Currently there is a lot of fear being demonstrated by people all over the world. I am especially disheartened to see so much fear in people who claim to be Christian. People are hoarding items and basic courtesies are going the way of the Dodo. Why? Because people are afraid. Afraid of what? Perhaps afraid of dying or going without basic necessities.
At the time of this writing, there is a worldwide spread of a virus named COVID-19, which is a mutation of the coronavirus. Many people have died because of this virus and many in the world are afraid. They are calling it a pandemic because of the spread of this virus in many countries. The news media is spreading the fear most likely for money. Fear is one of the best sellers. The more people that fear, the more they will do ridiculous things. The more they will watch the news to feed their fear and the more the media will gain revenue from advertisers.
The fact of the matter is that less than half of 1% of 1% of the world’s population is infected with this disease and much less have died from it. That fact is not promoted on the news because it isn’t as scary and therefore, won’t increase profits. Though this is serious, I do not believe that it is as critical as people’s actions have indicated. Do people really need cases of toilet paper right now? No. However, all logic and reason is dismissed when fear enters the mind. People do really stupid things when they fear.
In this article I would simply like to briefly discuss fear and how it hinders us from progressing and being a blessing to others in times of need. I will also present the solution to fight fear. This is especially needed for the many church people who have succumbed to the spirit of fear and went right along with the unbelievers in their actions based on fear.
What is Fear?
Fear is a state that arises when there is a threat of harm, either physical, emotional, or psychological, and whether the threat is real or imagined. As long as we at least think that harm is coming, then we may fear. The state of fear does have its place in our lives because it causes changes in our bodies that prepare us for fight or flight. However, sometimes, perhaps many times, the fear is spawned by an imagined outcome. Some people use the acronym F.E.A.R. to be False Evidence Appearing Real.
If you were walking down the street and suddenly saw a bear running at you then you would tend to be afraid. Adrenaline and other hormones would rush through your blood preparing you to fight the bear or run from it as optimally as possible. However, sometimes we only perceive that there is danger and become afraid. Sometimes we experience something and allow our minds to take us to the negative and worst-case possibilities. We become afraid.
Therefore, fear can enable us to perform optimally in real dangers or it could cripple you causing you to become very ineffective and do stupid things when there is no danger. This latter kind of fear is not from God. Consider the following verse of Scripture. Even in the former case, we can take specific action, which is why it is good to learn how to perform under stress.
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.
God gave us a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind, not a spirit of fear or timidity. Being afraid the way so many people are demonstrating at this time is not of God and it shows what people’s relationship with God (or the lack of it) really is.
Why Do We Fear?
Besides real immediate dangers like seeing a bear coming towards you, people fear because they have little or no faith in God. People fear because they don’t know God and/or have little to no experience with God. Even if you do see a bear coming towards you, then use the bodies preparation with the chemicals it will dump into your blood to fight or flight, and trust God to protect you (Psalm 91).
We fear because we don’t know God and therefore, do not trust him. People go to church services Sunday after Sunday and they don’t learn about God, his kingdom, his power, and our capabilities through Jesus Christ.
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) —  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
We fear when the perceived negative outcomes of the circumstances that we face have a louder voice than the word of God so to speak. In other words, instead of trusting God to take us through the bad situation, we immediately see ourselves destroyed by it and thus, demonstrating little to no faith in God to keep his word.
What Does Fear Produce?
A great illustration of the effects of fear is in Matthew chapter 14.
Matthew 14:28–32 (NKJV) —  And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”  And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
Peter began to walk on the water because he responded to Jesus word to come out on the water. However, Peter began to consider the waves and wind around him and he became afraid and subsequently began to sink. Jesus’ statement reveals to us why Peter sank. He sank because he doubted (lost faith). He doubted because he became afraid of what he saw going on around him.
Fear based on imagined danger will cripple us. We cannot accomplish or experience what God has for us if we are afraid. Even though Peter was on the water with Jesus, he still began to sink because of his own fear and doubt. Likewise, even though God is always with us, unless we trust him we cannot be protected or experience God’s provision.
Fear produces doubt and unbelief, which in turn cripples us from experiencing God’s best. Fear will also stop the power of God from operating in our lives because of unbelief. Fear causes people to buy cases of toilet tissue and a massive amount of other supplies unreasonably. Fear causes us to do extreme things. It causes us to become primordially selfish, like animals. Fear causes us to disregard the presence of God and focus on the imagined outcome of our current circumstance. Fear effectively separates us from God.
How To Beat Fear
I remember an illustration given by someone many years ago that has a lot of truth in it. He said something like, “It is not the time to go and learn kung fu when someone breaks into your house. Learn kung fu ahead of time so that you will be better able to defend your home.” In our case, it is much more effective to feed yourself on the word of God so that when trouble comes, the word arises instead of fear. Even if fear does come up in your mind, you are much more prepared to defend yourself with the word of God.
Jesus said that people should not live by food along, but by every word that God speaks (Matthew 4:4). We also find that faith comes by hearing the word (Romans 10:17).
Therefore, the best way to defeat fear is to promote the word of God in our lives. What this means is that the truths of God’s word and his promises to care for us and the revelation of his love for us will overshadow any temptation to fear. Combat fear with the word of God!
How do you do that? You do it by first, read the Bible and know what it says. Know God’s promises to you. Know God’s provision for you. This way it doesn’t matter what the situation looks like, you know that God will keep you if you trust him.
Another important thing that we should do is to speak it. Consider the following passage of Scripture.
Mark 11:22–24 (NKJV) —  So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.  For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Jesus said to speak to your mountain. The mountain was a metaphor that Rabbis used to represent something that was seemingly impossible to do. Jesus said that if we have faith and don’t doubt in our hearts but believe what we say, then it will happen. We have to say it. The Bible also reveals to us that we should meditate on the word of God, which is a form of saying it. To meditate in this respect, means to roll it over and over, to mutter it repeatedly. Think of meditating on the word of God as the opposite of worry. Worry is to meditate on the perceived negative outcome, whereas meditating on the word is to rehearse what God says the outcome will be.
Beat fear by being prepared with the word of God. Start now and be ready the next time if you aren’t prepared now. Begin reading and rehearsing the Scriptures. Find scriptures that deal with God’s protection, healing, provision, prospering, etc. Know what God says and focus your attention on it. This will cause those truths to permeate your heart causing a fortress to be erected around your heart.
When you begin to feel fear coming upon you, then recite the Scripture that is its antithesis. Listen to sermons or teachings to help encourage you not to succumb to fear and doubt. Stay encouraged. Find people that you can talk to about what you are going through so that you can maintain your trust in God. See Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.
Another very important thing that you can do to counter fear is to stop feeding it. The news media is not interested in truth or facts, but rather ratings and profit. If fear will cause the general public to act a certain way so that they would get more profits, then they will present news in that way. For example, currently COVID-19 (coronavirus) is spreading and the news is presenting it as if it is dooms day. Even though less than 1% of the world’s population is affected.
Stop ingesting information that will only produce fear in you. Instead, spend time reading and confessing the word of God. Speak to the mountain and focus on what God says instead of what the news and other fearful people are saying.
Don’t fear. If you call yourself a Christian and truly are a follower of Christ, i.e., a believer, then you have no need to fear. Fear is our response to real or perceived danger. Sometimes dangers are real and we have to take action, i.e., fight or flight. However, in most cases, the dangers are only perceived, but we still take action based on the resulting fear. We do crazy things when we think we are in danger like what you may have seen during this time of the spread of COVID-19.
Fear cripples us in many ways. For one thing, it inhibits us from experiencing the promises of God because they are based on faith. If we trust God then his promises will be fulfilled in our lives. If we don’t trust him and succumb to our fears, then we place ourselves outside the protection and provision of our heavenly Father.
Feed upon the word of God regularly so that you will be able to withstand the temptations to fear. Read the Bible and know what God has promised you and has made available to you. Without that knowledge, you will have very little if anything to rely on in times of trouble. You will run with the crowd in fear and stock up on toilet tissue among other things.
Build a personal relationship with God now so that you will be able to stand when trouble comes. For example, meditate on Psalm 91 and get that into your heart so that it naturally arises in times of trouble. Going to church on Sundays is insufficient for spiritual growth in many cases. Many churches are social clubs that do very little to prepare you with the word of God to accomplish great things in your life. Therefore, it is up to you to read the Bible, know what God says, and use that to combat fear and any other ungodly spirit that may come your way. Amen.