For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.  2 Timothy 1:7 (TPT)

You are walking through a park on a beautiful morning. Sun shining, crisp air, dodging a few cyclists, watching the person coming toward you with a German Shepherd, thinking, “I hope the leash doesn’t break if that dog lunges at me.”

This is not the “spirit of fear”, it is legitimate concern.

You are paying your bills and you do not have enough money. You spend a few hours reviewing your expenses/income, say a few prayers, re-examine your expenses/income, call a few friends and ask for prayer. Then you put together a reasonable budget including faith through prayer.

This isn’t fear, it is planning.

You are eating breakfast. Something comes upon you. It takes your peace away – sort of takes away your spiritual breath. You go from satisfied to unsettled. It is like a blanket dampening joy. It can come from anywhere, from any thought. It’s here.

This is the spirit of fear.

It says in 2 Timothy 1:17 that God hasn’t given you this spirit of fear. Some confuse this “spirit” as caution – maybe a prophetic warning. It is not prophecy. It is fear.

James says that, “Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change.” (James 1:17)

The Spirit of God brings joy! The spirit of fear takes it away.

I have talked to many who say:  It’s like a blanket that covers me or it arrives from nowhere or I can’t get up in the morning or I become numb and unfeeling or I have this dread that I shouldn’t do something!

Okay, not every bad emotion, sadness, or foreboding is a spirit of fear. Learn to discern the difference!

Paul says it is “a spirit” so it has volition and the ability to settle over or on you. John writes, “Greater is He (Holy Spirit) who is in you that he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4).

We already have victory.

Identifying this spirit for what it is (huge in winning this battle), and being afraid, some say, “Nothing is wrong!”. They stand in the gloom of despondency and refuse confession.

Fear can be a result of bad decisions, but it can result from good decisions – part of the warfare of obedience.

Almost every person that I know who has decided to go on a short-term mission trip deals with a spirit of illegitimate fear in the run-up to departure. Same with almost any God-adventure to which you receive a call.

James gives the best advice in dealing with fear, “Surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn and run away from you. Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you.”  James 4:7-8 (TPT)

Fear is irrational. LikeThere was a huge crash on the interstate last night and we have a trip planned today, perhaps we should not go! LikeThis drowsy feeling… I must have diabetes, cancer, or both! LikeThe political situation today is terrible. I must improve home defense, be on guard against the anti-Christ trying to implant chips, call my fellow Christians at church hypocrites and heretics because I disagree with them.

There will be difficult times in the end. God has filled you with His Spirit. Pray to be filled today with the Spirit of God and not influenced by the spirit of fear!