Tree of Life Church, London

Overcoming the Spirit of Fear

Dealing with Fear

How do you handle fear?  This is one of the most vital questions we need to answer in this day and age.  Some people are terrified of being sick – cancer, heart disease, even bird flu.  Other people are scared that they will not have the money to meet the bills.  Some people are just scared of failing in life and never achieving anything worthwhile.  Fear is spread through the media – fear of war, fear of epidemics, and fear of shortages.

The world is desperate to know how to deal with fear and has come up with many, many methods to deal with fear.  The Bible only gives us one method – GET RID OF FEAR!

That’s right – the Bible actually tells us to live a life with no fear.  People hear that and tell you “this is unrealistic”.  They will even tell you that a little fear is healthy.  That is simply not Biblical – fear is not healthy at all.

2 Timothy 1.7 says “God has not given us a spirit of fear”.   Fear does not come from God, so as Christians we should reject all fear at all times.

What is Fear?

Fear is simply perverted faith.   It is faith in the wrong thing.  If you are afraid of a snake, you have a stronger belief that the snake can hurt you, than you have a belief that God can protect you.  If you are afraid of an electric bill or the price of petrol rising, you have more faith in the devil than God’s Word because God says “I will provide all your needs” (Philippians 4.19).

Fear is to have more faith in what something can do to hurt you than in God’s ability to protect you, heal you, guide you and overcome problems and troubles in your life.

Worry is a form of fear.  Worry is perverted meditation.  Worry is thinking about the negative lies of the devil, and not thinking about God’s Word.  Romans 10.17 says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  Fear comes by hearing too – hearing the lies of the devil.

Listen to the devil? Me?

Have you ever watched secular news?  It is all doom and gloom.  We watch for a few hours and think “what is the world coming to?”  And even preachers are in on the act – telling us how thinks are getting darker, more ungodly, things are getting worse.

This is simply not true – Jesus said the gospel of the kingdom will be preached to all the nations before the end.  Yes, if you focus on the world things are getting darker and worse.  But if you look with faith at the church, it is getting better.  People are getting saved in larger numbers than ever before, people are getting full of the Holy Spirit, healed, transformed in a way that has never happened in such large numbers.  Listen – no government, no politician, no preacher, and no man is going to dictate the end of the world.  The devil does not get to wrap up this age – the gospel will wrap up this age!

There is coming a move of kingdom life to the church – it was not our idea, it was God’s idea.  But God is inviting you to take part in it.  And God wants you to enjoy life – and life without fear.

Peace, not Fear

In John 14.27 Jesus tells us that he gives us his peace.  And then he tells us – do not be afraid.  Over 300 times the Bible commands us “DO NOT FEAR.”  This is NOT an optional extra.  We must get rid of fear.  Fear is the root of every kind of bondage – every addiction that someone has is rooted in fear.

Look at smoking for an example – think what happens when you tell a smoker to give up smoking.  There response is generally one of fear: “how can I live without them?”  Fear of not having is the strength of that addiction.  Alcoholics do not admit their problem because they are scared of not having their drink. 

The spirit of fear is behind the entire homosexual rights movement – people are scared of not getting what their flesh demands.  In fact, behind any habitual sin, there is a fear: fear of not having access to that sin any more.

I know people are scared about getting up in the morning and facing a new day – but Jesus wants you to life in peace.  Jesus has come to break and destroy every single fear. 

How Do I Break Free?

You command it to leave in Jesus’ name.  Fear listens to a Christian, because a Christian has authority.  It didn’t come from God, so you don’t have to receive it.  You tell fear to leave in Jesus’ name.  You cannot have a truce with fear – it will just get stronger and stronger.  Eventually fear will take over all your thinking, all your words and all your actions.  People in sin are strange – they are not happy in their lifestyle.  But they will commit themselves to convincing you to join them in their unhappiness.  The root of this is fear.  Fear is in charge of their mouth, minds and actions.

Fear is dangerous because fear leads to commitment.  If someone starts having an affair, their fear of being found out – of giving up on the situation, leads to them continuing in the affair.  If someone is scared of living without cigarettes, they are now committed to smoking.

You have to understand the process as you need to stop it working.  Fear enters as an emotion, leads to a thought process, and then develops as an action.  If the actions are repeated, fear becomes a lifestyle. 

Replace Fear with Love

1 John 4.18 says perfect love drives our fear.  What you must do is change the way you think.  Whenever a thought of fear or worry enters your mind, you have to command it to leave.  But, you cannot leave your mind empty.  Your mind cannot stay empty – it will be like a vacuum: it will suck something into it if you try.

You must fill your mind with thoughts of love.  How much God loves you.  How you can act in love to other people.  In 1 Cor. 16.15 there is an account of an individual who is devoted to serving the saints.  The word for devotion simply means addicted.  This person was not addicted to smoking or drugs, or pre-marital sex, or watching soap operas.  They were addicted to serving God’s people.  Can you imagine being around someone who only got their fix by serving people? 

Addicted to Love

If you can continue thinking about God’s love for you, and reject all negative thoughts and all negative pictures in your mind, you can develop an addiction to the Word of God, to fasting, to prayer, to living the faith life.   If you realise that fear leads to commitment, you should also realise that faith in something leads to commitment to that as well.  If you believe the Word of God will change your life for the better you will never put it down.  You will meditate on the Word, speak the Word, think the Word and act the Word all the time.  Faith draws you to commitment. 

(The problem is many Christians try and change their behaviour or break their addictions without dealing with the underlying fear in their mind, and they will struggle and fight without success until they start changing their thinking.  If they change their thinking, action change is effortless.)

Radical Christianity

Some Christians do not want to be that committed.  They are afraid of becoming a radical Christian because of peer pressure and because their flesh does not want to pay the cost.  “Sunday is enough church for me” they say, not realising that living for Jesus 24-7 is actually more enjoyable than living a half-and-half Christian-carnal lifestyle!

Some Christians are scared of giving their all to God because they are afraid of God.  They have been told by some person who should know better that God has a big stick and is out to punish people.  That God has a fistful of tests.  That God will make you sick to teach you a lesson.  It’s all not true.  No! No! No!

God is a good God!  Listen – never forget this, and never let anyone persuade you otherwise: GOD LOVES YOU.  You can trust God.  All the time!

Isaiah 54.8 says that God is not angry with you.  Get that inside your thinking.  God is not mad at you.  It is not God making you sick.  It is not God killing your children.  It is not God giving you financial problems.  It is not God causing your trouble.  God is the hero.  God is good.  The devil is the thief, the liar and the killer (John 10.10).

Religion Messes You Up

Religion will mix up God and the devil and you won’t know what is what.  God is good and the devil is bad.  It is that simple.  God good.  Devil bad.  And good means good.  You never have to be afraid of God, He is your Father and you are in His family.

Isaiah 54 goes on to say that “You shall be far from oppression, you shall not fear.”  Fear leads to oppression.  Fear is the source of all oppression and bondage.  If you watch horror movies or films that are designed to produce fear, you are opening yourself up to oppression.

Fear activates death in your life.  Death is linked to fear, life is linked to faith.  Life needs faith – faith is the only way you can please God (Heb. 11.6).  Faith activates life around you.  The woman with the issue of blood was told by Jesus her faith had healed her.  If you have faith, life surrounds you.  The sick get healed, needs are met, relationships are restored.  Fear drains your faith and makes it difficult to walk by faith.  So let your faith rule your fear, and walk in unlimited life and abundance.

Oppression is Bad

Acts 10.38 says Jesus healed the oppressed.  Sickness is a form of oppression.  If you are sick, it hangs around you like a burden.  It doesn’t make your life easier, it makes it harder.  Fear leads to oppression, and fear can lead to sickness.  Cancer terrifies many people.  Some time ago in the UK there were adverts saying that 1 in 3 people get cancer.  They were designed to raise money for a cancer charity.  I am sure the people who designed the adverts had good motives, but essentially they were scaring people.  Some people are scared because loved ones had cancer, and it is a horrible thing to go through.

However, the devil cannot make you sick without fear.  If you walk in the Word and refuse fear, you can walk in divine health.  It works with the common cold as well – you are called to be an imitator of Christ and he isn’t snotting and sniffing all over the place so command that cold to leave you now i Jesus’ name and expect it to leave!

I’m Not Scared of the devil

Without fear, the devil can do nothing.  I’m not scared of the devil – he is scared to me.  Samson killed 1000 people with the jawbone of an ass.  I have that weapon too, and I use it to bring life and health and healing to people by preaching.  Let me tell you:

God said “Fear not”

Jesus said “Let not your heart be afraid”

Paul said “Do not be afraid of your enemies”

Isaiah said “You shall not fear”

The Antidote to Fear

The antidote to fear is love.  You can life free from fear.  1 John 4.18 says perfect love casts out fear.  You don’t need to be a genius – you can live free from fear if you walk in love.  It is that simple.  It doesn’t need great effort, it simply needs you to decide that you are going to deal with fear and never give up and never quit.

Fear torments you; fear oppresses you.  Fear makes you surrender to evil things.  Love deals with fear.  God hates fear, because you are God’s child and He does not want you tormented.

“But I’ve been praying” you say “and the fear is still there.”  That is because praying doesn’t cast out fear.  Perfect love casts our fear.  1 John 2.5 says love is keeping the Word of God.  Fear only comes because we don’t keep the Word.

Keeping the Word

You keep the Word by reading it and doing it.  That is all – put it first place in your life (Proverbs 4.21).

Hold your Bible in the air now and say this out loud:

This is the Word of God.  It is God speaking to me.  I believe it!  I receive it as quickly as I would receive the word of a highly trusted friend.  This is my Bible.  I am what it says I am.  I can do what it says I can do – with the Spirit of God in me.  I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. I am a believer.  I am not a doubter.  I am the righteousness of God in Christ.  I am a new creature in Christ Jesus.  Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.  I sit at God’s right hand on the throne with Jesus.  I am healed by Jesus’ stripes.  I am delivered.  My needs are met according to His riches in glory.

Say it a dozen times a day if you need to.  Drive out the fear.  Stop pacing the floor with worry and start pacing the floor with the Word of God in your heart and in your mouth.  The Word is the most precious thing on earth – feed on it, get addicted to it.  Stop meditating on the lie and meditate on the truth.  You are never again going to be moved by sight or feelings; you are going to walk by faith in the Word.  Whatever situation you are in, you can deal with it without fear.  Never be happy to live with fear – cast it out.

Fear not!

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