“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” - Romans 12:2 NIV
Today I appeal to you not as a therapist or a pastor, but as a fellow human. One who has wrestled with fear in every aspect of my being—spirit, soul, and body. To understand how to overcome fear, we must first understand the impact of its influence, not just spiritually or as an assault to our faith but on our whole being.
2018 was a year that I purposed to walk free from a spirit of fear in every area of my life. When we wrote out our sticky prayers in January I wrote: “In 2018 I am believing God to set me free from a spirit of fear.” I wrote the prayer with the faith and confidence that God was completely capable of delivering me from fear, what I didn’t realize at the time was that He already had.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, operating in the full authority that I know we have access to as co-heirs with Christ, I had already (several times in fact) rebuked the spirit of fear and commanded it to return to where it came from. Yet the “symptoms” of fear persisted: racing thoughts, self-doubt, chest pains, shortness of breath, and a constant pit in my stomach. At first I couldn’t understand why but then the Lord gave me a picture.
Imagine squatters in a house that doesn’t belong to them. Once they are kicked out, the mess they’ve let behind doesn’t go with them. The owner of the house must clean up the mess. As the owner of my spirit, soul, and body, I had a mess to clean up.
It was about this time that I began to meditate on Romans 12:2. “Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Like it or not, fear is a pattern of this world. So common in fact that 1 in 5 Americans have been diagnosed with some form of anxiety disorder. Hear me today friends: fear is not the nature that we were created in the image of. Fear was not a part of our original design (as seen in 2 Tim. 1:7.) Fear is learned and therefore must be unlearned. This is where the transformation comes in.
Simply put, transformation is a change in your nature, character, or condition. That’s exactly what I was seeking. I needed to change the nature of my thoughts and feelings in order to renew my mind. Please understand, this isn't simply the practice of trying really hard not to think about things that create fear, doubt, or insecurity. Nor is it pushing down those feelings that accompany the thoughts; it’s the discipline of taking every thought captive and teaching them to obey Christ as demonstrated in 2 Cor. 10:5.
When a prisoner is taken captive he is interrogated. Every thought that enters our mind should be interrogated—where did you come from? Are you here to cause me harm? Do you line up with the character and nature that I am committed to modeling my life after? As we begin the disciplined process of renewing our minds transformation is inevitable.
God is good, He can be trusted, but transformations don’t happen without work.
Walk in spiritual authority and integrity. Think about what you're thinking about. Consider the source and credibility of every thought, feeling (physical or emotional), and attitude that you are aware of. Stop trying to control or repress them, partner with the Holy Spirit to determine their root and transform them. You can do this! Overcoming fear starts today!
Lord, we thank you that you didn’t make us in the image of fear. We thank you that you gave us a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind. Most of all, we thank you that give us access to the only way to truly overcome fear: the divine transformation and renewal of our minds. As we walk in your calling in 2019, empower us to take every fearful, anxious thought captive and place them under the authority found in your Son Jesus Christ. Let our fearful mind be made new, let us become fearless in You. In your name we pray, amen!