We cannot fight fear effectively if we do not know what we are up against. Do we shoot, kick or shout, hide, be silent or argue? We need knowledge and insight – that clear picture that emerges when we truly see and wisdom to know exactly what to do at the right moment. We need weapons and words and a strategy for their use.
As I write these words, I recognize them. They are burnt into my heart. Every aspect of the fight is easily categorized as gifts of the Holy Spirit. We read about them in 1 Corinthians 12 (also Romans 12). They are named and explained to give the reader an unmistakable and understandable layout of the full impact of the Holy Spirit in action within us. Paul names them in a certain order but explicitly states that they are available as needed. Let us look at this “special endowments of supernatural energy”.
All these gifts are the most effective weapons against fear.
Wisdom and knowledge will bring calm and reason into panic and crisis. Knowledge sharpens insight to help us understand fully what is going on. Wisdom paves the way for our action – the right thing at the tight time in the right way.
Then we have access to the gift of faith that strengthens our inner being with focus on the Almighty God who loves us. Healing and miracle power are readily available to resolve any impossibility. For peace and encouragement we have the gift of prophecy or prophetic insight, our love language of intimacy with the Father – tongues and the possibility of knowing, interpreting the unknown tongue in which we pray.
Fear is unbelief – the direct opposite of faith. Fear and doubt are synonyms in a spiritual sense – going hand in hand as a powerful strategy of our enemy. Fear is frequently addressed in spiritual as well as secular literature. It is the illness of the day, and probably always has been.
Fear is not rehearsed; it doesn’t need practise. It is the natural, instinctive, intuitive reaction on circumstances.
We know that the adrenalin rush of fright gives us options – fight, freeze or flight – when our action is determined in a split second. It is very necessary and secures our survival, but as soon as that state of fright becomes a way of living and the associated anxiety a constant, we live dangerously on the edge of mental and physical health issues.
Fear, our topic, is not fright or being scared. A quick scare is a good reaction to set us in motion to get ourselves out of a dangerous situation. Fear is the prolonged state of stress that impacts your life on every level and ultimately determines your decisions. [Pebbles 148]
There are two words in Hebrew and two in Greek for fear. Fear of the Lord, that denotes reverence and awe for a holy and powerful God, is used in Isaiah 8:13. [Hebrew = morah.]
The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow;
Let Him be your fear,
And let Him be your dread.
The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. (Proverbs 1:7)
Only God is to be feared. Fear of the Lord is the antidote for doubt. Unbelief offends God. Read carefully how the Amplified explains Isaiah 8:13:
The Lord of hosts—regard Him as holy and honor His holy name [by regarding Him as your only hope of safety], and let Him be your fear and let Him be your dread [lest you offend Him by your fear of man and distrust of Him].
We cannot risk disappointing the Holy Spirit with our fear in things this world throws at us.
The other word for fear in Hebrew [pachad] is also used with regard to God and the fear of the Lord. It means scare or sudden fright.
They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days. (Hosea 3:5)
In this case God’s goodness is to be feared. So many people hear about the love and goodness of God and choose to ignore it. In the end, his goodness will judge the rejection thereof. Let us live in awe and respect, and therefore expectation of the goodness of the Lord. Expectation of his goodness will drive out fear and doubt.
In the New Testament two Greek words are used for fear: phobia and phobos in the sense of panic to make you flee.
So have no fear of them; for nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, or kept secret that will not become known.(Matthew 10:26)
Jesus talks about the fear of men. It is so much better to fear God, as it will liberate you from any fear of what people can do to you.
Fear of men is destructive and fear of God is constructive.
The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever leans on, trusts in, and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high.(Proverbs 29:25)
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
God’s love drives fear out of our mind and even the sub-conscious. It is your choice to believe it and trust him fully.
But in the day that I’m afraid, I lay all my fears before you
and trust in you with all my heart. (Psalms 56:3 TPT)
Make the decision – trust God. Your decision to trust him is as powerful as the decision to surrender your life to him that has given you new life. It will have far-reaching and lasting consequences for your life.
Here is the last word on fear – God’s word.
Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection. (1 John 4:18, TPT)
Next time we will have a look at Jesus’ response to fear and unbelief.