Overcoming the Spirit of Fear
Paint yourself a picture: What is the one thing you would do if you had no fear? Would you run a marathon? Would you tell that someone “I love you”? Would you double your bet and take your chances? If you had the chance to overcome every fear that is holding you back, would you take it without hesitation? Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional:
"For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
The spirit of fear cannot be avoided, but it can be overcome. The answer lies in the scripture above. Paul says that God has not given us the “spirit of fear.” The way to overcome the spirit of fear is to cultivate perfect love and a sound mind.
Perfect love is the antidote to fear. It roots us in our true identity. To overcome the spirit of fear, you must first trust in God’s power and authority to help you cultivate what the Bible calls “perfect love,” which points to your true identity. Perfect love implores the question, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love cast out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18 (NKJV)
What is “perfect love”? Perfect love is the love found in a deep and abiding relationship with Christ. It is found only when we allow ourselves to experience, believe, and accept what Christ did for us on the cross – not because of what we did, but because of who He is. Perfect love roots our identity in Christ – not anything or anyone else.
“But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
Nothing we do can rob us of Christ’s perfect love. This kind of love removes all fears that the enemy will attack us with. Perfect love means that we are no longer bound by shame, but completely rooted in the redemption of Christ. Perfect love means no longer measuring ourselves by our works, but rather by the works of Christ.
“We love Him because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19 (NKJV)
Once our identity is rooted in the perfect love of Christ and what He did for us on the Cross, then we are able to cultivate a sound mind.
“For 'who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 2:16 (NKJV)
What is a “sound mind?” A sound mind is a sober and renewed mind – the mind of Christ. It is a mind that thinks correctly. A sound mind means not allowing worldly information, ideas, or feelings to influence our thinking, but rather allowing the Word of God and the Spirit of God to govern how we think and process information. Many fears can be boiled down to someone having 1) inadequate or false information 2) poor logic to process information and/or 3) a straight-up bad attitude. In short, the spirit of fear thrives when we heap on “stinking thinking.”
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2
We need both “perfect love” and a “sound mind” to overcome the spirit of fear.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…“ – Proverbs 23:7a (NKJV)
While perfect love renews our soul and plants our identity in Christ, a sound mind renews our mind and helps us think correctly. We must not only behave a certain way, but we must also believe and think a certain way. If our behaviors, beliefs, and thoughts are not congruent with one another, then we will not overcome the spirit of fear. There is nothing more powerful than the Word of God to help us renew our minds so that we may think correctly.
“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.” – Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
Do not let the spirit of fear overpower you nor become “wise in your own eyes.” Instead, trust in God’s sovereign authority and wisdom to help you embrace perfect love so your identity may be in Him and develop a sound mind by renewing your mind.
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” – Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)
My prayer for you is that God will give you the grace and boldness today to overcome the spirit of fear; to love more perfectly and to develop the sound mind of Christ in all you believe, think about, and do.