Do We Live in a Spirit of Fear or Spirit of Freedom?
When the Events of Our World Cause Us to Be Afraid, God Provides the Antidote
We live in a time where there is much to fear. Whether by mandate or out of personal concern, we cower in our homes afraid of what is happening in the world around us. We sequester ourselves and exist with little community to encourage us. Aside from those we live with, we are alone.
Though we anticipate this time of isolation is but for a season, we know not how long this season will last. It could continue for weeks, or it could persist for months. Or it could morph into our new normal.
In addition to concerns about health, many also carry concerns about finances. Too many have ceased working and wonder how they will pay their bills or have enough food to eat. It seems there is indeed much to worry about.
But worry is the world’s perspective. As followers of Jesus we must look to him for our future and not let the influence of the world dictate our outlook.
A Spirit of Fear
In the Bible, Paul writes to his protégé Timothy that the spirit of fear does not come from God (2 Timothy 1:7). If fear doesn’t originate with God, then it must come from someplace else: our adversary, the devil. Satan wants to foment fear within us. He desires to hold us captive, keeping us from living the life of freedom God would have us to live (consider Proverbs 12:25).
Though fear is a normal response to the unknown and to pressures outside of our control, as followers of Jesus we shouldn’t give in to that fear. Holding onto a spirit of fear has no place in our lives. We should cast our fears (our cares) on Jesus because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
Through God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, we do not need to quake in fear. Instead we have power, supernatural power. We don’t wield this on our own but through Jesus (Luke 24:49). If we follow Jesus, he provides us with all the power we need to overcome any fear that may beset us.
In addition to Holy Spirit power, we carry with us the love of God. Through God’s love we can respond to adversity, helping those we can and loving them in the name of Jesus (Matthew 10:40-42).
Through the Holy Spirit, we also have a sound mind. Other translations render this phrase as discipline, self-discipline, self-control, sound judgment, or wise discretion. Let’s claim all these understandings as the Holy Spirit’s provision to us so that we may live a life not controlled by fear, which dictates irrational behavior. Instead he equips us to make sound judgments and not panic in the midst of the world’s anxiety (check out 2 Corinthians 10:5, Colossians 3:2, 1 John 4:4, and Philippians 4:8).If God is on our side, who can oppose us? Click To Tweet
A Parting Question about a Spirit of Fear
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he asks them a rhetorical question: “if God is on our side, who can oppose us?” (Romans 8:31). We will do well to ask ourselves the same question.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.