What Are You Afraid Of?
The young father was having a difficult time convincing his son to go to bed. “I don’t want to go to bed. I’m afraid of the dark,” the four-year-old exclaimed.
“But there’s really nothing to be afraid of,” his father said reassuringly. “I sleep in the dark all the time and I’m not afraid.”
“Sure,” the youngster replied, “but you’ve got Mom lookin’ out for you!”
Little children are often afraid of the dark and imagine monsters and bogeymen that are figments of their imagination; nonetheless, their fears are very real and harrowing.
The number-one fear of children today, in a 2019 USA Today report, is that “Mommy and Daddy may get divorced.” That fear is born of the fact that it has happened to so many of their friends.
Fears come in all sizes and descriptions. The guy who says he is afraid of nothing is either totally ignorant of the reality of life or else is a liar! Fear is one of our most formidable enemies, and can attack us from a variety of sources, often exploiting the hairline cracks in our defenses, rendering us vulnerable, incapacitated, and defeated.
“I have a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time.” – Charlie Brown
What scares you most in life? Some fear heights; some fear speaking in front of people; some fear being unloved, rejected or hurt; some fear death; some fear insects and bugs; some fear getting sick; some fear growing old; some fear a dental checkup; some fear flying; others fear highway driving; some fear being alone, others fear running out of money before they die – but almost all people, regardless of their age or status in life, admit to being afraid of something.
We all know what it is when our heart freezes within, and we are paralyzed wondering what to do. Jesus predicted that in the last days, “men’s hearts would fail them for fear” (Luke 21:26). According to the Bible in 1 John 4:18 fear is a tormenting spirit and millions of people today live under this torment.
“The only thing we have to fear… is fear itself,” declared President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his first inaugural address in 1933, speaking to a nation crushed by the weight of the Great Depression.
As you study the Four Gospels you’ll discover the one statement Jesus made repeatedly and more than any other was this: DON’T BE AFRAID! Jesus doesn’t want you or any Christ follower to live defeated in a state of fear.
Matthew 10:28 (NIV) Jesus said, “Do not be afraid.”
Matthew 10:31 (NIV) Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.”
Matthew 14:27 (NIV) Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.”
Matthew 17:7 (NIV) Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.”
Matthew 28:10 (NIV) Jesus said, “Do not be afraid.”
Mark 5:36 (NIV) Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.”
Mark 6:50 (NIV) Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.”
Luke 5:10 (NIV) Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.”
Luke 8:50 (NIV) Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.”
Luke 12:7 (NIV) Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.”
Luke 12:32 (NIV) Jesus said, “Do not be afraid.”
John 6:20 (NIV) Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.”
John 14:27 (NIV) Jesus said, “Do not be afraid.”
Fear is the root cause of what are called “psychosomatic” diseases by the medical profession.
“Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is!” – German proverb
That old German proverb hits the nail right on the head. Fear is the great paralyzer and mind number. And more often than not, is the greatest obstacle that prevents us from achieving our goals, dreams and full potential in life.
Fear Is a Stalker
On August 14, 1989, Time magazine ran a feature article that underscored the debilitating and destructive nature of fear. The story reported that Charles Bodeck, a retired autoworker from Detroit, who had received several tick bites during deer hunting trips, became obsessed with fear that he had contracted Lyme disease.
He was terror-stricken because the disease garnered considerable negative media attention in the late 1980s, until “in his own mind” Lyme disease had become as dreaded as the black plague.
Fear can stalk you, immobilizing you – it can grip your mind and imagination causing you to jump to extreme conclusions.
Stalked constantly by fear, Bodeck was not only petrified and freaking out about having the disease himself, he was also paranoid he had transmitted it to his wife.
Despite undergoing a battery of medical tests and repeated assurances from various doctors that he was definitely “not infected” and that passing the disease to his wife was impossible – because he didn’t actually have it – Bodeck remained terrified. His totally unfounded fear was so completely irrational and out of control that he eventually took a shotgun and killed his wife and himself.
When police searched his home and mailbox after the incident, they found it crammed with information on Lyme disease – and a letter confirming yet another doctor’s appointment for a Lyme-disease test.
What makes you afraid? The dark, rejection, financial loss, heights, enclosed spaces, spiders, snakes, baldness, flying, storms, the unknown, public speaking, blood, injections, failure, death and the afterlife… Charles Bodeck’s tragic and cautionary tale and countless others like it prove that fear is a very real and powerful force, and can have a devastating impact on our lives.
Matthew 8:26 (NIV) Jesus said, “Why are you so afraid?”
Does fear have you in its grip? How much time do you spend worrying, suspecting, dreading, doubting, questioning, or expecting the worst?
Fear is a paralyzing force that can so bind the human mind until a person becomes incapable of making rational decisions, and loses all initiative and creativeness.
Are you afraid of what tomorrow might bring? Of the doctors diagnosis? Of putting food on the table and a roof over your family’s head? Are you scared of what other people think of you?
Ann Landers was an American advice columnist, and a nationwide media celebrity. She began writing the “Ask Ann Landers” column in 1955 and continued for 47 years, by which time its readership was over 90 million people.
When asked to name the most prevalent problem in her audience’s lives, she quickly responded, “The number one problem above all others is fear. People are afraid of losing their health, their wealth, and their loved ones. People are afraid of life itself.”
Fear Is Worrying About The What Ifs…
Some people are afraid to ride in elevators, while others are fearful of crossing streets. The fear of water or going across bridges enslaves still others. Some have a fear of being unable to cope with retirement.
Many, who are single from divorce, are terrified of ever getting remarried. Others, who have never been married, are afraid of making the wrong choice for a mate. Some married couples are afraid of staying married, while others are stalked by the fear of divorce that will ruin them.
Fear grips our thought life. Fear operates on the seedbed of the power of suggestions, imaginations and deceptions.
Job 3:25 (MSG) Job said, “The worst of my fears has come true, what I’ve dreaded most has happened.”
Fear is the constant stalker that deprives you of peace of mind, happiness and well-being. Be honest about it: Do you ever fearfully think and speak about the “WHAT IFS” of life, such as:
- What if I should get a serious illness?
- What if I should lose my job?
- What if I should lose my money?
- What if my husband left me?
- What if I should be in an accident?
- What if my cancer comes back?
- What if my business fails?
- What if my mate should get Alzheimer’s?
- What if I should be the victim of a terrorist attack?
- What if the plane I am on should crash?
- What if my kids get involved with the wrong crowd or start taking drugs?
- What if someone breaks into our house tonight?
- What if my boss tells me I’m fired?
- What if I should lose my family?
The “what ifs” of life are absolutely endless. A recent major U.K. poll conducted by Kings College, in London, indicated that almost everybody admits to some kind of fear. Fear of the dark, fear of being alone, fear of animals, fear of dying… fear of divorce… fear of debilitating illness… fears over certain personal inadequacies such as the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, fear of change, fear of losing control.
Fear is a destructive power. It will cripple the mind, stop the heart, it can even change the color of your hair! Fear plunders and paralyzes our creativity, imagination, ambition, freedom and peace – and is a key factor that pushes some people over the edge in suicide.
Fear is contagious. Avoid associations with pessimistic people, who think and talk negatively, and are continually filled with fear, unless you can get them to believe the Bible and trust in Christ for deliverance.
The Good News: God has a permanent cure for fear! For every true believer in Christ God’s Word gives us the solution for dealing with it, conquering it and mastering it. The Bible says we have been redeemed from fear.
Isaiah 43:1-2 (NKJV) “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”
Fear is unnatural to the born-again, Spirit-filled believer. You have been redeemed from all fear! We are people of faith, not fear! We are either walking in faith or in fear; the two cannot exist in the same person at the same time. There is no place for fear in the life of any believer.
Psalm 34:4 (ESV) I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Fear is Satan’s number one tool against the Christian. Fear activates Satan the way faith activates God. It is Satan’s calling card.
- FEAR is the opposite of faith. It is faith in reverse gear!
- FEAR is thinking about the worst things that could happen.
- FEAR is perverted faith. It is faith in the devil and his ability.
- FEAR is a tormenting spirit that can grip our mind and emotions.
- FEAR is triggered by spending time with negative people.
- FEAR is developed by feeding on the daily news media.
- FEAR is released by speaking words of doubt, doom and gloom.
- FEAR is a crippling force that can stop us from pursuing our true purpose in life.
Psalm 27:1 (NKJV) The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Fear is Satan’s primary method of attack against the Christian. The only good news about fear is that through the Word of God, you can banish all fear from your life permanently – until fear no longer becomes a factor for you!
Exodus 14:13 (AMP) Fear not; stand still – firm, confident – and see the salvation of the Lord.
Refuse to be the devil’s dumping ground! Fear has no power or dominion over you. As a Christian, you are a child of God and have been born into the family of overcomers (1 John 5:4-5). Every born-again child of God is an overcomer and more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). You are no exception.
Resisting The Spirit of Fear
David proclaimed in Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…” Now, if there was someone who was under constant pressure and had a right to be afraid, it was David – he faced big problems, real enemies, extreme danger and difficulties everywhere he went.
How was it possible, in the midst of constant trials, that he could live life fearlessly? We find the answer in the final words of the same scripture: “For YOU are with me!” David walked by faith and did not waver from his assurance of God’s goodness and faithfulness – and he left no room for the devil with any buts or what-ifs.
Instead of caving in to the spirit of fear David focused solely on God’s greatness and his conviction that the Lord was with him – he saw no reason for alarm and boldly confessed his faith!
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) God has not given us a spirit of fear, but He has given us power, love and a sound mind.
Notice: When you are dealing with fear, you’re dealing with a spirit! God is not the author of fear. Fear is not from God! Fear is from the devil. The truth is fear is a demonic spirit that works against you at every opportunity.
The Bible says we have not been given a “spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7) and that means we don’t have to have it in our lives.
How to Counteract Fear With Faith
What you look at, listen to and read affects what you believe, and what you believe determines what you receive. You must guard your thought life because the mind is the battlefield where you either win or lose! Remember: “Doubt is the darkroom where you develop your negatives.”
God wants us to walk by faith, and Satan wants us to walk and live in fear. God is not the author of fear! Fear is not from God but from Satan (2 Timothy 1:7). There are things that we need to do, with God’s help, to overcome fear and win the battle in the spiritual realm.
Isaiah 35:4 (NLT) Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”
Sometimes the best thing you can do is unplug yourself from the fear pumping media. Switch off the TV and radio news. You control your environment and you decide your atmosphere. Will it be faith or fear? Peace or panic, life or death, God’s voice or the devil’s voice you listen to?
1: You don’t have to be afraid because God is with you!
God is a big God – and nothing is impossible with Him. Nothing is too hard or too difficult for God! We have nothing to fear from the challenges and difficulties we face because none of them are as great as our God.
Romans 8:31 (MSG) With God on our side, how can we lose?
1 Corinthians 15:57 (AMP) Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory, making us conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV) Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.
Romans 8:37 (NLT) Overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
God is with us and He is for us; He is on our side! Seek God first, and start your day in His presence with prayer, praise and thanksgiving (Psalm 118:24-25 ESV).
The Bible says God Is:
- Jehovah Elohim: The One True God
- Jehovah Rapha: The Lord Our Great Physician
- Jehovah Shalom: The Lord Our Peace
- Jehovah Jireh: The Lord Our Great Provider
- Jehovah Nissi: The Lord Our Victory
- Jehovah M’Kaddesh: The Lord Our Sanctifier
- Jehovah Tsidkenu: The Lord Our Righteousness
Let me encourage you to take this biblically-based information about God and make it personal. Meet with God before you meet with the devil (James 4:7).
The devil has one position – he is against us. But the God of the Bible is in us, He is for us, with us, over us, under us, and He surrounds us. Of whom, then, should we be afraid?
2: You don’t have to be afraid because you have the power of the blood.
The good news: At the cross, Jesus already defeated the devil and stripped him of his authority. If you’ve made Jesus the Lord of your life, then the devil has no legal right to invade and influence your life with the spirit of fear anytime he wants to bully and intimidate you.
One of the most potent spiritual weapons in the believer’s arsenal is the blood of Jesus Christ. This is the weapon that puts terror in the heart of the enemy and makes us victorious over every assault of the devil.
Revelation 12:11 (AMP) And they conquered him (the devil and demons) by means of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony!
Now is the time to release your faith in the power of the blood by speaking about it and saying what God says about it. By declaring and using the power of the blood of Jesus every believer can enforce Satan’s defeat.
Does God’s Word promise you protection? Yes! And the blood of Jesus guarantees that protection for you! Does God’s Word promise you deliverance? Yes! And the blood activates that deliverance for you!
The blood of Jesus is a spiritual sign that says to the spirit of fear: “I belong to God. I am God’s property and you can’t touch me! KEEP OUT!”
3: You don’t have to be afraid because the Greater One lives in you.
Living a victorious Christian life doesn’t mean that we ignore problems or circumstances, but it means that we make a quality decision to focus on God and believe the Bible on purpose that He is greater than any fear or anything we are going through. Faith in God and prayer changes things!
Psalm 34:4 (NLT) I prayed to the LORD, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
Victory is the believer’s address! Recognize whatever you’re facing today, GOD IS GREATER than your worries, your problems and your fears. He knows every single one of your needs before you ever have them, and He delights in taking care of you. He gives you grace and peace… and all the strength you need. He is your God Almighty.
1 John 4:4 (NCV) God’s Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world.
In your battles against fear, always remember: God the Greater One lives in you and He is greater than anything that comes against you (Ephesians 3:20).
4: You don’t have to be afraid because you have the power of God’s promises.
Fear cannot be wished away or hoped away, it must be confronted and dealt with through God‘s Word.
God’s all powerful Word is the answer to combatting wrong thinking and every attack of fear from the enemy. And the more we know God’s Word and get His promises deep down on the inside of us, the more we will enjoy freedom in every area of our lives.
Choose to renew your mind and replace all fear thoughts with faith-filled promises from God’s Word. Meditate on and confess these fear fighting Scriptures…
Psalm 118:6 (ESV) The LORD is on my side; I will not fear.
Psalm 91:5-6 (NLT) Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Psalm 23:4 (NKJV) I will fear no evil; for You are with me.
Proverbs 29:25 (MSG) The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.
Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.”
Psalm 46:1-2 (NIV) God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.
John 14:27 (NIV) Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Psalm 56:4 (NKJV) In God I have put my trust; I will not fear.
We need to personalize and verbalize faith-filled Scripture promises like the ones above… Make them personal declarations you say out loud to engrave God’s truth deep in your heart and soul.
When we open our mouth and confess what the Lord says to us and about us, God’s Word will supernaturally empower us to resist and overcome any kind of fear that the devil throws at us.