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Doing Battle With a Spirit of Fear

We think we’re afraid of Covid-19. We think, “Once we get a vaccine, it will be safe.” But will it? Apparently the vaccine is just months away. When we have the antibodies we need, what will we do with our fear? Fear is not just a response of our reptilian brain to danger, it may also be a spiri…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

We think we’re afraid of Covid-19. We think, “Once we get a vaccine, it will be safe.” But will it? Apparently the vaccine is just months away. When we have the antibodies we need, what will we do with our fear?

Fear is not just a response of our reptilian brain to danger, it may also be a spiritual issue. We may be targeted by an actual spirit of fear. When the thing we’re afraid of goes away, the spirit of fear just attaches to something else.

Many of you reading this may not believe in evil spirits. I remember I was 26 years old when I began to deal with the idea of personal evil. I had never been taught about an enemy that hated me and wanted me dead.

But I realized that wasn’t Jesus’ perspective. He didn’t just “believe” in the idea of personal evil, he did battle with demons. So I had to figure out what was real. I started by reading the book The People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck, the psychiatrist who also wrote the #1 bestseller, The Road Less Traveled.

Peck went on to study evil more scientifically, doing five in-depth case studies in this book. When I began to encounter evil spirits that seemed to be influencing people’s lives, I read that book and others and I prayed (more on that here).

I realized that I lacked the spiritual authority that God wanted to give me and I needed to do something about it. At that point, if I were to encounter an evil spirit, it might say something like the evil spirit said in Acts 19:14, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?”

And this is where I have to ask you, how would you know if the real reason you are so afraid is not this virus, but a spirit of fear? And if it were such a spirit, would you know what to do? Do have the spiritual authority to fight it?

Five years ago I wrote a blog post entitled Finding Courage in a Time of Fear. It turns out that fear was stalking the land then too.

Here are some of the observations I made in that post:

  • We have made friends with fear. Fear and worry are the organizing principles for most parents.  
  • Our ceaseless pursuit of better risk-management strategies hasn’t helped. At some point, to enjoy life, you must be reconciled to risk.
  • America has become a bad place to work out a theology of faith and risk. Every question about what is safe enough ends in a lawsuit. We have lived in abundance, but we have struggled to find enough safety to live in peace.
  • While the world has grown larger and more connected, our private space has shrunk to the size of an i-phone.

Nothing has changed in five years. We are still afraid! Yes, let’s be prudent. Let’s take all the precautions that we need to so that we don’t catch or spread the virus. But let’s also deal with fear.

The answer is not to elect better politicians. Politicians must compromise or cheat to accomplish things – it’s the nature of their world. They will always disappoint because their world is not a principled one.

The answer is to clarify what you really believe as a person, as a family, and as a church. And then to pass that belief system on to those you care about. If you believe that something is worth dying for and will require courage to defend, start there.

The church calls that process discipleship. It’s something churches used to do. 

Yes, let’s kill Covid. But let’s also address the question “How do we again move to a place of courage?” We need to find out where spiritual authority comes from and begin to do battle with the spiritual forces that are targeting us.

Comments (4)

  • Great thoughts, Seth. Thanks for sharing them!

    In order for me to move from fear to a place of courage, I have to love something/someone more than I love myself, more than I love my own comfort and security. I believe that’s what Jesus had in mind when he called his disciples to die to themselves, to love God and love their neighbors. He said that when/if I hold on to my life, I’m going to lose it in the end. It’s only in living for the Kingdom that I find the freedom to risk, to give of myself, and to experience that life that he created me to live.

    I want that life!

  • I have been pondering and praying over just this issue. Before I even read the next sentence your words confirmed my thoughts. Once this fear is resolved it will simply be replaced by another. Courage, boldness, discernment and more prayer for wisdom all come into play. I don’t want to live in a world dictated by fear. Here I am Lord, send me, for I know you will equip me. Thanks for your encouraging words.

  • Thanks Seth.

    This conversation is vital right now (actually, all the time, but especially now). Our fear has been causing us to grip the past, hold on tight. Covid, is awful yes, but it may be that very element, that is inviting us to create a new world, a new future, and we have to let go of the fear that is holding on to us or that we are holding on to, in order to move forward!

    thank you

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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