Overcoming the Stronghold of Fear
I was six years old when I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I remember having a strong conviction over my sin, and I knew I needed Jesus to come into my life to save me. When I was eight years old, my mother was diagnosed with cancer.
This was when fear became real to me.
My pastor’s wife a few years before this had passed away from cancer and left behind four small children. As my church family walked though this, I knew that my mother could die. I had already seen it happen.
Was my mother going to be next? She ended up facing surgery, followed by chemotherapy, and then spent many years cancer-free until my sophomore year in college when she had cancer again.
At times, we can allow fear to grip and overtake our hearts and minds.
At eight years old, I began to allow fear to enter my life. I feared death would come to someone I loved, I feared sickness, and it even developed into fear of what people would think of me and a fear of failure. Even now, there are times I have to fight against fear.
As an eight year old child still young in my walk with Jesus, I did not understand how to fight against the fear I was experiencing. As the Lord grew my faith in Him, He used His word to encourage my heart. Through this journey I have had with fear, here are some things the Lord has taught me:
1. Recognize that fear is a spiritual battle.
Fear is one way the enemy distracts and paralyzes us in our walk with the Lord and our obedience to Him. The Bible tells us that we need to put on the armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-11 says “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
2. Realize that fear is not from the Lord.
Second Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
This power given by the Lord is strength or might, a miraculous power. He gives us love. In the Greek, this word is agape love, which is perfect love that comes from the Lord. He also gives us a sound mind or self-control. As believers, our lives should not be controlled by fear but by the spirit of God. Our weapon in this battle is the Word of God.
3. Recall His Word and use it to fight the battle of our minds so we can take every thought captive.
I am thankful that God’s Word is powerful, and as I struggle with moments of fear, His Word is able to come and replace the fear with His truths. Second Corinthians 10:4-5 reminds us that the “weapons of our warfare” are able to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
One verse the Lord reminds me of often is Isaiah 41:10. It says, “Fear not, for I am with you, Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Instead of allowing fear to reign in our minds, Philippians 4:8 tells us to focus our minds on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—mediate on these things”(bold added). His Word also points us to who God is and His character.
4. Remember who God is, His character, and His sovereignty.
Billy Graham said that anxiety (fear) “distracts us from our relationship with God and the truth that He is Lord of heaven and earth” (Matt 11:25). Remembering who God is and His character helps us put our eyes on Him and not our circumstances or fears. God is good and His ways are perfect. He is in control of all things and He loves us.
First John 4:18a says “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” Alexander MacLaren, in his exposition on I John 4:18, pointed out that fear is a symptom showing us that something is wrong spiritually, just like pain shows us when we have something wrong physically. We need to seek out the One who can help us, the great Physician of our hearts, to show us what is wrong in our relationship with Him.
I know in my life that fear is greater when I am focused more on myself and my circumstances than I am on the Lord.
When I am not walking as I should with the Lord, my trust in Him waivers and my fear increases. I need to confess my sin of lack of trust and turn to the Lord to fill me with His love. May we be full of the Lord, remembering who He is, and not hindered by fear!
What areas of your life are gripped by a spirit of fear?
Psalm 34:4 says “I sought the LORD and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.”
No matter what you are facing, what fear you are dealing with, allow God to enter and shed His light and love on it. Let’s stop walking in fear and instead, walk in the freedom His love brings us from our fears.
Thirty one years later, my mother is continuing to serve the Lord and lives her days redeeming the time she has been given. She faithfully ministers to others and can often be found studying the Word. His plan for her is the same for us – He numbers our days and He is in control. We can trust that He is good and that His plans for us are good no matter what they are. Trust in Him and turn loose from the fear that is so crippling. He can bring freedom!
Graham, Billy. “How to Overcome Fear, Anxiety and Worry”. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. May, 2015. https://billygraham.org/story/how-to-overcome-fear-anxiety-and-worry/
 MacLaren, Alexander. “Love and Fear”. MacLaren’s Expositions on 1 John. Biblehub.com/commentaries/1_john/4-18.htm