faith

A spirit of fear

There were two things I was scared of as a child. First, I was scared of the people-eating alligator from the Joe Scruggs “In Concert” VHS tape. Why that was in a children’s movie, I’ll never understand. The other thing I was scared of was the bandana-wearing, bright orange antagonist from Dora the Explorer: Swiper the Fox.

I thankfully outgrew those fears during my childhood, but the alligator still creeps me out a little…

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The alligator, wielding a knife and fork, as he tells the main characters he’s going to eat them for “a midnight snack.”

We all have things throughout life that can cause us to experience fear: spiders, snakes, clowns, heights, flying, tight spaces, clowns, needles, and did I mention clowns?

However, there are fears that are more serious: rejection, lack of being in control, failure, the unknown, isolation, and death. Whether we admit it or not, fear can have a drastic hold on our lives. We can even become immobilized by it.

Yet, we can seek peace in God through reading His Word. Most of us are probably familiar with these common passages associated with fear:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

“The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

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Despite these promises of peace, I still struggled with fear in recent years. I would be afraid, and I didn’t know why. Wasn’t fear supposed to disappear when I was reassured of God’s faithfulness and truth?

One day I realized something: I had always failed to distinguish the difference between the emotion of fear and having a spirit of fear.

Throughout our journey in life, we will encounter situations and thoughts that will strike fear into our hearts. It’s a normal human response — things make us afraid.

It’s what we decide to do with fear that defines the situation and where we place our trust. Although we may feel afraid, we don’t have to be afraid. We don’t have to allow fear to disable us physically, or leave us trapped in negative thought patterns.

Paul explains this beautifully in his letter to Timothy regarding how to live a God-honoring life. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).”

It’s also written in the Psalms, “The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6).”

Regardless of what we’re feeling, we don’t have to allow fear to keep us trapped where we are. It’s okay if we experience the emotion of fear, but fear doesn’t have to be an attitude that we have. We can find strength and peace in God, despite our circumstances, to persevere in whatever challenges we face.


The Dinner Party Challenge: Update

We’re only one week away from the conclusion of The Dinner Party Challenge! If you’ve been participating in this challenge, would you consider sharing what you’ve learned? Just head over to the contact page, fill out a short message regarding who you “invited” and what you’ve learned, and I’ll feature what you wrote in next week’s post.

I hope to hear from you!

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4 thoughts on “A spirit of fear”

  1. Love your distinction between a spirit of fear and emotion of fear! God can certainly help us overcome our fears and accomplish much for him, if we ask him.

    Liked by 1 person

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