that’s not all of
them, but that’s some.

Let me just mention one
other, and that is: attitudes

that we grew up with.

And let me just
give you an example.

For example, attitudes that we
grew up with, let me just say

that all of us were born with
a tape recorder right here.

And it’s been running
since the moment we were born.

What’s on those tapes?

Well, I’ll tell you
what’s on that tape.

It’s a lifelong tape.

Everything that came
your way that was good,

the wonderful things that
your mother said to you or your

father said to you early
in life, that’s on there.

All the things on there
that you wish you’d never

heard, they’re on there.

All the ways that you were
treated as a child growing

up, that’s on there.

All the abuse you took,
all the difficulties,

hardships, trials,
criticism, rejection,

all of that stuff’s on the tape.

Now, the difference is that
all of our tapes are different.

But I’m here to tell you there’s
one going on in your mind.

Now, I can’t illustrate yours
because you wouldn’t want

me to do that, so I’ll just
have to illustrate mine.

So, let me give you an example.

When I was coming along,
as I mentioned before,

my father died when I was
about nine months of age.

And so, my mother and I
moved seventeen times the first

sixteen years of my life.

That certainly did not
build any security within me.

One thing my mother would say to
me when I was a kid growing up,

“Now, don’t you go
out there and get hurt.

Don’t play in the street.

Don’t get run over.

Don’t fall down.

Don’t work too hard.”

And the message
to me was, “Don’t,

don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t.”

Now, I know what her
genuine, loving motive was.

“I want to take care of Charles
because he’s all I’ve got now.”

And I’m sure that in
those early years,

she–I was not only
her son but I was it.

In other words, I
represented my father to her,

and so she didn’t
want me to get hurt,

didn’t want me to work too
hard, didn’t want me to do this,

that, and the other.

“Don’t play rough now.

If you all are going to play
football, don’t play rough.”

No other way to play but rough.

And so, but that’s
the way she felt.

And then of course,
what she would say to me,

“Now, you don’t
want to fail God.

Mmm, you don’t want to fail God.

You just want to
be obedient to Him.

You don’t want to fail God.”

Now, those were messages I
got on the tape recorder.

Now, I got a lot of
others, but I got those.

And so, what did that do for me?

Because you see, if it came
from my mother, it was law!

It wasn’t a question of whether
I wanted it on the recorder or

not, it got on there.

I didn’t ask to be
told those things.

It was something
that I was told.

I caught some things, then
I–I was taught some things.

Every single one of us has been
taught and we have caught a lot

we didn’t ask for, too young to
understand what in the world was

going on, but it was going on.

And so, the tape was playing.

What was the tape?

“Don’t take any risks in life.

Oh, don’t take any risks.
You may get hurt.

Somebody may take
advantage of you.

You may get killed.
You may lose.

Mmm, don’t do that.”

And so, what happened?

The tape is,
“Don’t be courageous.

Don’t be bold.
Don’t hang out there and do it.

Just be real careful.

Watch out.
Watch out.

People’ll take advantage of you.
Watch out, be careful.”

Tape going on and on and on.

One of the tapes that
went on was–you know,

when you don’t have
much, the tape that goes off is,

“You don’t have much.

Be careful with what you have.

Be very careful
because you may lose it.

If you lose it, you
may not get it back.”

One wonderful thing is what
balanced that tape off is still

watching my mom give when she
had almost nothing to give!

And somehow that
balanced it, but she would say,

“You don’t want to get in debt.

And you don’t want to spend–you
don’t want to waste your money.”

And she would make me give
an account for my money,

which was a good idea.

And the very idea of
going into debt was

absolutely a horrifying thing.

It would never have been done.

No matter what you
had or didn’t have,

you just didn’t do it.

So, listen, on that tape, while
there are some things that have

caused me some problems, there
are some absolutely wonderful

things on that tape.

That’s a whole
‘nother series of sermons.

Some wonderful things on
that tape that I wouldn’t ever,

ever, ever want to
deny in any way.

But, the causes of
fear and anxiety,

and then of
course, when she said,

“You don’t want to fail God.”

Then what’s the
tape that goes off?

“Watch out!

Watch out.
Be sure you’re being obedient.

Be careful.
Don’t sin against God.

Don’t be doing anything
you wouldn’t want to be

doing when Jesus comes.”

And so, what happens?

I grew up with
this tape going off.

And these tapes are,
“Don’t take any risks.

Watch out for God.

Or be careful what you
have,” all of these things.

Now, what I want you to
see is this: there’s

a way to deal with this.

But if you don’t realize you’ve
got a tape going and you don’t

identify it, then
it’s not going to work.

So, let’s look,
for just a moment,

at what are the consequences
of these fears and–the–these

thought processes that are
just laying in there under the

surface, just waiting to be
ignited by some circumstance and

erupts in fear and anxiety?

Well, there are
several consequences.

For example, when a
person is living with that,

oftentimes their judgment is
clouded and they don’t make wise

decisions because they
have cloudy judgment.


Because permeating all
of their rationalization,

their reasoning is
fear and anxiety,

“But suppose this
and suppose that?

But if this and what if?”

Secondly, those
persons, oftentimes,

are not as productive as they
could be for the simple reason

that their minds are so clouded
and they are indecisive and they

are not productive
because of fear of failure.

Which brings me to
another problem

and that’s procrastination.

See, a person who’s a
procrastinator is person who

waits until they think they can
do it perfectly before they try.

And so, because they
fear failure so badly,

and the feelings of not
measuring up to what is expected

of them, and the feelings of the
possibility of rejection because

they don’t measure
up absolutely paralyzes them.

I see it over and over and over
again in people’s work habits.

A person who is a

they’re waiting until
they can do it perfectly.

And so, there’s what happens.

They had rather wait and
they had rather get behind,

they’d rather get themselves in
a real difficult situation and,

oftentimes, maybe even lose
their job than to face the pain

of not being able to do it
perfectly and measure up to

their own set of
impossible standards.

Oftentimes, the result is
a persecution attitude.

That is, “Everybody’s after me.

Somebody’s trying
to persecute me.

They don’t like me.
They’re going to do me in.”

All of that is a result of what?

Just laying down in there
those thought processes,

just waiting for something
to ignite them to cause

a person to fear that.

And so, when you and I begin
to think of how it affects us,

think about other
people, for example,

and how it affects them.

Some people, this is
why they go to alcohol,

pills, and all the rest, why?

They just live in fear, and
they say, “Well, I’ve got

to have something to get
rid of these jitters.”

Well, the thing–the way to get
rid of these jitters and these

anxieties is to find out the
truth about them and deal with

them on a–in a godly fashion,
not taking something out of

bottle, whether it’s
that small or that size.

But that is
exactly what people do.

Think about this, if you’re
living in anxieties and fears in

life, every time you get on
your knees to cry out to

God, what’s the
tape going to do?

The tape’s going to
start, “You don’t deserve it.

Why should God
answer your prayer?

Look at your life.
You don’t measure up.”

And what happens?

You get up and you think, “Why
doesn’t God answer my prayer?”

Because you keep
listening to the tape,

which has the root causes of
our anxieties and our fears.

We need to get rid
of the tape recorder.

Get rid of it!

You never deal
with what’s going on,

on the inside until you
look inside, not outside.

Now, how do we overcome these
fears and anxieties in our life?

Well, the first
thing is very important.

Listen, recognize
that it is there.

Don’t deny that you’re anxious.

You say, “Well, you know, I’m a
Christian and I believe God and

I trust God and I
believe the Bible.”

Or I could say, “I’m a pastor,
therefore I have no fears

and no anxieties in life.”

Well, that would be a lie
because there are times when I

have to face it
just like you do.

But I think God is in the
process of teaching me how.

And so, I want to share it with
you because it’s working for me.

First of all, I’ve
got to recognize it.

Now, listen to this carefully.

You see, if you don’t, listen,
not just recognize that you’re

fearful or anxious
but identify it.

What is it?

You say, “Well,
how do you do that?”

Well, here’s the
best way to do it.

The next time you feel anxious
or afraid of–about something,

ask yourself the
question, stop and ask yourself,

“Now what’s going on?

What’s going on around me?

What do I think
ignited this sense

of–is it something I heard?

Was it a telephone call?

Was it something I saw?

What’s ignited this?

Is it something
that’s just been growing?

What’s going on around me so
that I can identify the thing

that caused me to feel
anxious or fearful?”

If I can identify it, then
I can get back to the root.

If I don’t identify it,
I’ll just keep having

the same old problem,
the tape will keep going.

So, first of all, I need to
recognize that I am fearful and

identify what’s going
on, what’s happening here?

The second thing,
very important,

is my relationship to Christ.

My friend, if you don’t have a
relationship with Jesus Christ,

you’re going to live with
certain fears and anxieties in

life because you
don’t have any security.

The only thing that is
absolutely sure in this

life is Jesus Christ.

He is the only
thing that is certain.

So, if I’m going to deal with
any kind of fear and anxiety in

my life, I must deal with my
relationship to Jesus Christ

because He says, “It is
appointed unto man once to die,

and after this the judgment.”

And He says, “Whatever a
man sows he’s going to reap.”

So I could think of a whole lot
of principles that would cause

me lots of anxiety and fear.

And if you face the truth, you
will have a reason to be fearful

and a reason to be anxious if
you have rejected the person of

Jesus Christ, the Son of God
who came into this world

in order to save you.

So, to receive Him by
faith as my personal Savior,

knowing that my
sins are forgiven,

past, present, and future, I am
a child of God and now kept by

His grace, not by performance.

Absolutely secure.

First of all, recognize
the presence

of fear and identify it.

Secondly, your
relationship to Jesus Christ,

be sure that’s right.

What’s number three?
Number three is the recorder.

Just jot it down, the recorder.

What you want to do is, once you
identify these anxieties that

keep creeping up, what
you want to do is say,

“All right, that’s the
tape that’s going off.

Now, what is the root?

Where did that tape come from?

How did it get recorded?”

Listen, do you realize it may be
something that a schoolteacher

said and put on your tape,
something your father or your

mother put on that tape?

It may be something that a
husband or wife put on the tape.

It may be something that your
parent put on a tape or somebody

you work with but, listen, that
root cause of anxiety and fear,

listen, it got on the tape!

And when you recognize and
identify what it is and you

trace it back to its
root, here’s what you can do,

you can just take that
tape and pull it out

and tear it to shreds.

“I reject that tape.

I don’t have to play
that tape anymore.”

Listen, does that mean
it’ll never go off again?

No, it means the
next time it starts,

you can say, “I don’t
have to accept that.

That’s just the
old tape playing.

I tore that–forget that,
I tore that up.

I’m not listening to that.”

Which leads me to next step, and
that is the idea of rebuking it!

Now, there have been times
when I’ve gotten on my knees and

crying out to God about
something and absolutely,

suddenly be overwhelmed
with anxiety and fear!

Now, you know, when
it hits you like that,

it’s like a cloud,
you’re just smothered in it.

But I discovered this:
all I have to say is,

“Father, I want to thank You
that’s not of You because You

said, ‘I’ve not given you the
spirit fear or of anxiety.’

I rebuke that in the
name of Jesus Christ.

I reject this feeling and
refuse it from this moment on.”

And I’m here to tell you it
will absolutely disappear.


Because you have taken authority
over a spirit that is not from

God and is straight
from the devil himself.

And what he’s trying
to do is to hinder you

in your relationship to God.

You have the power and the
authority, as a child of God,

to rebuke and
reject anything

that does not come from God.

You do not have to
accept it as your own.

So, what you do is,
you identify the tape.

When it starts
playing, shut it down.

Cut it off.
You don’t have to listen to it.

The next step is to
reach for the anchor.

What is the anchor?
Go back to Isaiah chapter 41.

Now, look at this.

All of us need, at
some time or the other,

those scriptural anchors we
can refer to when we are

facing fears and anxieties.

Now, listen to this.

Let’s say this is your
anchor and you’re

facing some fear or anxiety.

Look at this.

“Do not fear, for
I am with you.”

Who’s with you?

The Almighty,
sovereign, omnipotent God.

He says, “I’m with you.”

How long is He
going to be with you?

Every moment, every step of
the way to the end of life.

“Do not fear, I am with you; do
not anxiously look about you.”

Don’t do it!

Listen to this next
phrase: “For I am your God.”

Listen, your circumstances
are not your God.

“Don’t look around.

Nobody can do anything
to you unless I allow it.

They may have
evil in mind, but

I’m going to turn it
in for your good.

It doesn’t make any difference.”

He says, “Don’t
anxiously look about you.

I’m your God.
That’s not your god.

They’re not your god.
He’s not your god.

She’s not your god.

Nobody can control
your life but Me.”

“Do not anxiously
look about you;

I am your God.”

Next phrase: “I
will strengthen you.”

Who is that?

That’s the omnipotent God who
will enable us to face in and

every circumstance
of life successfully.

“I with strengthen you,
surely I will help you.”

Now listen, He
says, “I will help you.

Whatever you are facing,
just look right to your right.

There I am.

I’m going to help
you through this.”

Then He says: “I will uphold you
with My righteous right hand.”

In the scriptures
that is symbolical,

listen, of God’s willingness
to divinely intervene in your

situation and circumstance.

And He says, “I’m
going to uphold you.

I am reliable and faithful God.

I’ll strengthen you.
I’ll help you.

I’ll undergird you.

Whatever you need, I
will–surely I will do it.”

Now, my friend, how can you
get it any better than that?

He says, “I’m with you.

Strengthen you, uphold you
with My righteous right hand.”

Reach for the anchor.

But, listen, get yourself an
anchor before you begin

to be fearful or afraid.

But if you haven’t,
the next time,

go back to this forty first
chapter of Isaiah and say,

“Okay God, here’s what
You said, I’m claiming it.”

What does He want to do?

The next thing I want to say,
and that is to refocus your

attention, because
here’s what happens.

When I look around, I
become anxious and fearful

and I reach for the anchor.

All of a sudden,
what’s happened?

My eye has moved from that
which makes me anxious

to that which makes me secure.

I’ve refocused my attention upon
my circumstances to the anchor.

And what happens?

Immediately my faith
just goes out of the roof!


Because I am reminded that
He said, “I’m with you.

I’m your God.

I’ll help you, strengthen you.

I’ll uphold you with my
righteous right hand.”

And what happens?

It is amazing how fears and
anxieties absolutely disappear

in the presence of
the living Word of God.

You do not have to be anxious.
You do not have to be fearful.

And listen carefully,
nobody can make you fearful.

And no one can make you anxious.

You and I have to
agree to respond to that.

And you and I have Christ living
on the inside of us to enable

us, to encourage us.

And He says, “If
you’ll listen to Me,

you’ll dwell securely and you
won’t dread any kind of news

because I am your God.”