Why Fear Influences our Life and How to Overcome It
I stumbled upon my affinity with fear one night when taking time to praise God. As I worshiped and lifted my thoughts to my Heavenly Father it wasn’t long before anxiety would grip my insides and bring me back to earth. So, like a good Christian, I’d quote scripture at it and continue praising. But fear wasn’t fazed and kept harassing me. It was as if it was sitting on my shoulder popping it’s head into my face now and then, just enough to be a distraction. But God did not give me a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7) so I knew it wasn’t allowed there without a personal invitation.
I paused my praise/rebuke/praise/rebuke sequence and asked the Holy Spirit what lie I might have believed that would have invited fear to rest it’s head on my shoulder. Almost immediately the thought came to me “you believe it protects you.”
I scoffed at the idea. But as I considered it, I was horrified to find I had, indeed, embraced that lie.
As it turns out, I used fear as a warning bell and battled off and on over the course of my life with unease that something bad was about to happen or already had. There was a time in my adult life when it caused me such great anxiety I nearly didn’t leave the house.
I trusted fear as a close companion and was grateful for it’s attention and care for the life of myself and loved ones. And that is the trap we fall into as fear parades itself as an angel of light so it can get lose enough to destroy us.
Consider the following:
-Fear of heights increases your chance of falling.
-If two people are near a dangerous animal, one who is afraid and one who is not, who has the greater chance of being injured?
-When drowning, you should not panic, why?
There is a difference between a healthy respect for a dangerous situation and fear.
Fear is nothing but enslavement. It’s time we recognise and expose it as the tool of the enemy that it is.
Fear is Idolatry
In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)
Idolatry is anything we serve or trust over God and is a sin. When we invite fear to have pride of place as our protector we are giving it the place that God should rightfully inhabit.
Isaiah puts it this way:
“You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’
In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy,
And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.
It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy.
And He shall be your fear,
And He shall be your dread.
Then He shall become a sanctuary.” (Isaiah 8:12-14)
The devil is always working to take the good things of God and turn them into rot. A fear of God that keeps us in awe of our Creator and generates trust in our Heavenly Father brings life. Every other kind of fear brings death.
Evicting the Lie
You can quote scripture at it all you want, but until you recognise the lie, fear (or any other lie) retains permission to intimidate you. You are a captive of the enemy and Jesus came to set the captives free.
The first thing I did once I recognised the lie was ask for forgiveness. You may think this is over the top – after all I didn’t even know I was believing it. But ignorance is never an excuse. And to be honest I have no problem asking my God for forgiveness – repentance brings incredible freedom and shows the enemy whose boss.
Once you’ve recognised the lie and received forgiveness you now have the power to overcome it.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
By taking our thoughts captive we destroy those lofty things that have been raised up against the knowledge of God – because we now embrace the truth of God. And it’s as simple as asking the Holy Spirit to reveal our thoughts that are not subjected to Christ and to be alert to those feelings of fear that will try to creep back into our lives.
Look forward to a life of freedom and peace when it is the Lord alone who you fear so that He may become your sanctuary. “It is for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
“I love You, O Lord, my strength.”
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies. (Psalm 18:1-3 emphasis mine)