THE EMOTION OF FEAR profoundly affects the way the brain processes images and messages. Fear colors the way we see and hear things. And since the mind and body are intricately interconnected, fear is the root cause of many physiological problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, clinical depression, and other ailments. Left unchecked, fear can be deadly.
Most of our negative emotions come from fear, including anger, frustration, and rage. On a spiritual level, fear and worry can cause people to question God's love, to doubt His promises, and so on. The devil knows that frightening people causes them to be unsettled, off-balance, and therefore vulnerable to all sorts of sickness, manipulation, and deception. Living in fear is a form of slavery (Heb. 2:15).
Logicians call illegitimate appeals to fear the "appeal to the stick." When someone plays on your fears, it's wise to discern whether there's any basis in reality for the supposed threat, or if the appeal is simply a rhetorical scare tactic intended to persuade you to accept some sort of conclusion. Unscrupulous people (such as advertisers and politicians) regularly use fear to manipulate public opinion, of course, and they're only too glad to tell you exactly what you should fear. They are delighted to prey upon your anxieties and then offer you a supposed "remedy."
The war for truth began in the Garden of Eden, when Satan lied to Eve by saying that she wouldn't die if she disobeyed God (Gen. 3:4). Satan cunningly played on Eve's fear of being deceived to persuade her to disobey. Fear, then, is the emotional center of sin and the opposite of faith. The fearful are referred to as the "unbelieving" and those who "love and make a lie" (Rev. 21:8, 22:15).
God repeatedly tells us not to be afraid – not of man, nor of war, nor of tribulation, nor even of death itself (Rom. 8:35-39). Indeed, the most frequent commandment in Scripture is simply al-tirah, "Be not afraid."
But how do we overcome our fear? By trusting that God is with us... The LORD will never leave nor forsake us, even if we are faced with difficult circumstances. The antidote to fear is heartfelt faith in God's love (1 John 4:18). God saves us from our fears (Psalm 34:4, 2 Tim. 1:7). When we trust that God personally cares for us, we find comfort and courage to face life without fear.