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Friday, November 11, 2016

Defeating Fear

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV).

Doubt and fear make it difficult to believe that God is faithful. You become double-minded—wanting to believe yet questioning whether you can. The Word says that a double minded person should not expect to receive anything from God (James 1:7). You don't have to be double minded. You don’t have to be fearful. You can learn to capture your thoughts and make them obedient to God's Word. God does not want you timid and fearful. He wants you bold in His power, filled with His love that casts our fear, and able to discipline your own life.

Your first weapon to defeat fear is His power. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17, NIV).

His power—your armor—waits to be exercised. You have to put on each piece of armor to realize the full extent of God’s power. His truth will direct your life. His righteousness will purify your heart. Faith will increase your determination to believe Him. Sharing His love and the message of the Word will impart stronger faith to stand against the enemies’ lies. Each piece of the armor joined with all the other pieces increases God’s power in your life (Ephesians 6:14-17), and imparts the ability to persevere. Peter writes in 2 Peter 1 that you are to add good qualities for your faith to become effective and productive. “To your faith, add goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. If you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:6-8, NIV). When you allow perseverance to finish its work, you will be mature and complete, not lacking anything you need to defeat fear (James 1:4). With God’s love continually perfected from all the qualities that you have sought, you will be able to stand powerful and strong against any lie of the enemy.

What is the last quality that Peter mentions in 2 Peter 1:7?  It is love, but not just any love. It is His perfect love—the love of Calvary filling your heart, spirit, and soul. This is the second weapon that defeats fear. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18a, NIV). There is no room for fear in your life when His love has been perfected in you. When you lack nothing in your life (James 1:4)—when you are growing in your faith, you are in the process of being perfected (2 Peter 1:8). God's perfect love is your power to fight. Faith in God is what ultimately destroys fear and wipes it from your mind. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17). Your faith grows from hearing the Word and knowing the love of Christ .The spirit of fear may try to rise, but your shield of faith can be strong enough to stand against it (Ephesians 6:16). His love perfected in you always drives out fear. The love of God always wins.

Your last weapon against fear is self-discipline or self-control. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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 10:4-5, NIV). With the Holy Spirit empowering your life, you can take each thought captive. You choose to take your thoughts captive. You choose to believe in His faithfulness. Self-control is acquired and learned and practiced. The lies of the enemy can find no resting place in your mind when God's truth is known and applied.

Pray and study God's Word. As you realize your beliefs which are contrary to His Word, you can discern His truth and apply Peter’s good qualities to your faith. Faith grows and you have greater strength to defeat the spirit of fear that you have been unable to control. Fear is not meant to be master over you. You are not in bondage to it. You are under His grace.  Allow God to do what you can never do alone. With His power, His love, and a disciplined mind, you can walk free of fear. Seek Him. Place all of yourself upon His altar. Hold nothing back. Allow His Word to transform and renew your attitude—your thoughts—your mind (Romans 12:1-2, Ephesians 4:23). As you know Him more intimately, His perfect love will be more real than any fear. Faith will be your reality, and fear will be seen as the unrealistic lie of a defeated enemy.

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