Fear has many negative repercussions in our life. Most fears are not based upon reality and cause us to make unhealthy, unwise and often unholy decisions, which in turn make us unhappy. When fear grips us, we are often torn between obeying the spirit of fear and obeying the Spirit of God.
Here are five ways to feed your faith and starve your fears based upon Philippians 4:4–7.
- Focus one eye on each track.
Most people think of life as being a series of good and bad seasons. But life is more like train tracks with good and bad happening congruently. When troubles, temptations and trials come, we tend to see only the bad track. We need to practice the discipline of also seeing the good track where bad things are happening. This is why Philippians instructs us to "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice" (4:4) and to respond with thanksgiving (4:6). There is always something to be fearful of and always something to be thankful for.
- Make your will your rudder.
Your emotions are like a sail. They drive your life. When filled with fear, your emotions are like a sail in a hurricane. Imagine a sailboat in a hurricane with no rudder. When filled with fear, many people are like that. So when anxious and fearful, let your reasonableness be known to everyone (Phil. 4:5). Reasonableness means making wise, faith-filled decisions that drive you forward into God's will. This is the opposite of being unreasonable and allowing your emotions and circumstances to steer you toward rocks that will sink you. Your mind must be your rudder.
- Replace panic with prayer.
When a spirit of fear comes over us, our first response is often panic. Some people even experience panic attacks. Our mind races with all of the possible dangers. Sometimes these fears are legitimate, but often they are lies. Rather than panic, we should pray. Freaking out is not a spiritual gift; faith is. Panic helps nothing, but prayer helps everything. To remind us to replace panic with prayer, Philippians 4:6a (ESV) tells us, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication ..." When we pray instead of panic, it transfers the burden to God and allows Him to be our lightning rod. It also allows you to process verbally but privately. Before you talk to anyone, talk to God alone.
- Tell the Father what you want.
Sometimes we ask God, "What do You want?" and God replies, "I was going to ask you the same question." In a season of fear when what we want and don't want needs to be clarified, it is reasonable to tell God what we want and see what He says. Let your requests be made known to God (Phil. 4:6)." Jesus does the same thing when He asks someone, "What do you want me to do for you?" Sometimes God's will is to ask you for the desires of your heart.
- Enjoy God's presence and peace.
Fear can cause us to feel overwhelmed. In Philippians 4:5–7, we were told, "Do not be anxious about anything" because "the Lord is at hand." For those who choose faith over fear, "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Like a soldier. God will guard the emotional life of our hearts and the thought life of our minds if we stand with Him against the spirit of fear, which is an act of spiritual warfare. It is not the absence of trouble that brings peace but the presence of God. This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Light drives out darkness, truth drives out lies, and the Spirit of God drives out the spirit of fear.
This article was adapted from Win Your War: Fight in the Realm You Don't See For Freedom in the One You Do (Oct. 2019) by Mark and Grace Driscoll.
Mark Driscoll has been preaching through books of the Bible as a senior pastor and husband of Grace for more than two decades. He has authored over a dozen books, including Spirit-Filled Jesus and Who Do You Think You Are? Pastor Mark has a bachelor's in speech and a master's in exegetical theology, and he is one of the most respected and downloaded Bible teachers of his generation.
Grace Driscoll has been in ministry her entire life as a pastor's daughter and then a pastor's wife. She is the mother of five children, all walking with Jesus and serving at The Trinity Church, which they planted as a family ministry. She coauthored Real Marriage and oversees the Flourish women's ministry. Her public relations degree was put to use when she joined Mark talking about Jesus on The View, Fox and Friends and Loveline.
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