Recent mass shootings in highly populated venues and situations such as sporting events, concerts, shopping centers, churches and schools have left many Americans with elevated levels of anxiety.
The randomness of the attacks against innocent people raises more questions than answers.
While these traumatic events might make us fearful — the truth is that as faithful people, we cannot let them become “strongholds” in our life.
We know we have a “stronghold” when something from our past is ruling the decision-making for our present and future.
Most fears are frauds.
They are not based on reality — and they cause us to make unhealthy, unwise, and often unholy decisions, which in turn make us unhappy.
I can think of at least eight reasons that a spirit of fear is a “fraud.”
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1.) Fear is godless. A spirit of fear is hopeless because it is godless. A spirit of fear compels us to look into the future and see only the worst possible outcome, ignoring that God will be there and likely has a different plan for our good.
This is what Jesus was driving at when He said, “Do not be anxious about your life … Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? … Why are you anxious? … O you of little faith! … Do not … be worried” (Lk. 12:22-29).
2.) Fear is a false prophecy. A false prophet is a person who predicts a future that never happens.
When we’re ruled by fear rather than faith, we become false prophets in our own lives — predicting a hopeless future that does not come to pass.
3.) Fear makes us selfish. When fear grips us, we think solely of ourselves — even when others need us to act on their behalf.
4.) Fear makes us ineffective. When fear drives us, we can be so scared of failing that we become paralyzed — and do not do the things God asks of us.
5.) Fear causes us to lose touch with reality. Fear becomes the lens through which we magnify all of the negative data we focus on in our lives.
Eventually we start imagining things that aren’t real — and let fears drive us to a life of isolation and pointless worry.
6.) Fear causes us to seek to “be” God. The devil’s first temptation was for us to “be like God.” We can become obsessed with information in an effort to be all-knowing like God — and predict the future.
We can also become obsessed with controlling the future to get the results we want and avoid the results we do not want — rather than accepting God’s will for our lives.
This is an attempt at sovereignty.
7.) Fear is a thief. Jesus spoke of the thief who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Fear steals our joy, hope, and health. Fear also kills the heart, soul, mind, and strength.
8.) Fear makes us double-minded and unstable. When fear grips us — we are often torn between obeying the spirit of fear and obeying the Spirit of God.
The ongoing feeding of unfounded fear starves our faith and causes us to become ungodly.
How do we feed our faith and starve our fear?
One particular section of Scripture is perhaps most helpful here; it happens to be my life verse: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:4-7).
With God’s help, it is possible for all of us to overcome our fears — even in the most uncertain times.
Grace Driscoll has been in ministry for her entire life, first as a pastor’s daughter, now as a pastor’s wife. She is a mother of five children, all serving at The Trinity Church, which they planted as a family ministry. She co-authored “Real Marriage” and oversees a women’s ministry. Her public relations degree was put to use when she joined her husband, Mark Driscoll, in talking about Jesus on “The View,” “Fox &Friends,” and other programs. This article is based on “Win Your War: Fight in the Realm You Don’t See for Freedom in the One You Do,” which she co-wrote with her husband.
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