Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. We all know fear; we’ve all experienced it. From the time we are young, we understand it. Whether real or imagined, fear is a part of our life on this earth.
We can probably all remember a time when we would run and jump into bed at night just in case something was underneath. We remember climbing into our parent’s bed at night during a thunderstorm. Some of us get that feeling in the pit of our stomachs when we meet new people or walk into a new situation. Our hearts sink when someone asks us to sit down before they tell us something. We stay up at night thinking about what we have seen on the news, the changes we see coming at our jobs, or that phone call from someone we love who is struggling.
We are concerned for our children, our health, our country, our world. We are afraid of the unknown, the things we can’t control, and for some of us it is a crippling struggle.
But fear is a liar. I want to share with you 3 ways fear lies to us and keeps us from living fully in Jesus.
#1 – It Paralyzes Us
Fear tells us that we can’t, we aren’t, we shouldn’t. How many times has fear kept you from making a connection, applying for a job, starting a business, sharing the gospel? It tells us we aren’t enough, no one likes us, we don’t fit in. It keeps us where we are physically, mentally, and spiritually—and our enemy wants to keep it that way. When we aren’t in the game, he loves that.
#2 – It Steals Our Peace
When we are struggling with fear, we can feel on edge and irritated. We can start to believe the lies that things won’t get better, that we will never change, or that we are alone and no one understands. We start to feel disconnected, discontent, and distracted. Some of us may have trouble sleeping, isolate ourselves from others, or have trouble in relationships.
#3 – It Makes Us Doubt
Fear, especially in our world today, can make us doubt. We look around and wonder where God is. Why are these things happening to me or to the people I love? What is happening in our country, our world? Why do people seem so angry at each other?
It’s no wonder God tells us to “fear not” 365 times in the Bible, it seems like once for every day of the year.
When we lose focus on Jesus in the midst of daily life, fear will lie to us and can even overwhelm us. We start to rely on ourselves more and more, on our ability to fix or change things and less on trusting and following Jesus. Our enemy is the father of lies, and he wants for us to be afraid. Afraid to move, afraid to act, afraid to trust.
We are told in 1 Peter 5:8,
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
And in Ephesians 6:12,
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
So how do we “break up” with fear? How can we give it less power over us? Our battle is spiritual, so we’ll need spiritual weapons. Here are some of these weapons:
Cry out to God.
Tell Him how you feel. Ask questions. Be honest. Get angry if you need to. He knows our struggles and he can handle whatever we throw at Him. Give your fears to him.
Speak your fears out loud.
Write them in a journal. Evaluate what you are watching and reading to see if there is anything that could be feeding your fears. Pray and ask God to help you recognize and overcome your fears. Rather than pretending that these fears don’t exist, recognize struggle as a normal part of life in this broken world. There is zero shame in admitting we are afraid of something or even overwhelmed at times. We don’t have to be afraid of being afraid.
Remind yourself of the promises found in Scripture.
Write them down or even try to memorize them. Use them as prayers, and speak them out loud to yourself and to God when your fears creep in. For example:
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18)
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)
It may take time and it’s definitely not always easy, but every time you fight the lies with truth you are one step closer to overcoming your fears and one step farther along the path to living fully in the freedom that Jesus brings those who trust and follow him.