“There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18, ESV)
At the time of this writing, many people in the United States are fearful about the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. They’re anxious about what America will look like after November 8. The polls show a very high unfavorable rating for both major party presidential candidates, so no matter who wins the presidency, many people will continue to experience fear. They will have trepidations regarding national security, financial solvency, racial divisions, and a host of other ghastly things that go “bump in the night.”
All believers have a responsibility to reach out to the fearful, offering them spiritual weapons to cast out fear. By fear, I refer to the imagining of a future that is either dangerous or painful, presenting challenges that are difficult to meet or avoid. The Bible teaches that we’re part of the priesthood of all believers (1 Pet. 2:9), so people of faith must be prepared to arm themselves and others against fear. As you think about various weapons, remember that the most effective ones will be spiritual. The apostle Paul puts it this way in 2 Corinthians 10:4: “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.”
Through sharing, teaching, preaching, and living biblical truths, believers can empower others to cast away fear. In Romans 10:14–15, 17, Paul asks, “How can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? ... So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” Believers can become God’s hands and feet and voice on earth to help people deal with fear. But what can we say to help people cast out fear?
Four Truths to Cast Out Fear
First, we need to remind people that fear does not come from God. As 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” The Bible informs us that every good and perfect gift comes from God (see James 1:17). At its best, fear is an imperfect gift.
A second truth that will help us cast out fear is that God is always with us. As David declares, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Ps. 23:4, ESV). In Hebrews 13:5, God promises never to leave us or forsake us: “For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’” God’s presence in our lives should be a reminder that we encounter no challenge alone. As Jesus instructs his followers in Matthew 28:20: “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Third, the divine presence of God is with us to help. Hebrews 13:6 puts it this way: “We can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?’” It is empowering and encouraging news that God is more than a passive presence, that he is our Helper. He is not a dispassionate observer as people grapple with frightening things, but he remains an ever-present help for all of our troubles. He tells us in Psalm 50:15, “Call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” God also tells us how he will help us. Philippians 4:19 says, “This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” This is an amazing promise. It reminds me that if something is missing in my life, God will eventually supply it, or else I really don’t need it.