Fear is an unpleasant feeling of anxiety or apprehension caused by the presence or anticipation of danger.
The English word “phobia” was coined from the Greek word “phobos” for fear. It means to be frightened or alarmed. There are all kinds of phobia ranging from hydrophobia (fear of water) tochronophobia( fear of the future) to xenophobia (fear of foreigners or strangers).
Jesus said one of the signs of the last days would be “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken”(Lk. 21:26). The silent or salient cause of heart failure, heartaches, hypertension and all manner of sicknesses in the world today is fear. Many are afraid of events of the past, situations of the present and/or matters of the future. John the beloved wrote in his letter that fear has torments. “…Because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love (1 Jn. 4:18).
The thoughts of fear can be paralysing and sometimes overwhelming. Fear usually begins with thoughts of doubt and worry which are consequently expressed in words and actions. “Why are you frightened?” Jesus asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt?”( Luke 24:38 NLT). Someone rightly said that F.E.A.R. can be seen as an acronym;
F- False E-Evidences A- Appearing R- Real.
Though fear is expressed through emotions, it is more spiritual than it is emotional. Paul refers to fear as a spirit. “For God hath not given us THE SPIRIT OF FEAR; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2Tim 1:7).
The root of fear is sin which is spiritual death. When Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, God called out to him but he said “… I heard thy voice in the garden, and I WAS AFRAID, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Gen. 3:10). This was the first expression of fear in the bible. Sin led to spiritual death, fear led to condemnation and condemnation led to separation from God. The book of Proverbs states “The wicked flees when no man pursueth…” (Prov. 28:1). The confident Adam who was in charge of the Garden of Eden, same person who named all the animals created by God had suddenly become a victim of fear as a result of spiritual death.
Why was he afraid? Notice he said “I heard your voice and I was afraid…” He was afraid of judgement. God had said if he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would surely die (Gen. 2:16-17). And the consequence of death was judgement. Then the next thing was that he hid himself.
Identify its source:
Never live in denial. The root of fear is condemnation. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:1-2). Fear can be traced to guilt, a conscience laden with expectation of punishment for wrongs done. Hence the blood of Jesus took care of this when it is believed and received.
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:22). An evil conscience is one that is perpetually conscious of sin and failure and typically expects punishment. The writer tells those who are yet to receive this truth as a reality to draw near in full assurance of faith in what Christ has done. He explained earlier before giving this invitation “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;And having an high priest over the house of God” (Heb. 10:19-21).
Only the blood of Jesus could deal with an evil conscience, and this happened when He bore our sins.“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1Pet. 2:24). Now we have forgiveness of sins. We have confidence in our Father’s presence (Eph. 2:12-18). We have access to God by His Spirit. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father”(Rom.8:15).
We can boldly say “No fear here!” Why? Because we have received the Spirit of our Father, the Spirit of son-ship! We can’t have two spirits coexisting in the same place!
Recognise the victory of Jesus over fear on your behalf :
The believer has victory over fear in Christ. Any oppression through fear today is as a result of lack of knowledge of what Jesus accomplished through His death, burial and resurrection. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:14-15).
The word “destroy” in this passage means “to render something or someone entirely useless, inactive or inoperative. Jesus, through death has destroyed the devil who had the power of death and consequently delivered all those who were all their lifetime subject to slavery through fear of death. The believer has already been delivered! He is no more a subject of fear. Death has been swallowed up in victory.(1 Cor. 15:54-57). You are now living in the victory zone in Christ.
Saturate your mind with the love of the Father:
John the beloved stated unequivocally “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1Jn. 4:18). God’s love for us is perfect! John wasn’t talking about your love for God here because he went further in vs 19 to say; “We love him, because he first loved us”. Only the love of God can be referred to as “perfect” It is complete and flawless. No human love is flawless. To see yourself in the light of God’s love is to put fear at bay. John understood this love. He was the only disciple who wrote about himself as “the disciple that Jesus loved” What did he mean by that? Was he the only one Jesus loved? Certainly not. He only happened to know and recognize that love. Hence, he confessed it.
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1Jn. 4:16). No wonder when he was banished on an island after a failed attempt to kill him by immersion in boiling oil, he continued to receive visions and revelations. He was not afraid of wild animals neither did he fear death itself. The love of God is indestructible! A man who aligns his mind with this reality is too!
Wherever the light of God’s love is shone, fear flees!
Use your mouth to change the course of your mind:
Words create images. They either create the images of faith or the images of fear. Fear understands only one language, it is the language of faith. Someone rightly said “Fear knocks at the door, faith opens the door and fear is no where to be found!” Every thought of fear can be sent packing with faith filled words.
Do you know that fear is actually a type of faith?. It is faith in the ability of the devil to harm you or faith in contrary circumstances to overwhelm you. What you fear often times is a product of what you hear. You can’t keep hearing information about the evil that is in world and expect not to be fearful. You must learn to shut your mind against words that do not edify nor give hope (Phil. 4:8). You can boldly talk yourself out of depression, thoughts of suicide right now.
Say these words: “my lifestyle is without covetousness and I am content with such things as I have for God has said “He will never leave me nor forsake me” so that I might boldly say “The Lord is my helper”, I will not fear what any man or situation can do unto me” (Heb. 13:5-6).
Begin to consciously speak to yourself “God has not given me the spirit of fear but of love, power and sound mind”
To be afraid or fearful is a matter of choice. Choose not to be fearful today by boldly declaring like the Psalmist of old did “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?” (Ps 27:1).