Newbell: Fight fear with faith in God

NASHVILLE (BP) -- If Trillia Newbell were limited to sharing one truth to help a Christian woman overcome fear, she says it would be the Gospel of Jesus.

"If God, the holy one, would sacrifice His Son for you, surely he'd help you in this situation too," Newbell would tell a fearful believer, she told Baptist Press in an email interview. "If God is for you, who can be against you? The Gospel enables us to worship, trust and rest in our sovereign and good God."

Newbell shares much more, however, in "Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves," her latest publication from Moody Publishers. The book, released in April, followed the 2014 publication of her book on ethnic diversity in the church.

Her latest book grew out of Newbell's focus in ministry, as well as her personal experience. Not only does she have "a heart and desire to serve and care for women," she told BP, but fear "is a struggle that I fought for most of my life."

"Ultimately we fight fear by trusting in the Lord and fearing Him." -- Trillia Newbell
In Fear and Faith, Newbell -- director of community outreach for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission -- addresses various fears and how fearing and trusting God addresses them. In the first seven of the book's 11 chapters, her topics include fear of the future, of other women, of not measuring up and of physical appearance.

For women, Newbell is unsure if there is any greater fear "than the fear of what's to come (or what won't come)," she writes in her book.

"You and I have to fight to remember the faithfulness of our Father when we are faced with great fears of the future," she tells women in the book. "Ask yourself, how has God been faithful?"

The belief she knows "what is best for my family and me" is a reason she tends to fear the future, Newbell says in the book. "I am convinced that I would do what is best, and therefore I want to take control. During these times, I do not trust that the Lord knows best, and I do not trust that He is operating as my Father.

"All fear has an element of unbelief, but the fear of what will happen in one's future seems especially derived from a lack of faith." she writes. "Since God is real and powerful and good, why wouldn't I rest in the unknown? It's because, during those moments when I feel that everything is out of control, I believe God isn't who He says He is and that I must take matters into my own hands."

The Bible is a weapon for combating fear, she says.

"If we are struggling with fear, it's likely that we are battling to trust that God is who He says He is," Newbell says in the book. "Getting in the Word of God helps us remember God so that we can fight rightly, so that we might rest."

Jesus is the answer for the fear of not measuring up, she says.

"[Y]ou and I don't measure up, and our fearful pursuit of measuring up is in vain," Newbell writes. "We don't measure up, but Jesus does. The good news is that Jesus died and fulfilled the law that was required of us.

"You will never overcome the fear of not measuring up until you embrace the finished work of Jesus on the cross," she says in the book.

"Ultimately we fight fear by trusting in the Lord and fearing Him."

The local church can help Christians overcome fear through a particular kind of culture and preaching, Newbell told BP.

In order for church members to care for and disciple one another, there needs to be a "culture of grace" in which Christians are able to open up about their fears, she said.

"Members should feel free to confess sin and temptation," Newbell told BP. "Without that, members will be tempted to pretend like everything is okay. We must have churches where repentance and grace are celebrated and where people are not looked down upon because of various struggles."

If a pastor is preaching from the Bible "the supremacy of God and Christ, the member will have a good foundation for fighting fear," she said. "We can't give faith, but we know that faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word of Christ."

Newbell lives with her husband and two children in the Nashville area.

Her book is available at LifeWay Christian Stores, among other booksellers, and Amazon.

Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service.
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