As Christians, we are told not to fear because we can have faith. But if you’re anything like me, you find it hard to know how to fight fear.
I mean, fear isn’t really something you want to feel. But so many of us have been through the grief and traumas and tragedies that leave us questioning our faith and wondering how we can live without fear.
I often think to Proverbs 31 as the way I want to live:
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. -Proverbs 31:25
How can I be joyful without fear of the future, without fear of loss or fear of pain?
In today’s post, I am going to give you a 3 step method I have used to fight fear. I will end with one of the most important things we can do in this battle against fear.
Do you struggle with overwhelming fear? Fear that gnaws at you? Fear that tries to keep you from the abundant peace that Christ offers?
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. -John 10:10
Satan wants to steal the peace and abundance that Christ offers you. He wants to destroy the faith that you can have and the hope and joy that can carry you through any hardship.
So today, let’s learn how to fight fear and find that abundance in Christ.
The first step to fighting fear is to recognize when it creeps in. Sometimes, it creeps in slowly, forming a web that deeply entangles your thoughts. But other times, it comes in with a loud bang, leaving you crippled and afraid.
You can begin to fight fear when you can recognize it at work.
Often times, we think that fear-filled thought is the first thought that is the problem. I have found this is far from true.
Many times, there is an original thought that begins far before you feel fear that leads you to the fear.
It takes time to learn to recognize these thoughts. I finally began to realize that it was when I let my mind wander through different thoughts or plans for certain things that these thoughts would lead to fear and anxiety.
It’s hard to stop these thoughts that our minds naturally wander through, but once I began to look for what thoughts were spurring on my anxiety, I began to recognize them.
Ask God to reveal these thoughts that are at the origin of fear. Try to recognize what thought always precedes your fear. What thoughts lead your mind down an unhealthy trail?
God doesn’t call us to a spirit of fear, but a spirit of self-control. This leads me to the next step.
Take Fear-Driven Thoughts Captive
Now that you have begun to recognize the thoughts that lead to fear, it’s time take those thoughts captive.
I struggle with this one because often, my fear-filled thoughts are based on realistic possibilities and things I feel I need to consider in order to stay safe.
But taking our thoughts captive does not mean we deny them completely.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. -2 Corinthians 10:5
Taking out thoughts captive means that we are bringing them to the light of Christ. We are no longer letting them run rampant or have control of our minds, but surrendering them to Christ.
This may sound like a lot of work and it is! It takes an immense amount of discipline and self control. It takes commitment and oftentimes accountability.
When you take your thoughts captive and surrender them to Christ’s direction, you will begin to see which thoughts are healthy and which are not. You will begin to see which thoughts are fear-driven and which are Godly.
And as you see more which thoughts are unhealthy, you will have the opportunity to stop those thoughts and replace them with Godly thoughts. This brings me to the third step.
Replace Fear-Driven Thoughts with Scripture
I used to think that when I had unhealthy thoughts, I could just simply stop them. But in trying to do this (just as it is with temptation or sin), it is impossible to just stop them. It leads to a cycle of guilt and shame and giving in.
It wasn’t until I learned that I needed to replace these thoughts that lead to fear that I began to find freedom.
The best way that I have found to replace fear-driven thoughts with faith is to memorize Scripture that I can easily recall and repeat in my mind.
The time that my mind is most vulnerable is at night. So when I notice my thoughts wandering, I recognize these thoughts as unhealthy, take them captive and make them obedient to Christ by surrendering them and then replace them with Scripture.
I repeat the Scriptures in my mind over and over, forcing out the fear-filled thoughts. And slowly my mind calms and I find peace.
But sometimes it is merely an act of obedience that doesn’t quite bring the feelings of peace.
That is okay though, because it is when we act in obedience in this way, that God begins to replace our fear with faith. It is when we act in obedience in this way that we train our mind and our heart where to go.
Train yourself in godliness. -1 Timothy 4:8
As you train yourself in this way, you will find peace and joy and hope. You will find freedom from chains. And you will experience the abundant life Christ offers.
If you feel that fear has the final say in your heart often, it may be time to take a step back and consider what thoughts are leading you there. It is possible to fight fear with faith.
As you learn how to fight fear, you will begin to find abundant joy, peace and hope.