One of the most effective strategies of the enemy is fear.
We’re not talking about what psychologist have labeled as “healthy fear,” the signal that alerts us when something is wrong or restrains us from doing something risky. God designed our brains to warn us when there is possible danger so that we may respond appropriately. This gift from God is valuable and we want to utilize it!
We’re talking about the spirit of fear (2Timothy 1:7). That insidious creature from Hell whose sole purpose is to derail our journey into the heart of Father God and prevent us from experiencing all He has for us. The goal of fear is to divert our attention away from God by causing us to focus on our circumstances, drawing our attention to the negative and suggesting dreadful possibilities.
It paints with broad strokes stirring up fear-based emotions causing us to feel afraid, worried, stressed, anxious, angry, frustrated, and insecure. As it erodes our trust in God and steals our peace, we are left feeling paralyzed as we struggle to walk in faith, joy, and hope. Its effects can be devastating, crippling our spiritual growth and development.
While fear is relentlessly vicious, it’s also very predictable.
That means we can be familiar with the enemy’s schemes and methods (2Corinthians 2:11). By becoming aware of the tactics fear uses, we can more effectively deal with its attacks. Here’s some typical tactics fear often employs.
Tactic: Fear points to facts instead of Truth. It looks at the doctor’s report, what statistics say, and the amount in our bank account. It repeatedly draws our attention to what is happening instead of what God has said and is saying about what is happening.
Tactic: Fear exaggerates details. It will magnify the negative and blow it out of proportion making our circumstances seem impossible and problems insurmountable. It presents the worst-case scenario, enticing you to make fear-based decisions.
Tactic: Fear lies. It suggests alarming possibilities for non-existent situations. It tells us things will never change, we can never change, and we are trapped and hopeless. It says God doesn’t, can’t or won’t provide, and has abandoned us causing us to feel rejected and alone.
We could list more; the enemy’s methods are vast and varied. And, each one is customized to fit the life of the individual for maximum impact. Fear knows which facts to focus on, details to exaggerate and lies to tell in order to cause derailment. It knows how to push our buttons.
This is precisely why our Father repeatedly assures us of His Presence.
He is faithful to reminds us that we don’t have to be intimidated by fear or be afraid. Listen to our Father’s heart as He declares His commitment to us.
- Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)
- For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you’. Isaiah 41:13 (NLT)
- Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”’ Isaiah 43:1-2 (NLT)
This is the heart of a good Father— a loving Father, an attentive Father.
He is reassuring His children, telling us exactly where He is and what He’s doing so that no matter what fear says or how our emotions respond, we can be at rest. He is saying it over and over so that we are comforted by His words.
Knowing this – becoming intimately acquainted with this Truth – enables us to live in the security of His Presence; the place of shelter where fear cannot torment us. Knowing this enables us to say with confidence, I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; (Psalm 34:4-5 NLT)
Fear will not relent. But we don’t have to be shaken whether it whispers its cold, calculated lies or screams in the tempest. We can withstand the onslaught of fear because our Father covers and protects us with His feathers (Psalm 91) and we don’t have to be afraid of anything – real or imagined.