Fear held me captive for over a decade after my encounter with an armed masked man hiding in my apartment. I couldn’t escape its horrific hold. Perhaps you’ve been there. The victim of gripping, paralyzing fear.
The dictionary defines fear:
“a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.”
Did you catch the words describing “threat”? Real or imagined.
Fear often arises in the form of a condition… something bad might happen. It’s the “what if.” My plane might crash. My mammogram might reveal cancer. I might lose my job. My child might get kidnapped. We might not be able to pay our bills.
Most of the time, our “conditional might” has no basis in reality. It finds its roots in our past, a news story, or a scene from our favorite show. It looms large in our imaginations and eventually activates a state of heightened fear and anxiety.
Whether we fear the known or the unknown, fear is a thief.
A thief who steals our joy, our peace, our sleep, our contentment. Who is this thief? His name is Satan. Jesus tells us, he comes to “steal, kill and destroy.” ((John 10:10) Peter tells us he “prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
What kind of thoughts and fears does the enemy use to steal, kill and destroy?
I asked some friends to share their thoughts and fears.
“I’m not good enough.”
“I’ll never find anyone to love me.”
“I won’t get into the college I want.”
“My husband is having an affair.”
“I’ll never find a job.”
“Losing my baby.”
“I’m not a good parent; I’ve messed up and it’s too late to repair the damage.”
“The empty nest.”
Did you find any of your fears? I did.
Fears are inescapable because we have an enemy who pounces on our places of insecurity and magnifies them.
It’s what we do with those fears that matters.
God, through His Word, speaks Truth into our fears:
“God is love … There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:16-18a, NIV)
“God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit.” (2 Timothy 1:7, The Voice)
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Our challenge: To believe these truths so deeply that we not only combat fear but also overcome it!
Scripture provides a process to combat and overcome our fears.
Know and believe God loves you and wants only the best for you.
Recognize and confess your fear.
Identify a biblical truth to combat and overcome that fear and then pray and declare that truth over your heart and mind.
I want to make something clear. Step One is the key to unlocking the other three. Before we can move forward in overcoming fear, we need to know and believe God loves us.
So, as we close, spend time with these three questions and God’s answers to those questions.
Do you know you are God’s beloved child?
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are…” (1 John 3:1, NIV).
Do you know God loves you eternally and unconditionally?
“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV).
“…neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 3:38-39, NIV).
Do you know you are God’s joy and delight?
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, ESV).
If you answered yes, great!
If you answered I’m not sure or no, how can you gain confidence and assurance God loves you and that His love and His Word are the key to overcoming fear? Spend time in God’s Word getting to know His heart and His character. Take the verses we’ve studied above on God’s love and fear. Pray and declare them over your heart and mind.
Friend, truly I say to you, without truth reigning and ruling over us, we are vulnerable to the enemy. We’ll be easily swayed by his lies that God doesn’t love us and that we will always and forever be held captive by fear.
But when we walk in God’s love and work in partnership with Him to overcome our fears, we’re bolder and braver, able to believe God for what we’ve been studying and learning about God, His love and our status as a beloved child of God.
If you’re desperate for more of God’s precious presence, His overcoming power and lavish love, meet me in the pages of my newest Bible Study, “1 John: Walking in the fullness of God’s love.” It’s for every child of God who craves to truly understand, walk confidently in and live out God’s unconditional, extravagant, lavish love. Because, God’s love truly does change everything!