Fear, we all have to deal with it, sometimes everyday, in our life. Fear can paralyze us if we allow it too. Fear does serve a useful purpose in that it is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But if we allow it to rule above our faith, and what God wants us to do for His Kingdom, the devil wins. Remember that the devil is full of fear.
I’ve heard the saying, “Fear is nothing more then faith in the devil.” Ouch! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to ever have faith in the devil! We are serving the enemy when we fear and pull away when God wants us to push forward and persevere and expect a breakthrough.
Everyone struggles with fear! Fear is a spirit!
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
The word “fear” in this text is translated in the Greek as “timidity.” God doesn’t want us to be timid. We get timid and pull away instead of pressing forward and taking the land.
Fears is something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension, a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain whether the threat is real or imagined!
What fear can cause
Fear can cause us to reduce the size of God and elevate the size and opinion of man.
Fear can cause us to reduce the size of God and elevate the size of your problem.
Fear can cause us to lead people in the wrong direction.
Fear causes us to stay quiet when we should clearly speak up.
Fear causes us to be passive about an issue that The Lord has clearly brought to our attention.
Fear causes us to seek consensus rather than really seeking the voice of The Lord.
Fear causes us to not engage the broken, the hurting, the misfits and the neglected.
Fear causes us to refuse to embrace change. (Fear of the unknown)
Fear causes us to try and control things and take matters into our own hands rather than trusting The Lord and trusting others.
Fear causes us to conceal sin and shame in our lives when God’s Word is so clear that we should ask others for help.
Fear causes us to seek the easy decision, what’s comfortable rather than seeking the right one.
Fear makes us choose wrong choices.
This fear phobia is America’s number two-health problem. It makes us tense and can cause depression. Many diseases have their roots in fear and depression. According to medical experts, stress, induce by fear, can easily lead to peptic ulcers, kidney disorders, high blood pressure, indigestion, liver disorders, etc. Fear is the most destructive force in the world today. “Fear, worry and depression have killed more people than all the wars combined; have brought about more health problems than all the germs put together and have been responsible for more failures than those caused by economic imbalances.” (christian-faith.com)
So what do we do with our fear? I don’t know how you have dealt with fear in your past, but it is my heart to help you overcome any fear, especially if it is a phobia to walk through an open door of opportunity.
How to overcome fear
1. Overcome fear with faith.
Fear is the opposite of faith.
A.W. Tozer said, “Fear is of the flesh and panic is of the Devil.”
It seems when we entertain thoughts of fear, and allow it to settle in our spirit, panic will set in. Many people have had panic attacks in their life all due to fear. Most of the time the fear is something we think will happen and not a factual outcome.
These past few weeks have been pretty trying on me because of having a gallbladder attack and then having surgery to remove my gallbladder. I was taken to the ER twice during this process. On the second time I was experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath. It was after the surgery and my fear was that I might be having a heart attack or a blood clot. The more the pain increased, the more my fear grew, and the less able I was to breath. It zapped me of any strength and my teen daughters had to get me into my car and then drive me to the ER. Thank God someone was walking into the ER as my daughter drove up to the ER doors and they helped me get into a wheel chair and then into the ER. Now, you have to know something about my mother’s health history to really understand my fears. My mother had a stent put into her heart in November of 1995 and then a week later I had to drive her to the ER with shortness of breath and chest pains. She did have a blood clot and they had to do open heart surgery on her and she never came off the Heart and Lung machine and died. So my fear on this day I was taken to the ER was that I was going to die just like my Mother did almost twenty years previous. All the signs were there, and the more I was in ER over this the more my fears grew. I couldn’t make my breathing calm down and even after they gave me some pain medicine through the IV, I still felt the pain and my breathing was still poor. Friends came into my room and I really thought I was seeing them for the last time. My husband came in and I wept and could hardly breathe because my emotions were getting the better of me all because my symptoms were manifesting outwardly and it became fact to me. Ultimately they did some tests and I found out I had a hernia from the Gallbladder surgery and the hernia will bring on chest pains and shortness of breath.
All this said, I was thinking I was going to die because it had all the signs of what happened to my mother, but the factual outcome was that I had a hernia. Knowledge is power and it eased my mind after I was home and experienced these same symptoms again. I knew it was the hernia but to be truthful it really felt like a slight heart attack. My faith was low and fear was supreme in my thoughts. We act on our fears. There is no question about that. When I experience that pain again, I have to start talking to myself and telling myself that “I will live a long life!” That “God is not finished with me yet!” That “there is more work for me to do with my family and ministry.” I say even out loud that “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” and that “God is healing this hernia, and the Gallbladder surgery. This helps my faith to grow and fear leaves.
The Bible says, that Satan is like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). He roars that he might make us afraid. The roar of a lion can actually paralyze its prey causing it to be its easy target. If Satan can create fear in us, we become an easier prey for him to destroy.
God offers us faith as Romans 12:3 says, “For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.”
Everyone is given the measure of faith as a born again Christian. You have faith, you don’t need to pray for it. I don’t need to pray for faith, I just need to use the faith that I have. The more I use the faith that I have, the stronger it will get. Faith can grow and the only way it grows is if you use it. Faith is a powerful force that resides on the inside of our spirit. When it is released tremendous things can happen.
We have to have faith to get up in the morning. We have to have faith to raise our children, or drive in traffic, or get married and stay married. So also we need faith to overcome our fears. Faith is a decision we make about where we are going to put our trust. Our trust has to be in God and His Word. He is for you and not against you. He has great plans for you. He brings opportunities for you to walk in and wants you to walk in them fearlessly.
There are times I feel anointed to preach the Word of God, then there are times. I may be fearful or don’t sense God’s anointing that I have to step into it by faith and God always meets me and helps me to get to where I need to be.
We can release our faith in three different ways: by praying, by saying, and by doing. Stop saying how you feel or think and start saying what God says about your situation. Allow your faith to arise in times of being afraid. The shield of faith is your best weapon to overcome the lies and roars of the enemy.
2. Confront your fear.
What we cannot perceive, predict, understand or explain, creates in us an unknown fear. That is why children are afraid of the dark and cautious of strangers over which they have no control. We need to learn how to confront our fears. Again, “Knowledge is power.” Once we understand what the core issue is, it decreases its hold on our life and the fear subsides.
Sometimes when we go through fearful experiences, we fail to analyze it. Understanding what was previously unknown can go a long way to dispelling fear. Understanding a problem is 90% of the solution.
Be determined to overcome and confront what is making you fearful. You can never overcome anything you don’t confront! We can fear our past, or fear of natural disasters, fear of relationships, or fear of a new job or opportunity. When we choose not to confront, the fear controls you and your decisions.
Confrontation is not usually pleasant or comfortable. Most people don’t want to confront issues in their life. They would rather live with it, allowing it to rule them, instead of overcoming and pressing forward with out the bondage of it all. But when someone has confronted issues in their life, and overcome them once and for all, they look back and ask themselves, “Why didn’t I do this a long time ago.” You see now they are walking in freedom instead of the bondage the fear or their flesh had on them.
It is a night and day difference of being paralyzed by your issues and trying to live your life from day to day in struggle and misery, then to confront the issues and decide you want to change, (and be determined to change) and walking out the other side as an overcomer in liberty and power. It’s your choice: Fear and bondage vs. Freedom and power!
3. Be courageous.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but courage is actually forward motion in the presence of fear.
God wants us to be strong and courageous. He spoke this to Joshua many times before he crossed over the water to possess the promised land.
Joshua 1:6 – 7 Amplified Bible
“Be strong (confident) and of good courage, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only you be strong and very courageous, that you may do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.”
Joshua was just getting ready to face the giants in the land and to possess the promises God gave Moses forty years earlier. He needed courage to be encouraged to go even in the face of any fears he may have experienced.
Hebrews 13:6 Amplified Bible
“So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?”
What can man do to me? Our flesh screams daily for being comfortable. Our spirit should be tenuous to overcome our flesh and to press forward with the new God has waiting for us.
The Webster dictionary speaks of being encouraged as: “to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope.” This is what we need to do for ourselves. We need to encourage ourself in the Lord. I have written on this in my article, “How To Encourage Yourself In The Lord.” It is the number one article on my Blog. Daily I have people reading that article and they found it by searching the internet on “How To Encourage Yourself.” Everyone of us need to be encouraged daily. If we lose our courage, we have lost the war.
Courageous is “possessing or characterized by courage; brave” (dictionary.com). We need to have brave hearts in this journey of life. Anyone can give up and retreat. It takes a courageous person to press on in the midst of fear or discouragement.
4. Ask for God’s peace to reign supreme.
John 14:27 Amplified Bible
“Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]”
God has given us His peace. It is one of the fruit of the the Spirit. We already have it. Allow it to grow in your life. “Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.”
There are times it comes right down to our choices. Do we choose to be fearful and intimidated, or do we choose to walk in God’s peace and assurance that He never leaves us and will take care of us. If he takes care of the sparrow, surely He watches over you and I!
Luke 12:6 – 7 Amplified Bible
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And [yet] not one of them is forgotten or uncared for in the presence of God. But [even] the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm; you are of greater worth than many [flocks] of sparrows.”
God doesn’t want us to walk in intimidation. He wants us to walk in boldness and to have our spirits be at peace.
Philippians 4:6 – 7 Amplified Bible
“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
5. Confront the devil and cast him out!
Never let fear fool you into thinking there is nothing you could do about it. Sometimes by the grace of God, with a little effort you can put an end to that danger. You must have an active engagement with the problem, or in other words take precautionary measure. If you fear that your children may catch polio, then get them vaccinated.
Don’t allow anything, or anybody to rob you of your God-given peace! There is a gospel song that sings; “Shake shake shake, shake the devil off. Shake shake shake, shake the devil off. Shake shake shake, shake the devil off. In the name of Jesus, shake the devil off.” This is what we need to do when troubled by the enemy. He can’t do anything to us, only if we let him. His biggest weapon he uses against us is our own mind and what we think. So he will fill your mind with doom and gloom. He will tell you that there is no hope. These are the times we confront the devil and cast him out, and shake him off! Amen!
In order to overcome fear brought about by Satan you must have a bold confrontation with him. Jesus did this many times when dealing with and casting out evil spirits.
Col. 2:15 Amplified Bible
“[God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].”
You must realize the fact that Satan is real, but a defeated foe. We will overcome when we take our authority in the name of Jesus. For greater is He that is in us then he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
You must read and know what the Bible teaches about Satan and his evil devices and also about the authority of the believer over Satan. Believers, united with the Lord Jesus Christ, have the same authority to claim and use which our Lord used against wicked spirits.
Some Devices the enemy uses:
a. He blinds us.
2 Corinthians 4:3 – 4 NKJV
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
The enemy wants to blind the unsaved and the saved from the Truth of God’s word and who He is.
b. Gets people hooked on the “Things in/of the world.”
1 John 2:15 – 17 NKJV
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
When it comes to the world we are tempted in three areas: The lust of the flesh, The lust of the eyes, and The Pride of Life. There are many examples in the Bible that show exactly this. Eve was tempted in Genesis 3:6 and it shows all three of these devices the enemy used on her:
Genesis 3:6 NKJV
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”
Eve saw that the fruit was good, pleasant to the eyes, and desirable to make one wise,” this is the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Our flesh is constantly saying, “Feed me, give me what I want!” In this case, Eve looked and saw that the fruit was good and pleasant and desirable to the point of disobeying God and pursuing action to satisfy those thoughts. This is how the devil tempts us with the things of the world. Everyday those temptations are clamoring for our attention. Be determined to seek God over the matter and walk in the Spirit instead of satisfying the flesh.
Jesus is another example. In Matthew 4:1 – 11 we read how Jesus was “…led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” He had fasted for forty days and nights and was very hungry. His flesh longed for food and then the tempter came onto the scene. I believe this is in the Bible to show us how even Jesus, the Son of God, was tempted in all three areas the enemy uses but in this case, Jesus didn’t fall for his devices.
Today the devil uses these tactics through Immorality (lust of the flesh), materialism (lust of the eyes), and arrogance (pride of life) that’s why we need to be in the Word of God and in prayer to stay close to God. Even the strongest Christian can fall. Don’t be deceived into thinking you are strong and would never fall away. This is pride in itself. Always have a humble heart that wants to please God instead of your flesh!
Jesus came against these devices of the enemy but first he spent time in prayer and fasting. Shouldn’t we at least spend time in prayer and reading God’s word, and fasting if need be, to overcome these things in our own life. It is a fight for you soul. Who is going to win?
c. Persecute those who are trying to do right.
Wow, seems we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t, right? Wrong! We should count it all joy when we experience trials and persecution. We are a threat against the enemy! I would rather be a threat to the enemy then to be fearful and passive and live a mediocre life.
1 Peter 5:8 – 9 NKJV
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
We can defend against this by encouraging one another and building each other up. Don’t isolate yourself and think you will overcome, no that is a trap of the enemy too. Be determined to fellowship with other believers and go to church. Keep on keeping on and growing in Christ. Yield to God’s Holy Spirit and be willing to change. Don’t grow weary in doing good. Don’t give up!
d. Get believers to enjoy evil company.
1 Cor. 15:33 NKJV
“Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
There is one thing to try and win an unbeliever to Christ, and another to just hang around them and eventually enjoy doing what they do and becoming what they are. They will corrupt you. You will feel pressure to do what they are doing. It takes a strong fish to swim against the current. Take a look around you. Are most of your friends non-believers? Chances are you will follow and enjoy their company more then following Christ. Be aware of this device.
e. Discourage believers through unChristlike Christians.
Is there such a thing? Yes there is. Today we call them “worldly Christians.” These are those who believe in Christ but fail to follow after Him. They would rather take on the behavior of the world then to die to their flesh and live for Jesus.
You know you are a worldly Christian if you consistently miss several Sunday services on a given month. You are a worldly Christian if you swear a lot and take the Lord’s name in vain. You are a worldly Christian if you don’t want to come to church drunk. You are a worldly Christian when the world does contrary to the Word of God and it doesn’t bother you.
There is even another name for worldly Christians. They are called, “Backsliders.” If you have missed a few Sunday services and then attend one, then miss three and then attend one, and miss a month, and then attend one service, you are a backslider. I am sure I have offended many already by stating such. I really don’t care. Your comfort is not my priority. Your salvation is!
You see we deceive ourselves when we think we are okay and don’t have to read our Bible, pray, or attend church on a regular basis. God has placed these things in His Word to warn us for a reason. I know I will self-destruct if I rely on my own understanding and following the ways of the world. I will lead my self astray, but I will think I am totally okay and can handle it. Is that you? Have you said those words? If so, you can change and correct this immediately by making a decision in your heart to stay close to Jesus and hunger after Him. When we do, we will hunger to read His Word, we will hunger to pray and fellowship with God, we will hunger and desire to attend church on a more regular basis. We will hunger to live a life pleasing to God, Amen!
I have seen too many “worldly Christians” come and go from churches and lose out on the best God has for them, all because they have chosen poorly and chose the ways of the world and not the ways of God’s Kingdom.
Matthew 24:12 NKJV
“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
Has your love grown cold for God and His ways? Chances are you started to be influenced by the world. Don’t allow your love for God to grow cold. Nurture it daily. When worldly Christians or unChristlike Christians come up to an on fire Christian, they usually try and speak down about attending church, or give lame excuses why they weren’t at church. You might say, “Pastor Kris, aren’t you being a little to harsh? No! I have a passion to see you come back to the Lord. Don’t ever think you are immune from backsliding. We all can fall from being close to Jesus just by turning and walking down a wrong road. God is a gentleman and will give you free choice. He wants you to live for and serve Him out of love, not out of obligation. We stay close to God because we love Him and we realize staying close to Him eliminates most of our problems. We have trials, but at least they won’t be because of some stupid choice we did relying on our own understanding instead of leaning on and relying on God!
Why would I talk about backsliding and being a worldly Christian when I am talking about our fears and overcoming them? Far too often people will be fearful and think they cannot overcome and then turn slowly away from God and the things of God. Don’t let this be you! Be determined to be strong and courageous and face your fears. Often we have to do things afraid. It doesn’t mean we don’t have courage, quite the opposite, it means we do have courage in spite of our fears.
Do you think the children of Israel, when possessing the promise land with Joshua, had many fears even though there was a huge door of opportunity in front of them? Of course they did, but this time, compared to the first time with Moses, they had a leader who was obedient and listened to the Lord for every step they were to take.
I want to share with you that that is my heart: to be a leader who walks in obedience and listens to what the Lord tells me for every step. I may not be perfect, and you may not be either, but we are in this journey together overcoming our fears and possessing the land God directs us to!
From one courageous determined believer to another,
Pastor Kris Belfils