My Journey through Fear, Part 2
Part 2 of a 3-Part Series on Fear
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NKJV)
Have you noticed how deeply fear entrenches people? It is able to incapacitate us, and to spread panic and despair like wildfire. The fight against fear is a spiritual battle. Ephesians 6:12 states, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (NLT) Fear is the enemy’s primary device to keep people oppressed and trapped. It is a stronghold that is protected by a fortress of lies in the mind. A stronghold is defined as “a fortified place; a place where a particular cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld.” In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, Paul describes strongholds as false arguments and theories, and as human reasoning that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. The enemy hides in destructive patterns of thinking, such as a fear-based mindset. Satan, the father of lies, wants you to speculate with him about disaster in your future.
This means that when you consent to fear, you dwell on a reality that violates God’s assignment for your life. Bill Johnson says, “Any area of my life for which I have no hope for is under the influence of a lie.” God’s truth exposes these areas of deception and demolishes hopelessness. In this article, I share three spiritual truths that have helped me to tear down the stronghold of fear in my life. In order to overthrow fear, we must identify our enemy, our ally, our position, and our own role in the battle.
1) Know Your Opponent
When you feel oppressed by fear, does your fight seem futile? Do you feel that you are just aimlessly beating the air? Fear creates a whirlwind of confusion that increases in intensity the more we doubt. To win the battle against fear, you first need to identify your enemy. Otherwise, you will end up attacking yourself or blaming God for the torment you feel. Bill Johnson says, “The number one attack of the enemy is to disengage us from our life source.” If you take fear’s harassment as evidence that God is hostile towards you, you will distrust and disconnect from Him.
It is, therefore, imperative that you distinguish the source of your fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 states, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” (NKJV) Fear comes from the kingdom of darkness, not from God. Fear opposes every truth in the kingdom of God. Kris Vallotton says, “Fear is just faith in the wrong kingdom.” It is Satan’s greatest weapon to deceive, destroy, and paralyze people. When fear attacks, you need to know two core truths, which will unlock your success in crushing fear. 1) God is not against you. And, 2) it is not God’s will for you to be tormented by fear. You will be able to stand confidently against fear when you know who is standing with you. I experienced a breakthrough when I chose to believe that God had not turned against me but was singing songs of deliverance over me (Psalm 32:7). So how do you identify the spirit of fear? The spirit of fear leaves you feeling weak, vulnerable, and powerless. But the fear of God, which is more accurately translated as “awe-inspiring reverence,” actually builds up faith and empowers you.
2) Know Your Position
Many nights when fear oppressed me, I was convinced that God was punishing me. 1 John 4:18 states that, “Fear involves (the expectation of divine) punishment so the one who is afraid of (God’s judgment) has not been perfected in love.” (AMP) I had not understood the nature of love. I thought that love had given up on me. I believed that God had rejected me because I had failed. I was desperate for answers, and so I settled for lies. I listened to the voice of the accuser who told me that I deserved to be tormented because I did not measure up to God’s expectations. I was ashamed that I had let fear cripple me. I felt weak and powerless.
Fear will try to reduce your identity in Christ. In order to get out of fear mode, you need to realize your position in Heaven. Romans 8:33-34 says, “Who will bring charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one.” (NIV) The cross has canceled your debt, and God declares you blameless. In fact, the Father and Jesus are interceding for you. All of heaven is backing you up. Not only are you chosen, but you are embraced as a child of God. You are favored. Romans 8:15-16 declares that we are no longer slaves to fear because the King has adopted us. Why does this sonship liberate us from the prison of fear? Because the mercy of the good Father triumphs over judgment (James 2:3). Because no matter the season, we are still His. Fear is silenced when we develop a childlike faith that says, “I have a big Daddy in Heaven, and He is defending me.”
I falsely believed that I needed to earn my position as His beloved daughter. Reject the lie that you need to work for the gift that Christ has already given. The truth is, we don’t get what we deserve, but we get what Jesus deserves. We are coheirs with Christ. So, in the midst of attack, remember that you are a child of the King. You are seated in heavenly places with Christ. You are royalty, and are powerful and significant. When fear tells that you will lose the battle, tell fear that you have the victory. Reject the condemning voices that say you are not enough. Put away shame. You have not been disqualified.
3) Know Your Role
In fear mode, I trust no one. So at best, the only person I can count on is myself. One way people respond to fear is with control. When fear terrorized me, I tried to micromanage every detail of my life. But the more I strived for control, the sicker and more anxious I became. In the midst of a panic attack, I cried out to God and said, “Lord I can’t do this anymore! I can’t stop these fearful thoughts.” At that moment, I heard God say to me, “Let me in.” I was able to see clearly for the first time. I had shut God out. I had resolved to solve my problems alone because I did not trust God with my future. For the first time in my life, I realized that my motto “Just try harder” was not the answer.
You cannot beat fear through your own strength. Believe me, I tried. I thought that I could reason my way out of fear. Romans 8:6 states, “Now the mind of the flesh (which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit) is death … But the mind of the (Holy) Spirit is life and (soul) peace (both now and forever).” (AMPC) Without God, our reasoning alone leads to death. Without the Holy Spirit’s leadership in our lives, there is no peace. Who is your master? God or yourself? The pathway to peace lies in letting go and trusting God’s leadership. When I am tempted to take back control, I am reminded of a word that God gave me when I was terrified of my future. He said, “Let me take care of outcomes.” When we have done all that we can do, we are to rest in God, knowing that He is handling the details. We were never meant to dread danger, but rather to rely on God’s authority to steer us through the storms. We can trust our Dad that He has purposed well-being and not disaster, hope and not harm, for our lives. Proverbs 31:25 says that we can smile at our future.
Christian Counseling to Move beyond Fear
In sum, fear attacks three critical areas: Our view of God, our view of ourselves, and our job in the battle. As a Christian counselor, I pray that the stronghold of fear comes crumbling down as you receive the truth. God is for you. You will always be the beloved child of the King. It is OK to let go. You can trust God’s leadership. I am believing with you that as you seek the Lord, He will deliver you from all your fears. To find out more about how Christian counseling can help you to move beyond fear, please contact me here.
You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. (Isaiah 26:3, AMPC)
“Facing Fear,” courtesy of Alex Jones, unsplash.com; “Turning Night to Day,” by Alex, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0); “Into the Light,” courtesy of Renatv288, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY-SA 2.0)