Dan works Saturdays about twice a month. I am a morning person, however I enjoy a slower start to my weekend mornings. On the Saturday’s Dan works, I usually spend my time drinking all the coffee while blaring worship music, reading or writing. However, the last Saturday Dan worked was different.
I woke up at 3:00 in the morning terrified Dan was going to miss his flight. Friends, Dan wasn’t flying that day and I still have no idea where this weird fear came from. The first time I woke up, it took me a few minutes to shake it before falling back asleep. However, I kept waking up over and over again fearful. Fearful he hadn’t packed. Fearful because I wasn’t sure were his ticket was in the house. Fearful he was going to be late. Fearful the weather was going to be bad. Fearful his plane would crash.
When his alarm finally went off, I was exhausted. This isn’t the first time fear and I have battled. However, it took me a bit to get to the root of it this time. Fear has been known to be sneaky in my life. It creeps in disguised as something else, and if I am not diligent it takes root. After taking root, it invites more ugly friends (like anxiety) to come join it.
Let me explain, Dan may not have been taking a flight anytime soon, but I did have a big medical appointment in two days. An appointment that we had been praying over for a long time. An appointment that we were expectant for miracles to be confirmed.
Fear knew if it came in as doubts for that appointment, it would be quickly dismissed. I had been speaking truth over that area of my life for weeks, and fear didn’t stand a chance on that battleground. However, fear of a pretend flight…. yep, that would distract me. It would have been easy to push that fear aside. Dan wasn’t flying anywhere, so it was silly to even address that thought right?
Wrong. No matter how ridiculous fear looks like when it comes in, we need to take it captive. If I wouldn’t have addressed the fear of a pretend flight, it could have easily led to other fears and anxieties that would have completely distracted me from what really mattered. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says this:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
I think sometimes we forget our minds are battlefields. There is a reason this verse says to “take captive” every thought. Thankfully, I have never seen a battleground, but I imagine when a captive is taken on a battleground, it is pretty violent. I imagine captives typically do not come willing. Friends, we are not meant to cutely ask our fearful thoughts to stand down. We are meant to grab those thoughts and violently slam them against the walls of our mind and remind them they aren’t welcome. Not only do we have the authority to take our thoughts captive, we have the authority to kick them out. Luke 10:19 says this:
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
I don’t know about you, but if I see a snake or a scorpion there is going to be nothing dainty about how I trample that thing! In fact, it’s going to be pretty violent! I am not the most graceful creature you will ever meet, so in the natural, it’s very possible I’d get hurt while trampling on a snake. However this scripture promises that nothing will harm us as we work to overcome the enemy. Isaiah 54:17 says this:
“…no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.
If we truly knew no weapon formed against us would prevail, and we fully trusted that nothing could hurt us when we worked to overcome the enemy, how fearless would be be? Friends, it’s not just that we have the authority to trample fear, it’s our heritage or our inheritance to live fearlessly. Why is this important? Imagine a castle with a king. People living in the kingdom may listen to a servant of the king who has been given the authority to do something. However, those same people living in the kingdom are probably not going to question the authority of the children of the king. When a prince or princess speaks, that voice carries more weight than a servant. There is power that comes with inheritance. We don’t have the authority to live fearlessly because we simply serve Christ, we have authority to live fearlessly because it is our inheritance as God’s children.
So how do I actively take fear captive and trample it? I start by reminding fear who I am because of Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:7 says this:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
This scripture reminds me that I do not have to live out of control. God has given me the power and self-discipline to tell fear to go. I also love that verse reminds me that fear is more than just a feeling, fear is a spirit. Why is that important to remember? Because in John 16:16-18, Jesus tells the disciples that those who believe in him have the ability to drive out spirits in His name.
However, we can’t stop with simply casting the spirit of fear out of our minds. It is is very important that when we tell fear to leave, we replace fear with truth. Jesus warns in Luke 11:24-26, when a spirit it cast out, it roams around looking for a new place to rest. If it doesn’t find anywhere new to rest, it will go back to the place it came from. If it returns to a place that is clean and empty, it invites seven more spirits with it. Friends, fear isn’t a nice house guest. When we violently tell fear to leave, it doesn’t get the message. It tries to weasel itself back into our brains. Telling fear to leave is wonderful, but we have to fill all the corners of our mind with truth so that it can’t get back in. If we don’t fill our minds with truth, fear will not only come back, it will bring other problems (anxiety, worry, bitterness and depression) with it.
So, what can we fill our mind with instead of fear? Philippians 4:8 says this:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I love this verse because it’s a great way to filter our thoughts. Was Dan missing a flight true? No. Okay, I recognize the thought isn’t true, but I can’ stop there. I have to take that thought captive and tell it to leave. I have a post-it note on my computer at work that says “T-N-R-P-L-E-P”. This helps me remember when I am stressed to simply ask myself is this thought true, noble, right, pure, lovely excellent or praiseworthy? If you can’t remember all of those words – try putting “in Jesus name” after your thoughts. “Dan is going to miss his pretend flight, in Jesus name” doesn’t work!
It’s important to understand that we can’t just stop at running our thoughts through the filter. Just because I have the authority to kick out fear, and just because my inheritance allows me to live fearless, I still have a choice to make. For example, when I recognized the fear of Dan missing his flight was not true, I had the choice to continue to think about it, or to kick the thought to the curb and move on.
What else does the bible say about fear?
Psalm 94:19 says:
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Isaiah 43:1 says:
But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
Matthew 6:23 says:
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Psalms 118:6 says:
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
Isaiah 41:13 says this in the Passion Translation:
I am Yahweh, your mighty God! I will grip your right hand and won’t let you go! I whisper to you: “Don’t be afraid; I am here to help you.”
The most important thing you can take away today is that we don’t have to face fear alone. All of these scriptures remind us that we do not have to fear, because God is with us. He won’t leave us. In addition, I love the promise found in Philippians 4:6-7 that says:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This passage promises when we bring our worries and fears to God, He gives us peace. He is the one that helps us take our thoughts captive and gives us the ability to live fearlessly.
Today I challenge you to ask God where fear is sneaking into your life – maybe you already know – but don’t stop there! I challenge you to start actively taking fear captive and replacing it with truth. Fear doesn’t have to own you, you have a choice to walk in your inheritance and the authority found there.