Isaiah 35:3, 4 Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees, Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
It is said that in the Bible there are 365 “fear nots”; that’s one for every day of the year. I haven’t checked that out for accuracy, but I know this: God has said in His word that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) Fear is a spirit that comes to torment people so they can’t exercise their faith in God. If fear hangs around long enough a person will become comfortable with it and that will be the first thing that comes into their minds when adversity appears. Paul cautioned Timothy about entertaining the spirit of fear. He told him that God had given him three things to counteract the fear that would come against him. We would be wise to use these three weapons against fear as well.
Power – dunamis – means miraculous power, ability, abundance, meaning, might, miracle power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.
This word for power is the root word from which we get our word “dynamite”. We, as believers, have the dynamic power of God within us. That same power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead resides within us. It is that power that is available to us to give us the ability to overcome the spirit of fear that comes against us.
Love – agape – a love of choice; God’s kind of love that expresses itself unconditionally. This love chooses to love regardless of what the other person has done.
We have God’s kind of love within us to fight fear because the God of love inhabits His people through His Spirit who is within us. God is love – agape – according to 1 John 4:8. When the Holy Spirit comes to reside within a person who is born again, He brings His fruit with Him. Love is the first fruit of the Spirit that is mentioned in Galatians 5:22 characterizing the nature of God within a believer. This love, God’s kind of love, casts out fear because fear brings torment and God does not want His people to be tormented by the spirit of fear.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
The word for fear here is the word phobos and it means that which causes flight; hence, fear, terror, dread. The spirit of fear causes people to want to flee from the situation. It tries to instill terror and dread in the hearts of God’s people.
The third word that describes what God has given us in 2 Timothy 1:7 to counteract fear is a “sound mind”. How important is it to have a sound mind? Well, this word describes a “sound mind” as having safe-thinking. The word denotes good judgment, disciplined thought patterns, and the ability to understand, and make right decisions. It includes the qualities of self-control and self-discipline. Have you ever seen someone who was so afraid that they couldn’t think straight? They were running around not knowing which way to go. A person like this will often make wrong decisions about their lives, their situations and what they should and shouldn’t do. Their thinking is clouded by the fear that has attacked them. God has given us His Spirit of soundness; His ability to judge accurately about the situation and His strength to control and discipline our actions so we are not tossed about by the wind of fear.
So, how do we apply these power points that God has given us to dispel the fear that comes against us? It all begins in the mind. That’s where the ability to think clearly starts. We have to control what we think about.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down stronghold, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
It is our responsibility to stop wrong thoughts, thoughts of fear and discouragement from taking up residence in our minds. We are the only ones that can put up the guard over our minds that keeps fear from taking root and building a stronghold in our minds. The word says we are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. That means we judge every thought that comes to us to see if it is good or bad. If it is bad we throw it out! The question we need to ask ourselves about these thoughts are: What does the word say about what I am thinking?. If the thought doesn’t line up with the word of God then pitch it out! We are responsible for what we are thinking. The things that are to take up residence in our minds, according to Philippians 4:8 are these:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, 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—meditate on these things.
It’s the good, positive thoughts that we are to meditate on, not the fearful ones. What we think on we will become. If we think on fearful thoughts we will become fearful people. But if we focus on God’s ability to overcome the fear and what it can do to us then He becomes bigger within us and our thoughts will be of His ability to defeat whatever it is that comes against us.
Paul told Timothy this in 2 Timothy 1:13: Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
Who are you listening to? The words that people around you or on television or in the newspaper will have an effect on you, either for good or for evil. If you constantly feed on negativity then you will have a negative attitude, but if you are feeding on the Word of God then you will see that God is bigger than anything the devil can throw at you and you will have a positive attitude. Don’t feed on the “what ifs” that come with fear, but feed on the “God is greater” that comes with faith.
2 Timothy 2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
God’s grace, His ability within you to do what you are unable to do in and of yourself, is greater than anything the devil would bring against you. God’s grace is there for you to access in your time of need. Draw from His grace to withstand the fear that you are feeling.
2 Timothy :16-18 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.
The message of those who do not believe will spread like cancer. Stay away from them! Connect with people of faith, people who believe that God is greater than he who is in the world; people who will encourage you and stand with you through troubling times. Do not allow your faith to be overthrown by negative, fearful people!
2 timothy 3:1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come;
Yes, it’s true, perilous times; times that are harsh, dangerous, difficult, painful, fierce, grievous and hard to deal with will come! We don’t deny that we live in perilous times right now. But it’s one thing to know that it’s happening and feed on the negativity of it and it’s another thing to be aware and prepared so we are able to help those around us to deal with the pressure of life as it is. Paul tells Timothy how to deal with the happenings of world events that would try to shake his faith:
2 Timothy 3:14-17 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, know from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of! What do you know that has stood the test of time; that people have tried to destroy for thousands of years? The word of God! Continue in the word of God; continue feeding on God’s word. It is able to make you wise and bring salvation and faith that is through Christ Jesus. All Scripture has a purpose: to complete you and to make you fully equipped for every good work. We can’t give something away that we do not own ourselves. We can’t help others if we are filled with fear ourselves.
Friends, God is with us! He will not leave us nor forsake us. He is the Greater One who lives on the inside of us. If God is for us, then who could possibly be against us? (Romans 8:31) We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us and nothing can separate us from His love! (Romans 8:37-39)
Father, I come before You this morning to say “thank You” for all that You have given us to overcome the spirit of fear that comes against us. I acknowledge that You are the Greater One who lives within me. Thank You for equipping me to win the battle against fear. I lift up to You those who may be struggling with fear in their lives this morning. I pray that Your love will dispel that fear that is trying to take up residence within them. Father, reveal to them how much You love them and what You have done to equip them to be victorious in the face of danger. Thank You for giving us Your Spirit to lead and guide us through the difficult times. I ask You, Lord, to strengthen the ones who are struggling today. Give them the assurance that You love them and are right there to help them overcome! Thank You, Father, for the victory is ours in Christ Jesus! These things I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.