// Craig W. Hagin
THERE ARE ALL KINDS of phobias today. Some common fears are walking across a bridge, being in a high place, and being in an enclosed space (claustrophobia). Unfortunately, far too many Christians are filled with fear.
Second Timothy 1:7 says, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (NKJV). If God hasn't given us a spirit of fear, it should be obvious that fear comes from the devil.
As Christians, we should never allow fear into our lives. If we're fearful of something, we're giving place to the devil in that area. And if we're fearful, it's because we really don't know our God. We don't know how much He loves us—or that He is big enough and strong enough to take care of everything for us.
If we're in a situation where we don't know what to do, fear is not the correct response. God never wants us to panic. But He doesn't want us to try and figure out what to do either. He wants us to trust Him.
What Fear Is
In looking up the definition of fear, some people go to the Greek and Hebrew. Me, I went to a thesaurus.
Synonyms of fear include "anxiety, despair, dismay, doubt, dread, panic, suspicion, uneasiness," and "worry."* These are things we experience when we're fearful.
If God hasn't given us a spirit of fear, then He's given us the opposite of it. What is that? Some people would immediately say faith. Although this is correct, faith is only one opposite of fear. Some other antonyms, or opposites, of fear include "assurance, calmness, confidence, contentment, trust, courage," and "unconcern."* God has not only given us faith, He's given us the power to be confident. We can know that regardless of what we're facing, we don't have to be afraid. We can trust in God.
Second Timothy 1:7 also says that God has given us a spirit of power. A lot of times people think about power in relation to a power plant. According to Thesaurus.com, synonyms of power include "capability, potential, skill, talent, effectiveness," and "endowment."* God has given us ability. He's given us the ability to overcome the devil.
The devil whispers in our ears antonyms, or opposites, of the word ability. Satan will use words like "inability, incompetence, lack," and "weakness."* He'll say things like, "You're a failure," "You're a loser," "You're not good enough," or "You're not strong enough." He tries to convince us that there's no way we can make it.
We can never defeat the devil in our own strength. But God is strong, and through Christ we're strong. God has given us the power, ability, and influence to go out and make it in life.
The second thing God gave us in Second Timothy 1:7 is love. Love is the essence of Christianity. We've been given two rules to follow: Love God and love people. Scripture tells us if we don't love people, we can't love God. If God is love and we're made in His image, love should be something we always have.
Synonyms for love include "appreciation, devotion, fondness, friendship, respect," and "tenderness."* Words escribing the opposite of love include "dislike, enmity, hatred, indifference, neglect, apathy," and "unhappiness."*
God wants us to love people. We may not like what someone does, but Scripture tells us to love them. They might be deceived when it comes to theology or life, but Jesus cares about them. Instead of hating them, we should feel sorry for them, because they're letting the devil dominate their lives.
A Sound Mind
The third thing Second Timothy 1:7 says that God gave us is "a sound mind." Peace is another word for sound mind. Synonyms for the word peace include "accord, friendship, love, reconciliation," and "unity."*
The opposite of peace is "disagreement, hatred, discord, distress, frustration, upset," and "worry."* A lot of times our minds are not filled with peace. We worry about everything. "How are we going to pay the bills?" "How are we going to do this or do that?"
We're always trying to figure out how we're going to get out of our dilemma. Peace comes when we trust God. Paul told Timothy in Second Timothy 1:6 to stir up the gift of God on the inside of him. You see, we already have the power and ability to come against whatever Satan's trying to do. When we stir up the gift on the inside of us, we can tap into love, peace, power, and everything else we need.
In the midst of adversity, we have to remind ourselves of what Christ did on the cross and what has been given to us. If we don't focus on what we have in Christ, our thoughts will be on what the devil is throwing at us. This is when we lose sight of what God can do for us.
Sometimes we get to the point where we can't take it anymore. My advice is to quit taking it and start trusting God.
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I think we put too much emphasis on the "I" and forget about what God can do. Technically, we can do all things "because of God." I like to say this verse like this: "God can do all things through me because of Christ." This way, the emphasis is on God and not on me.
Peter tells us to "cast our cares on the Lord" (1 Peter 5:7). It's a good indication that we haven't done this if we're staying up all night thinking about a problem! Fear comes in when we hold on to stuff and try to figure out how we're going to make it through.
Decide to Let It Go
God wants to handle our cares, but He can't if we're holding on to them. Many of us are used to working things out ourselves. But Jesus didn't die on the cross so we would have to figure everything out. When it comes to God, we've got to let go. When He has all of our cares, we can enter into His rest and watch Him turn our situation around.
*Each word list comes from Thesaurus.com. Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition. Philip Lief Group 2009.
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