There are dozens of Scriptures in the Bible that we can use to overcome fear. Do you constantly find yourself living in fear? Do you find yourself making fear-based decisions, or do you feel crippled and paralyzed by fear in a way that prevents you from walking in peace?
Let’s dive into what exactly fear is, understand a spirit of fear, and discuss powerful ways we can pray against a stronghold of fear that robs us of joy and freedom in our lives.
Fear is a natural human emotion, and is part of the human experience. The dictionary defines it as “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger” (source).
We live in a very real world filled with hurt, pain, and danger. Our natural response to the threat of imminent danger is built within us to “fight” or “flight” a situation that may be harmful.
This is normal.
According to Medical News Today, our bodies physically react to the emotion of fear in these ways:
- Increased breathing and heart rate
- Blood vessels around vital organs dilate to receive more oxygen and nutrients
- The pituitary gland secretes adrenocorticotropic (ACTH) hormone into the blood
- The stress hormone cortisol is released in response to ACTH, which brings about a rise in blood pressure, blood sugar, and white blood cells
- Cortisol turns fatty acids into energy, which gets our muscles ready, in case the need arises to fight or flight a dangerous situation
But what about the times when we are fearful and there are no signs of imminent danger? What about the times when fear grips our bodies so deeply that we live in a constant state of high stress?
What about the times when fear cripples us to the core, and we are unable to live in true freedom, peace and joy?
If this is the case, we may be dealing with a spirit of fear.
What is a Spirit of Fear?
A spirit of fear comes from the Scripture in 2 Timothy 1:7,
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
I also like the King James version,
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
The Greek word spirit in this verse, pneuma, is used in several different ways in Scripture. It is used to describe the Holy Spirit, and is also defined as the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, and decides (source).
This word is also used when referring to evil spirits (source).
So this verse is saying God has NOT given us an evil, tormenting spirit of fear, dread, timidity, or cowardice.
Instead, we as believers in Christ have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us, who gives us the Spirit of love, power, and a sound mind.
The word sound mind (or self-discipline as translated in the NIV) means an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, self control, and discipline (source).
Through Christ, we have the power to walk in the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.
That means we have the power to control our thoughts and resist irrational fears and phobias that rob us of walking in the fruit of the Spirit.
We can use the Word of God to calm our anxious thoughts when they rise up within us.
This doesn’t mean that we will never experience fear.
But it does mean that we can actively choose to fear-less when we renew our minds according to the Word of God and walk in step with the Spirit of Truth.
Because perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)
What did Jesus Say about Fear?
There are many times when Jesus addressed fear while he was on earth. Jesus spoke to the disciples about a time when they would face persecution by others in Matthew 10:18.
He told his disciples to not be afraid, (though they would most certainly face imminent danger and persecution).
So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Matthew 10:26-28
When Jesus resurrected from the grave in Matthew 28, he appeared to the women at the tomb.
Then Jesus said to them,
“Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Jesus also spoke powerfully about fear and worry when he taught his followers to not worry about tomorrow’s needs.
If God knows that the birds of the air need food, and he clothes the flowers of the field with beauty and splendor, he will most certainly take care of us–his beloved children!
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32
Jesus speaks so tenderly to us in this passage, lovingly calling his followers (and us!) his “little flock”. Our Lord, the Great Shepherd, knows what we are in need of, and we can rest in the gentle, green pastures of his love and peace.
In the times when we walk through the terrifying valley of the shadow of death, where the threat of evil and danger lurk around us, we can rest assured that our Shepherd will hold us firmly in his arms.
Living with a Healthy Fear–the Fear of the Lord
The only type of fear that should guide and direct our lives is the fear of the Lord.
This is not a spirit of fear, but the fear of the Lord is mentioned several times in the book of Proverbs.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
The word fear in this passage in Hebrew means fear and terror, but it also means to reverence and respect God (source).
When we honor, reverve, esteem, and adore the One True and Living God, all other fears are put in proper perspective. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and almighty–is there anything too hard for him?
When we understand the powerful truth that God is love, that is why a spirit of fear must flee in His presence.
We serve a God who is BIGGER than any difficulty we will ever face on this earth. If God is for us, who can be against us?!
Instead of being held captive to a spirit of fear, let’s choose to walk in the awe and wonder of the fear of the Lord–trusting that our awesome God will hold us with his righteous right hand!
Practical Ways to Overcome Fear
Here are some practical ways we can deal with fear:
If fear raises our heart rate and cortisol levels, spend some time alone focusing on Scripture and practice taking deep breaths. Deep breathing can lower our heart rate and calm us down. Focus on the power of the Spirit of God, who breathes new life into our lungs each day!
Play Worship Music
As we quiet our hearts before God, we can focus on his grace, mercy and power by listening to worship music. When we lift up our God in worship, our thoughts are centered on him, and our fears will bow the knee to our awesome God!
Get Exercise and Drink Water
Many health publishers have proven that exercise helps reduce stress. When we keep our bodies healthy and active, that can give us a surge of energy and strength, and help us feel much better. And don’t forget to drink lots of water!
Meditate on Scripture
We can use the power we have through the Word of God to strengthen our souls, and sharpen our minds. We are not always able to control the fearful situations that come into our lives.
But when fear starts to creep in, let’s focus the power we do have to change our thoughts and attitudes through the power of God’s Word!
Overcoming a Spirit of Fear with Scripture
Here is a list of 12 Scriptures that we can use to overcome fear in our lives each day!
The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:3
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2
Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” Isaiah 44:8
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.” Isaiah 54:4
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. Psalm 3:6
Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Lord, I thank you that you are my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1) You are the anchor and powerful stronghold in my life, and because my hope is in you, I do not have to live with a spirit of fear.
Through your Holy Spirit, I have access to the fruit of the Spirit, and I can use self-control and a sound mind to focus my thoughts on you.
When I am afraid, help me to put my trust in you-in my God, whose word I will forever praise (Psalm 56:3). Thank you that there is no fear in love, but your perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18).
Because you are with me, I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side (Psalm 3:6). I will have no fear of bad news; my heart is steadfast, trusting in you (Psalm 112:7).
Your Spirit does not make me a slave to fear again; rather, your Spirit has adopted me as your daughter (Romans 8:15).
Help me to be strong and courageous, for you are with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9). In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Free Faith Over Fear Printable
We know that we as humans will naturally respond to difficult, stressful and dangerous situations through the emotion of fear. This does not mean, however, that we have to live in a state of constant fear or dread. This is what is defined as a spirit of fear.
Instead, we can choose to trust God in the midst of our situations, and rely on the power of God we have through the Holy Spirit to not live in fear.
I pray that these Scriptures encourage you, as you seek the Lord for comfort and strength to overcome fear!
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