I watch the news and listen to the new round of restrictions. They closed schools in our state for three weeks and then doubled it to six weeks a few days later. Now that tests are available, the number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise.
It’s a pandemic. And here I thought I’d only ever experience that in the board game my family enjoys playing on family game night. The goal is to work together to cure the virus on every continent before there are too many outbreaks. We have a decent percentage of wins in the game, so why does it feel like we’re losing in real life?
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear…2 Timothy 1:7
That’s right. This fear that’s creeping over everyone is not from the Lord.
But that doesn’t make it wrong, per se. It does mean that we need to find a way to stop it from taking root in our hearts and minds and ruling our lives. And guess what? God gave us a three-step plan for doing it.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind2 Timothy 1:7
A Sound Mind
Information. More specifically, we need accurate information. Not hype. Not Facebook memes. Not unfounded rumors and fake news.
Here’s the thing, if we have access to the Internet we can get the real information. In fact, I’ll put the link to the WHO website here. Or you can click on the graphic (also from them) to get more information.
In these days of easy access to information, we don’t need to be uniformed. As the Apostle Paul told Timothy in his second letter (quoted above), a sound mind is necessary for defeating a spirit of fear.
Did you notice I started with the last thing Paul mentioned? That’s right. I’m looking at these three steps in reverse order because that’s how my fear works. It feeds off the unknown. It makes me feel powerless, so I have a hard time accepting that God has given me a spirit of power. A brain? That I know I have, and I know how to use it to sort facts and draw conclusions.
What about you? Are you going to let fear rule you? Why not gather some facts and let information put things in perspective instead?
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.1 John 4:18
A few years ago, I chose dauntless as my word of the year, and I used this verse from the first letter the Apostle John wrote as my theme verse. I had heard a preacher say some time before that, “Hate is not the opposite of love. Fear is.” And he used this verse to support that.
And I don’t know if I agree. To me, faith is the opposite of fear. Fear says, “I don’t believe God is in control of THIS situation. I’m in big trouble and there’s no help.” On the other hand, Faith says, “I’m scared, but I know God is control of everything. He’s on my side. Nothing will happen to me without His permission, and if this gets as bad as I fear, He will carry me through.”
But I do know that love and fear can’t coexist. And if God is love (1 John 4:8), then it isn’t much of a stretch to deduce that if I’m living in fear, I’ve banished God from my heart and mind. He’s become that one knocking at the door, wanting to come in a bless me (Revelation 3:20).
The first step to defeating fear is to arm yourself with facts, and the second step is to bury yourself in love, most especially God’s love.
The reason I saved power for last is because fear robs us of strength. But the good news is that God gives us a spirit of power. In fact, His Spirit empowers us.
But in order to access that fully charged and everlasting source of power, we have to plug into it. Faith is the conduit, but the real power comes from God’s Word.
Words are powerful. God’s Word is more powerful than any other. In fact, His Word is sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12) and mighty enough to create the world from nothing (Hebrews 11:3).
Furthermore, we have God with us in the form of the Holy Spirit. He comforts us and guides us, but sometimes He has to correct our thinking first. We have full access to Almighty God through prayer, and He promises that the prayer of faith can move mountains.
Please take these three steps today. Don’t let fear derail your life. Instead, claim God’s promise to derail it through power, love and a sound mind.
What other promises from God quench your fear in these troubled times?