The LORD is with us, and so is Jesus! With their help we have no reason to fear! When we fall to the vice of fear, Satan succeeds in making us forget this fact.
The Victory in Virtue Series
Part 12: Fight the Vices Part 1 — Gluttony
Part 13: Fight the Vices Part 2 — Sloth
Part 14: Fight the Vices Part 3 — Envy
Part 15: Fight the Vices Part 4 — Wrath
Part 16: Fight the Vices Part 5 — Lust
Part 17: Fight the Vices Part 6 — Pride
Part 18: Fight the Vices Part 7 — Greed
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Today I present another entry in the Victory in Virtue series. Today is the eighth part of Fight the Vices. This is where we look at the vices we need to avoid as Christians. Today’s post is on the vice of fear.
Fear is the most common vice I’ve written about so far. No one person has all the vices; some people have this one, others that. So we understand some more than others. But everyone feels fear. It can be a physical fear of things like injuries. Or it can be a fear for a loved one’s safety. Or it can even be a Spiritual fear about our standing with God.
But Scripture is clear on the topic of fear: Don’t be afraid. God tells us through His Word not to fear, because He is always with us. When we fall to the vice of fear, we forget that amazing and beautiful fact. And forgetting it leads to dangerous consequences.
So let’s learn more and see why every Christian believer has all reason to be fearless!
What Is the Vice of Fear?
I’m sure I don’t need to define the word ‘fear.’ But since that’s how I start these posts on the vices, I’ll do it anyway.
Fear. Noun: An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
That’s what the dictionary says. But that doesn’t matter, because we all know what fear is. We know it better than any dictionary definition could ever explain.
We’ve all been afraid before. Everyone’s life is different, but there are countless situations that cause fear. Some people had experiences where they were in great physical danger, and were afraid because of that. Some others actually suffered the physical injuries, and had to wonder if they’d live or die, or if they’d be permanently affected. Most people have had an experience where they were in fear for a loved one due to physical or Spiritual dangers to that person.
And so on and so on. I don’t need to explain all the things that make people feel fear. We all know it well, from our own life experience. We all know it better than I can put into words. And many of us have things that we’re still afraid of, right now. Situations that we’re scared to be in, like public speaking. Or animals we have a phobia of, like spiders.
Besides that, many of us may often be afraid for the safety and well-being of our loved ones. And this is a common cause of worry, anxiety, and fear.
Well, what does God say about the vice of fear? What does the Bible say about it?
Hah! Fear is one of the Bible’s favorite topics! All throughout the Old and New Testaments, God tells us over and over not to be afraid, because God is with us. Of the many verses about fear, I’ll pick a few and write them here so we all understand what the Bible says about it.
First, a crucial verse for Spiritual warfare: 2 Timothy 1:7. “Our God did not give us a spirit of fear, […]” Whenever the devil attacks us with fear, this is one of the most important verses we recite to rebuke him. Demons are rebuked in the name of Jesus and must stop their activity when we wield the Sword of the Spirit (that’s Scripture) in Faith.
If the devil attacks with fear, rebuke him and proclaim that our God did not give us a spirit of fear! The Spirit of God within us is one of power, love, and a sound mind!
(7) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)
Next, a nice verse from Isaiah 41. God tells us through this verse not to be afraid, because He is with us. He is our God, and He will surely help us. If God helps us, no obstacle can stand in our way. I really like this verse, Isaiah 41:10.
(10) Don’t fear, because I am with you;Isaiah 41:10 (CEB)
don’t be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
I will surely help you;
I will hold you
with my righteous strong hand.
Next, we have words from the Savior Himself. In John 14, the Disciples were upset because Jesus said He would be going away. But Jesus told them, and us, that there’s no reason to be afraid. Jesus has given us His peace, His teachings, and the Holy Spirit too (which came later). God is with us.
(27) “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.John 14:27 (CEB)
In Matthew 28:20, Jesus explains He is with us every day until the end of the age. He is with us.
(20) […] Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.”
One of the most famous verses about fear is Psalms 23:4. Even non-believers know it. “Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” And why is that? Why do we not fear any evil down there, in the valley of the shadow of death, the worst time of our life, the most dangerous situation we’ve ever had? We don’t fear because God is with us.
(4) Even when I walk through the darkest valley,Psalms 23:4 (CEB)
I fear no danger because you are with me.
Your rod and your staff—
they protect me.
Last, I present one more well-known verse about fear to wrap this up. This one comes from Joshua 1:9. In this verse the LORD says … yeah, you guessed it. Do not be afraid, because the LORD is with you!!
(9) I’ve commanded you to be brave and strong, haven’t I? Don’t be alarmed or terrified, because the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9 (CEB)
I’m sure you noticed the common thread among all these verses. Why should we never fear? Because the LORD our God is with us, and so is His Son!
The LORD is with us, and so is Jesus! With their help we have no reason to fear! When we fall to the vice of fear, Satan succeeds in making us forget this fact.
God is bigger than any problem, any crisis. God is bigger than anything we face. Satan uses fear to make us think the other way around. Satan makes us think of the difficulty and danger of what we’re facing, instead of thinking of how God is with us. If we stayed focused on God, we’d remember that there is nothing He can’t do. He can help us in every situation.
When Satan uses fear to make us forget God is with us, we focus too much on the power of what we’re facing and not enough on God. This makes us temporarily lose our Faith, and can paralyze us from acting when we need to. Also, the fear of others who aren’t like us leads to hatred.
These are the true dangers of the vice of fear: A temporary loss of Faith, being paralyzed by inaction, and falling to the sin of hatred.
When we fall to the vice of fear, the devil succeeds in making us doubt. We forget God is with us, and we doubt anything or anyone can help us in our situation. In other words, we have a temporary loss of Faith. This is an incredibly dangerous state for us to be in, if it continues.
Also when we fall to the vice of fear, the devil can stop us from acting when we should because we’re afraid. Paralyzed by inaction, we could fail to prevent some injury from happening, miss an opportunity God wanted to give us, and more. Whether we’re unable to act in the moment, or whether our fear stops us from doing something or going somewhere we need to, if the devil stops us from acting through fear, he stops us from doing what God has planned for us. This is also an incredibly dangerous situation to be in. We want to be in agreement with God’s Plan at all times. If we aren’t following God’s Plan we’re off on our own or even following the devil, so we need to get back on track right away.
There’s no need to fear—God is with us! A look through the Bible reveals it’s not God’s Will that we should fear anything. God, and His Son Jesus, are with us always. With them on our side, nothing can stand in our way. If we always remember this fact, we won’t be afraid. If we lose sight of it, we’ll fall to the vice of fear.
Also, we must never forget that fear is the root cause of the sins of hatred, racism, prejudice, and so on. Our fear of others who aren’t like us is a seed, which grows up into hatred. If we don’t cast out our fear of others with the love of Jesus Christ, we’ll soon fall to the demon of hatred and get sucked into that sin.
Remember that perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18)! Jesus commanded us to love our brothers and sisters. We can’t do that if we fear them. Ruining our love for each other is one of the devil’s goals when he attacks us with fear. Don’t let him replace love with fear!!
(18) There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love. (19) We love because God first loved us. (20) Those who say, “I love God” and hate their brothers or sisters are liars. After all, those who don’t love their brothers or sisters whom they have seen can hardly love God whom they have not seen! (21) This commandment we have from him: Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also.1 John 4:18-21 (CEB)
Now, is there a Spiritual element to the vice of fear? Yes! I don’t have a quote from Dark Night of the Soul this time, because the book doesn’t mention Spiritual fear. But there clearly are some common Spiritual fears.
I can think of two common Spiritual fears that many struggle with. I’ve struggled with them myself, and perhaps you have too. These two fears are the fear of condemnation, and the fear of following the LORD.
If our Faith is in Christ Jesus, the fear of condemnation and judgment is unBiblical. We know there is no more condemnation for those of us in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). We should rejoice over this, and have no fear! But being saved doesn’t mean we’re perfect. We will sin, because everyone sins and falls short of God’s Glory (Romans 3:23). But if we believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the Cross, and put our Faith in Him, we will be forgiven if we confess our sins and repent!! (1 John 1:9). We should rejoice over this, and have no fear!
(1) So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (2) The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.Romans 8:1-2 (CEB)
When we sin, we feel guilt for disobeying God. Satan exploits this natural guilt and torments us with fears of condemnation, judgment, and hell. It’s understandable if we think about these fears, but they don’t line up with God’s Word.
Remember Romans 8:1, there is no more condemnation for those of us in Christ Jesus. Like the adulterous woman who the crowd wanted to stone to death in John 8, Jesus doesn’t condemn us. The Holy Spirit will convict us in our Spirit when we’ve done wrong, but we’re never condemned. Jesus doesn’t condemn us, He says to us: “Go, and sin no more.“
(10) Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Is there no one to condemn you?”John 8:10-11 (CEB)
(11) She said, “No one, sir.”
Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, don’t sin anymore.”
The fears of judgment and condemnation Satan torments us with are unBiblical. Although we have a duty to reform and battle our sins through Christ’s power, Jesus doesn’t condemn us when we sin. If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and will forgive us (1 John 1:9).
Taking God’s Word to heart will allow us to fight this false demonic fear of condemnation.
Next is the very common fear of following the LORD.
I’m sure every believer has struggled with the fear of following the LORD. As we follow the LORD’s guidance, He begins to lead us to do things we’re afraid to do at first. If we look in the Bible, we see over and over how God tests His people in the same way. Moses, Joshua, David, the prophets, and more. When we follow God, He often tells us to do things that seem outrageous or even impossible.
He does this for two reasons: to test our Faith, and to show us His power. God challenges us to improve, and grow in holiness. He challenges us to battle sins we don’t think are possible, to grow in ways we never expected. Of course all these things will be scary at first. But when we do defeat the issue, when we do grow, we understand the obstacle wasn’t as bad as we thought, and with God we had the power to defeat it the whole time. This is the kind of thing God wants to show us in our life.
Look at everyone God tested in the Bible. He told them to do something they were scared to do. When God acted on their behalf with miracles, their Faith grew stronger than ever before. And they lost all their fear, knowing that God is on our side and can do anything.
God has a purpose for testing people; He does this to make us grow. He does this to destroy our fear, and replace it with Faith in Him.
So God wants us to be brave and take that leap of Faith to follow Him where He leads. He wants us to trust His Word, knowing that He is with us and we have no need to fear. We can’t do this if we fall to the vice of fear.
So when we feel God leading us to do the impossible, we need to be brave and follow Him. To defeat this Spiritual fear, reflect on the message of the Scriptures quoted above. God is with us!!! We have nothing to fear because God is with us, always!! Never forget it. Take that leap of Faith to follow the LORD. It’ll all be OK, and He will be sure to help and protect us. Trust in Him, His Word, and His promises.
To defeat the vice of fear, have Faith. And on that note….
What’s the Antidote?
There’s at least one Virtue that can cancel out any vice. There is no vice that can’t be conquered.
The antidotes to the vice of fear are the Virtues of Faith and Hope.
As you can see from the above, God tells us many times through His Word that we must never fear. And we must never fear because we should always know that God is with us, all the time. We can be tempted to think this isn’t true, when we’re facing a desperate situation. But we must have the Virtue of Faith. We must trust and believe the LORD is with us, and that He is in control. If we stand strong in our Faith, the fear will disappear. When the LORD acts to resolve the crisis, we’ll then see how His Hand was at work the whole time.
Trusting in the LORD, and trusting in His Word is the domain of the Virtue of Faith. The Virtue of Faith destroys fear.
If we’re strong in our Faith that the LORD is with us and on our side, and that we have eternal life in Jesus so even our physical death is unimportant, what could we possibly fear?
The answer is: nothing. We have nothing to fear. Rejoice, and have Faith in that!!
The other Virtue that counters the vice of fear is the Virtue of Hope. No matter how desperate a situation we face, we must always have Hope that there are better days ahead. This is another one of the LORD’s Promises. He doesn’t mean to destroy us—He has good plans for our future! Plans of peace, not disaster! When things look scary, have Hope in the LORD.
(11) I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the LORD; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.Jeremiah 29:11 (CEB)
We’ll have many bleak times in our life, when all seems lost. That’s life. But during these dark periods, Satan will tempt us with the vice of fear. Satan will tempt us to think that all really is lost, that God has abandoned us. That there’s no Hope for the future.
With the Virtue of Hope, we can reject those lies of the devil. With the Virtue of Hope, we place our trust in the LORD and His Plans for our life. With the Virtue of Hope, we know there are better days ahead, and nothing is ever hopeless. Standing strong in our Hope, we can cast out all fear, and keep on going.
So these are the Virtues that counteract and conquer the vice of fear. But our most potent weapon against fear is prayer. So let’s now move on to some prayers we can use to guard against the vice of fear, and fight it in our own lives.
Prayers against the Vice of Fear
There are many prayers we could pray to combat the vice of fear. The best ones of course will be the ones we create ourselves—the ones that come straight from the heart. Remember: When we pray we aren’t trying to say the right combination of words to unlock something in Heaven. No, that would be magic, which is an abomination to the LORD. Prayer is much simpler. Simply tell the LORD what you want, what you need, what’s on your mind, what’s bothering you, and so on.
Praying for help in fighting a vice is the best way to fight it. So here are a few short, simple prayers to combat the vice of fear that you can try adding to your prayer routine.
In My every Battle, You Are Here
If we remember that God is with us always, we’ll never fear. So one of the main causes for fear is forgetting that fact, along with thinking too much of the challenge we face. We need to stay strong in our Faith that God is with us all the time, in all our battles, in every crisis. If we can do that we can fight the vice of fear.
So here’s a quick prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God, because He is always with us. I hope this helps to keep His words in mind.
Praise the LORD, who is all powerful and reigns eternal! I thank You, LORD, that You are always with me in all my struggles. In my every battle, every crisis, You are here with me, because You are my God and I love You. I call on You now to please help me in my situation. I give You praise because I know You are infinitely greater than any problem I could ever face. Please strengthen me now, and grant me courage. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I Put my Faith in Your Word
One of the main parts of the vice of Spiritual fear is the fear of condemnation and judgment. But this fear doesn’t line up with the promises of God’s Word. Although Jesus calls us to hate and battle our own sins, He also knows we’re going to sin. But He already paid the price for our sins, on our behalf. Our sins are forgiven. This is a central message of the Gospel.
Just like the adulterous woman in John 8, Jesus doesn’t condemn us either. He says, “Go, and sin no more.” We must take that message, REPENT!, forgive ourselves, forgive others, and keep moving on with our life as we try to do better. Our battle against sin is hard and it lasts our whole lifetime. Sometimes we will fall, and fail in our good resolutions. At those times, we turn to Jesus and REPENT!, and He is faithful to forgive our sins (1 John 1:9). He doesn’t condemn us.
It’s the devil who wants us to feel condemned for our sins when he attacks us with fear. Stand strong in God’s Word, knowing that Scripture says otherwise. So here’s a prayer about that.
LORD, thank You forever for the sacrifice of Your only Son, Jesus Christ, on the Cross. Thank You for the forgiveness of sins, and the cancellation of a debt I could never hope to repay. I accept the completed work of Your Son on the Cross. I believe in what Jesus did for me. I want Him as my Savior, I accept Him as my Savior. I put my full faith in Him. And I give You thanks and praise because now, there is no more condemnation for me in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). I put my Faith in the promises of Your Word, LORD, and reject all demonic fear of condemnation.
Grant Me the Perfect Love that Drives out Fear
One of the worst effects of hatred is causing us to hate. Our fear of others who aren’t like us is a bad seed that grows up into hatred. Hatred, racism, prejudice, and so on all have their beginning in fear. This is why the devil often uses fear to sow divisions. We disobey our LORD Jesus if we allow ourselves to hate, because He commanded us to love one another. And if we disobey Him, we don’t love Him. If we love Him then we keep His commandments (John 14:15).
To fight hatred, which comes from fear, we need perfect love as mentioned in 1 John 4:18. Perfect love drives out all fear. So here’s a prayer asking for help with that.
LORD, I love You and want to follow Your commandments for the rest of my days. I know You commanded us to love all our brothers and sisters, who are all made in God’s image. Please save my heart from hatred, LORD, by convicting me in the Spirit of any fear I may have for others who are different. Please grant me the perfect love, LORD, so that it will drive all fear of others out of my Spirit for good. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Again, there are so many ways to pray against any vice. I could go on and on and on. Everyone is always welcome to leave a comment with prayers of their own.
But once we’re done praying, it’s time to act (in the physical world). Let’s move on to that now.
Fighting the Vice
To fight a vice, we must change our behavior and be consistent about that. We can’t do something new a few times and stop there. We must stick with our new ways, turning our back on our old sins. This consistency is how we build up a habit. It’s also how we cultivate and strengthen a Virtue, which are the “antidotes” to vice.
So how can we do that to fight fear? Let’s look at a few practical ideas. And remember: These are only a start! The possibilities are endless. I welcome any comments with good ideas about this.
Here are just a few ideas of how we can fight the vice of fear in our own lives:
- Read Scripture and pray!
- Slowly expose yourself to new things to get used to them, instead of jumping right in all the way
- Talk to people you can trust about your fears
- And other ideas you can think of!
The first and most important thing to do when afraid is turn to God. Turn to His Word, and pray to Him! He will ease our fears. We turn to His Word because so much of it tells us not to be afraid, since God is with us. He is our God, He is always with us, and He will surely help us. Check out some of the verses above, in the first section.
We pray because that’s how we connect with God. God is always with us in our struggles, but we have to connect with Him if we want His comfort! We can bring our every care and worry to God in prayer; the New Testament tells us to do this. Give the LORD whatever frightens us, and let Him deal with it. If we do this, God will grant us peace.
(6) Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. (7) Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7 (CEB)
Next, another part of fear is not being able to do something new and unfamiliar that we want to do (or that God wants us to do). No matter how strong our Faith is, sometimes it may be wise to expose ourselves to something new slowly, rather than jumping right in all at once. This is like how, if we’re getting into some cold water, we might dip our toes and feet in first to get used to it, instead of diving in. If we dive in we could get a shock. But if we expose ourselves slowly, getting into the water a little at a time, it’s easier on us.
To expose ourselves to new things we want to do, but we’re not confident in, we could have a few options. Let’s take the example of public speaking. The fear of public speaking is one of the most common fears there is—people hate it.
So, to expose ourselves slowly, we can see if there are any classes we can take on speaking. We can watch YouTube videos and read books. We can talk to people who are good public speakers, to see if they can teach us something. All these options get us a little exposure to the idea and act of public speaking. These are all ways to expose ourselves to public speaking a little bit at a time before jumping right in with our first speech.
Last, another way to fight the vice of fear is to talk with people we trust about our fears. This option is good when the thing causing our fear is something more than “I want to start public speaking.” Think about having fear for a loved one’s safety and the way they live their life. That kind of fear.
Although God is our ultimate comfort and counsel, He may lead us to speak about these fears with the people around us too. If we explain our fear to them, they might have something to teach us that will help. They might be able to do something to comfort our fear. Sometimes they might even be able to do something to resolve the situation we’re in.
We’re not relying on human Wisdom instead of God’s if we go to someone for help like this. If God moves our Spirit to talk about our fears with someone and ask for help, then it’s His Will and His Wisdom if that person gives us an answer to the trouble.
So talking with people we trust about our fears can be a great way to fight the vice of fear. Sometimes it can end with the problem being resolved. The people who love us will always want to help us, but sometimes they won’t know there’s any problem if we never say anything.
God Is with Us, Always
It’s not God’s Will for us that we live in fear. Scripture is clear on this, repeating the same point many times….
God is with us, always. We have nothing to fear. Have Faith in God’s Word!
God is with us, always. And so is His Son, Jesus. These are incredible promises from God that should make all believers rejoice and be fearless!
And yet, the devil still tempts us to fear with life’s dangers and hard situations. He has a few different goals when he attacks us with fear, and a few different strategies. It’s only natural we feel afraid every now and then. But the thing to remember about fear and how the devil uses it is that it doesn’t line up with God’s Word. God and Jesus tell us over and over not to fear, and why we must not.
If we stand strong in God’s Word, we have no need to fear. He has promised to be with us and help us, always. And He is greater than any fear we face. Never forget that, and never let the devil tempt us to fear. Take all fears to God in prayer, as Scripture says. He will help us and make us strong.
In the next post, we’re going back to the Virtues. We’re done with vices for the moment. The Virtue for next time is Humility.
The Victory in Virtue series is now winding down. There aren’t many more topics left, although I’ll revisit the series anytime I come up with a topic that belongs in this series.
The Virtue for next time is Humility. Stay tuned for that and Subscribe to my FREE weekly newsletter with the link below so you’ll never miss a post!!
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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