Just about everybody in the U.S. is scared right now. New leadership. A whole different mentality in the White House. Executive orders. Inflammatory rhetoric. Terrorists with machetes. Road rage. Crazy people with guns. No one knows what lies ahead.
One of my favorite Scriptures is 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
What that verse tells me, is the ‘spirit of fear’ that grips us is not from God. It’s coming from the other source . . . from the evil one. We can argue all day about the evil one, but almost every Jesus-follower will go along with the idea that evil can at least be defined as the absence of God. So, rephrase the verse and it could say “the spirit of fear that shows up when God is absent.”
Is God ever absent from the life of the Believer? No. Never. Remember what Jesus taught about His presence and the presence of evil being mutually exclusive? “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (John 1:5). If we remember to call out to Jesus the instant we feel fear, the spirit of fear (which didn’t come from God) will back off. The Holy Spirit will be there to strengthen us so we can engage ‘the thing’ instead of ‘the fear of the thing.’
The next phrase of the verse says that instead of fear, God gives us a spirit of power. He’s reminding us that He’s powerful. That He has the ability to protect us from whatever people or circumstances we’re facing. We must be prepared to deal with the outcome, whether it turns out the way we think we want . . . or not.
Then He tells us He’s given us His spirit of love.
God is love. Perfect love. Scripture says, “Perfect love casts out fear.” Now we’ve taken a double dose of calm pills. We’ve realized the fear we’re feeling isn’t from God, we’ve called out to Jesus who’s replaced the darkness of fear with light and we know His perfect love will cast out our fear when it comes back. We’ve reframed our mindset from “Oh my God, what’s about to happen?” to “Oh my God, my Almighty God. My Heavenly Father. I know you love me. I know you’re here with me . . . I know You’re close. Please let me feel your presence.”
Finally, He provides “self-discipline” or “self-control” or “a sound mind.” He’s reminding us to ‘pause.’ To receive and grab hold of self-control as the gift it is. Not something we have to muster up, but something that comes when we pause. Turn to Him. Breathe. Pray. Put whatever it is on His altar. Trust Him with it. A sound mind calls us to do everything we can reasonably do to help ourselves and the people involved. But it’s futile to think our limited ability can prevent bad stuff from happening. The scope of bad stuff is just too large. We’ll wear ourselves out and waste our lives trying to manage outcomes that aren’t manageable . . . by me or any other human being. We use our sound minds to take reasonable precaution. We call on Jesus the instant we feel fear. And we rest in the confidence that our Heavenly Father loves us immensely and our prayer is that He’ll help us adapt our desires to line up with His. “Whatever you want Lord, that’s what I want. No matter how hard. How devastating. How painful. I trust you and I know you love me. So have thine own way, Lord . . . have thine own way.
That’s how we fight fear.
Scripture: So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)
Mentor Tip: Does one of your guys have a unique struggle with fear . . . maybe fear is getting the best of him? Call him. Or better yet, go see him. Make yourself available. Don’t worry about what to say, just pray for him and show up.
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