"What are you so afraid of?"
I remember that question and the fear I felt as I got harnessed up for the first time to do a high ropes course adventure while vacationing in the Wisconsin Dells. Heights are not my friend. They never have been. Walking up to look over the railing on the 4th floor of the Mall of America. The pause at the top of a rollercoaster before the big drop. And walking on this narrow rope bridge in the Dells. Those are enough to make my legs a bit queasy and my palms sweat.
What are your fears?
We all have that thing we’re afraid of. That thing that makes our heart pound and our breathing rapid. And if you’re like me, there’s probably more than one thing you're afraid of. It's not just those bigger fears but the everyday ones that torment our minds when we least expect them. We live in a world where fear seems to surround us. To press in. And to even consume us.
The Devil likes to keep you afraid.
We live afraid because the “experts” on the news tell us that we should. From the reports of crime, violence, and disease to the talk of politics, food shortages, and natural disasters, they keep our minds more than occupied with worry. But more than what’s on the air for the evening news, there’s a liar whispering in our ears—24 hours a day 7 days a week—telling us to be afraid. The Devil likes to make us fret. Overwhelm us. Hurt us. And ultimately, paralyze us.
But Jesus says you don't have to walk afraid.
Jesus tells us to “fear not.” In fact, he doesn’t just say that once or twice, but rather 365 times in God's Word, the Bible. That’s enough times to remind ourselves once every single day of the year that we don't need to be afraid. That doesn’t even include all the other times in his Word when he talks about helping us, going before us, and being near to us.
Jesus says that we don't have to let fear cripple us. We don't have to answer the door when fear comes a-knockin. We don't have to let it take root in our hearts (see John 14:27).
It's okay to let go because Jesus is there to catch you.
When I did that high ropes course in the Dells, I didn’t need to be so afraid. Why? Because there was a secure harness and strong rope holding me if I should fall. If I made a misstep or lost my balance, I wouldn’t fall far because that harness and rope would catch me.
The same is true of Jesus. It may seem as though there is much to be afraid of. In fact, some days we may just want to curl up in a ball and cry because life is too much to bear. But did you know that at any moment it's okay to let go? Did you know that we can give it all up and put our fears in Jesus' hands? He is always there to catch us and hold us in his arms (see Isaiah 41:10). We don't have to walk afraid. We don't have to carry our burdens alone. If you let it, fear will take you hostage. But if you let Jesus, he will lead you to victory.
Consider five practical ideas for fighting your fears:
1. Remember the past and where you've been.
Think about all the times you've been afraid. Reflect on all the things you've fretted about. Now, perhaps a handful of those fears came true, but more often than not about 85% of the things we worry about never even happen. As you remember where you came from, think about all the times that Jesus has already carried you through. Reflect on all the times he helped you when you felt so afraid. Then, take time to thank him for how he will do it again. Use the past victories as reminders that you never walk alone.
2. Fight fear with Scripture.
Fear does not come from Jesus; it comes from the Devil. And more than anything, the Devil hates God's Word. What better way to make the Devil flee than to bathe our everyday lives in Scripture? Choose 5-10 verses that speak to your heart that help you combat fear. Write them down. Read them often. Memorize them. Say them out loud. Shout them from the rooftops. Pray them over your worries. Quote them whenever fear knocks on your door. Do whatever you gotta do.
If you are armed with God's Word, the Devil isn't going to loiter outside your door, and he's definitely not going to invite himself in for coffee.
If you're not sure which Scriptures to use, here's are just a few to get you started:
- Isaiah 43:2
- Psalm 56:3-4
- Isaiah 41:10
- Psalm 46:1
- John 14:27
- Psalm 27:1
- Deuteronomy 31:6
- Joshua 1:9
- Philippians 4:6-7
- Deuteronomy 3:22
3. Write down your fears and give them to Jesus - every single day.
Make a list of all the fears floating around in your mind. The first step to fighting your fears is acknowledging them. You can't fight your enemies of fear if you don't know who they are. Identify your fears and get them down on paper. This exercise alone can help you. Unloading fears from your mind begins to free up more healthy space to dwell on the positive. After writing them down, give them to Jesus in prayer every single day - or even multiple times a day. Release your grip. Let them go. Put them completely in his hands.
4. Do a prayer walk through your home and tell fear it's not welcome.
Walk through each room of your home and pray over it. This is the space where you do life. The good and the bad. The put-together and the not-so-put-together. The organized and the messy. The joys and the fears. Give Jesus this space where you do life. Welcome his presence into your space. Tell fear that it has no place there. That it has no hold on you and those you love. Claim victory from Jesus and kick fear out for good.
5. Always have a visual reminder.
Choose your favorite verse to fight fear and put it where you will see it often. Put it on your phone or the wallpaper of another device. Stick a verse to your fridge. Leave one on your car dash. Tape one to your bathroom mirror. Put one under your pillow. It's one thing to remember verses when we're afraid, but it's another to see them. When you surround yourself with the Word, it will begin to take root in your heart.
Stop fear right at your door!
I knew those ropes in the Dells would hold me and nothing would happen if I fell from that course, so why was I so afraid? It’s because fear was in my mind. I allowed it to enter and slowly (or quickly!) it began to take over.
It’s the Devil who puts that fear in your mind too, friend. He plants the seed of fear. It creeps in, grows, and takes over until you stop it dead in its tracks. You don’t have to let fear win. Jesus is the rope—the anchor—that holds you every step of the way. He was there in the past. He’s near to you now. And he will go before you into whatever it is that lies ahead.
Remember, fear won’t change the outcome of tomorrow. It will only steal your joy from today.
Jesus already knows the outcome of whatever it is you're worried about. So why fear when it’s all in his hands?
Just because fear shows up at your door doesn’t mean you need to greet it and welcome it inside. You don’t have to set the table, put on your best, or entertain it. You don’t have to smile and be a good host. Stop fear at the door. Tell fear it’s not welcome – not in your heart, not in your home, and not in your life - not today or ever!