The apostle John wrote, “Perfect love casts out fear, for fear has torment” (see I John 4:18). The main cause of fear is an excessive concern about one’s self: Self-preservation, self-image, what the future holds for one’s self. Those feelings may not be on the surface, but they are the real cause of fear. If a person is filled with love for someone else, then the focus is away from self and on the other person. The perfect love that comes from Christ should fill our lives. As it does, it crowds out all fear.
There are many kinds of fear. We have different scientific names for them. Some people fear the dark. Some are afraid to go outside. Some fear other people. Others are afraid to be shut up in closed spaces. Some fear heights. Some people have a fear of tunnels. Some are afraid of snakes. Some fear is submerged in the subconscious and manifests itself in psycho-somatic illness, ulcers, headaches, depression, or even paralysis.
Knowledge and experience can help us overcome fear. We fear the unknown and are comfortable with the familiar. Therefore, people who fear should be gradually exposed in a non-threatening context to the object of their fear.
Even as fear tends to inhibit action and bring paralysis, in like manner, action tends to dispel fear. The psalmist discovered one great weapon against fear when he wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd … I will fear no evil” (Psalm 23:1,4). We should remind ourselves over and over that God is all-powerful and that His protection is sufficient for any need.
Some fear is healthy. We should fear — or at least respect — fire, electricity, lightning, bullets, bankruptcy, and especially God Himself. God placed within man a beneficial mobilization technique triggered by fear that marshals his responses in times of danger or need.
On the other hand, we should recognize that some extremes of fear are totally false and may be induced by demons. In these cases, spirits of fear need to be commanded to depart in the name of Jesus.
Perfect love casts out fear. The Word of God sets people free. The person who is victimized by fear should focus on Jesus, on His love, on His power, and should memorize and recite the Word of God, zeroing in on those promises that deal with the hope Christians have in Christ (see Matthew 28:20, Mark 11:24, I Corinthians 6:11, II Thessalonians 3:3, I John 2:25, Revelation 21:4). The victim should shout these promises out loud, using them to praise the Lord.
Praising the Lord is an excellent antidote to fear. Not only does this rebuke the spirit of fear and Satan who brings it, but it also brings the Christian into the direct presence of God. The psalmist tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people (see Psalm 22:3). We can bind Satan’s power by praise. Out of praise, we will find deliverance from all our fears.