5 Keys for Crushing Fear and Living in Peace
All you have to do these days is turn on the news, hop on social media, or take a look around to see that we are living in the midst of a culture of fear. It seems fear has become the driving force behind every decision we make (or that others are attempting to encourage us to make decisions based on fear), and we are being tossed about by it. But most of us don’t want to live fearful lives! If that’s you, try these 5 keys for crushing fear and living in peace.
Trish interviewed Katie J. Trent a couple of weeks ago and they discussed how to start the year without fear. You can listen to the podcast below but if you want to read the show notes and get all the links, head over to the article on our podcast website.
But the question is, why shouldn’t we make decisions based on fear? Why can fear be bad for us?
God allows us to feel fear as a way of keeping us safe. In other words, we need to know when we’re in danger so we can move to safety. So we can defend ourselves. But I don’t believe it’s biblical to live our lives in fear.
Why? Because the Bible states (in 2 Timothy 7) that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” In other words, fear can be healthy. It can alert us when we’re in danger and let us know we need to take steps to get to safety, but it shouldn’t be a way of life for us. It shouldn’t drive our decisions on a daily basis. Instead, we should depend on God to direct our daily actions.
There are reasons why we shouldn’t allow fear to be our daily companion. Here are some of them.
Keep in mind that there are lots (and lots!) of reasons why it’s bad to live in fear. These are just a few of them.
- Fear causes a strong physical reaction in your body. It causes stress hormones (like cortisol and adrenaline) to be released into the body. It increases blood pressure and heart rate. It diverts blood away from your heart and to your arms and legs to make it easier for you to fight or run for your life if necessary.
- Fear makes you less likely to use reasoning and more likely to act based on instinct. When you experience fear, the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that’s responsible for reason and judgment, is impaired.
- Fear can be fun (and that’s not always good). Do you love riding roller coasters? How about watching scary movies? Fear causes the brain to produce dopamine–which elicits pleasure. This response can cause you to actually enjoy being fearful, but it does not cause you to make good decisions when you’re afraid.
- Fear can keep you safe, but prolonged fear can actually cause you to make bad decisions. Prolonged fear and irrational fear can actually turn into a phobia.
- Fear can lead to chronic health problems. When you’re afraid, your body releases stress hormones that slow down (or shut down) bodily functions you don’t immediately need for survival. This includes slowing (or shutting down) the gut–which greatly affects your immune system.
Here are 5 keys to help us combat a culture of fear:
1. Stop partnering with the spirit of fear.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
Fear is not of God. It is a trap of the enemy used to control and destroy us. Partnering with fear perverts the truth. Eve did this in the Garden when she bought into the lie that God had withheld something good from her. That fear distorted her view of God and ultimately destroyed the intimacy she’d enjoyed with Him. When we allow ourselves to entertain fearful thoughts, they become beliefs that drive our behavior.
So, how do we combat fear?
2. Stand on truth.
The enemy wants us to partner with fear because, when we partner with fear, we buy into lies. But God has provided the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 3:17) to help us fight these battles. Read the Bible. Memorize and declare God’s truth over your situation, and fear will be cut off.
Depending on which Bible translation you use, you will find dozens to hundreds of verses that urge you not to fear. When you find yourself struggling with fear, I encourage you to do a word study in your own Bible and highlight all of the verses you find. God’s Truth will permeate your soul and strengthen your spirit. Here are just a few powerful truths to stand on:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3 NIV
“So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” – Genesis 50:21 NIV
“You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22 ESV
3. Spread love.
“Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” 1 John 4:18 NLT
Instead of reacting in fear, we need to learn to respond in love. Love always wins. When we feel like lashing out in frustration, we need to let love lead in its place.
4. Speak up.
“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11 NIV
Not only are we to take no part in evil, but we are also called to expose it. As Christians, we were created to lead. God commanded all of us to go into the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). So as believers, it’s essential for us to speak up and share the Good News. We have a responsibility to speak the truth in love, but what others do with that truth is on them (Ezekiel 33:1-6).
“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.” – Matthew 10:26 NLT
5. Step out in faith.
It’s time to stop partnering with fear and stand on Truth, to speak out against injustice and expose the schemes of the enemy—and, most importantly, to remind others of the Truth in love.
Fear kept the other disciples in the boat when Peter stepped out, and it paralyzed the army while David stood against Goliath. We have a choice to make each day. Will we partner with fear or step out in faith?
We were made for such a time as this (Esther 4:14)!
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 NKJV
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 NKJV
Katie J Trent is the author of the book, Dishing Up Devotions: 36 Faith-Building Activities for Homeschooling Families (Whitaker House). She is also a popular blogger, speaker, homeschool mama, and a Pinterest drop-out with a messy house and happy kids—most of the time. Katie lives in Arizona with her husband James and their two children. For more resources to grow your faith, strengthen your family, and simplify your homeschool, visit KatieJTrent.com. Connect with Katie on Instagram @KatieJTrent.
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