I have never felt so tempted to withdraw and toss a blog post draft as much as I have felt inclined to bury this blog post since it was conceived many weeks ago. As media reports of the COVID-19 epidemic ramped up and the situation got upgraded to a global pandemic in March, there have been flood waves of messages on the news and social media urging us not to fear. I thought, do I really need to write another article on fear? I surmised that more seasoned Christian leaders and counselors have articulately conveyed that we need to kick fear to the curb, stand firm, and be steadfast in prayer.
However, as the days, weeks and months go by, and the US and global statistics on the number of COVID-19 cases and death keeps growing, I realize that many people around the world are gravely concerned, dealing with sudden jolts of fear, or at worse being paralyzed by the spirit of fear. I humbly share a few practical ways for you to deal with either sporadic feelings of fear or at worse, a full onslaught by the spirit of fear not just during the current global pandemic, but in any season of life.
- Nip it in the bud as soon as possible. Repent for being fearful because living a lifestyle of harboring fear does not please God (Revelations 21:8, KJV). As a child of God, you must first recognize that fear is a spirit, and it is not of God but of the devil (2 Timothy 1:7). It’s a crippling spirit and you need to reject and resist it every time the enemy throws fear at you like a grenade. Resist the devil and his tool (spirit of fear) with the word of God (James 4:7, Revelations 12:11).
- Speak the word. Speak to the spirit of fear like a personality and tell it to depart from you. Jesus was a role model for this type of in-your-face, verbal resistance when he told the devil to depart from him when he was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:10). Take authority over your environment and guard your heart by letting fear know it is an unwelcome guest. Remember that death and life are in the power of your tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Instantly make verbal confessions that are contrary to the negative feelings bombarding your mind. Don’t be passive or mute in dealing with the spirit of fear, positive verbal confessions and scripture confessions are crucial.
- Get away from the fear-inspiring situation. Fear is an oppressive and aggressive spirit. Don’t binge on negative news, 24-hour cable news, or keep company with the wrong crowd. I encourage you to walk away, by unplugging yourself from the situation/person(s) stirring up fear in you. Remember, when you are facing a formidable enemy that outmatches you by every humanly imaginable yardstick, the battle is not yours, the battle is the Lord’s (2 Chronicles 20:15). Turn off your TV, electronic devices, or other sources of information that persistently inspire fear in you.
- Pivot from a mindset of fear to positive thoughts. As you mount a counterattack on the spirit of fear by rejecting and resisting it, refocus your thoughts and attention on your God (SOVEREIGN, FAITHFUL, LOVING, GOOD, MERCIFUL, KIND, GRACIOUS, GENTLE), and his promises for you as stated in his word. Think only positive thoughts (Philippians 4:8). Remember your testimonies from times past when God answered your prayers, even at the midnight hour when you thought all hope was lost. If he did it then, He will surely come through again.
- Praise and worship God, then do it again and again. Emerging evidence from neuroscience shows that people who regularly pray and worship experience quantitative positive changes in specific neural circuits of their brain and a boost in their immune systems that helps to prevent diseases (The Effect Of Worship On The Brain And General Health). Check out Dr. Caroline Leaf’s message to learn more about the instant neurological changes a believer experiences by worshiping God. In the face of formidable enemies, King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah deployed praise as a weapon (2 Chronicles 20:21). Singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God with a thankful heart (Colossians 3:16c, NLT), will neutralize the threat posed by the enemy called the spirit of fear.
- Pray at all times, even when you don’t feel like it. We also overcome the spirit of fear by praying ceaselessly, praying with understanding, and praying in the spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:17, 1 Corinthians 14:15). When faced with fear, you can turn the table around by praying in faith for yourself, your family, your community, your nation, and the world.
I pray for God’s rich mercies for you, your family, communities and our world in the face of many threats in this season – fear, sickness, death, stress, hysteria, poverty, financial crisis, etc. May the peace of God that surpasses all understanding guard your heart and mind and may you experience how wide, deep, long, and high the love of God is for you. Be rest assured that God is sovereign and remains in total control of our lives and the world (Psalm 103:19, 1 Chronicles 29:11-12). All he wants from you is that you repent, surrender your life to Jesus, and live in obedience to his commandments. Until we meet here again, shalom and WORK IT OUT.*
…*WORK OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12)