We’re already in week five of our Breaking Fear studies (to read past studies, click on the Bible Studies link on the right) and I hope you’re finding some freedom from fear as you journey with me on my own freedom walk.
Fear comes from many sources and for many reasons, but at the very core of our fears may be some generational baggage. I’ve previously said I come from a long line of worriers but that minimizes the extreme fear with which those in generations before me struggled.
I have some serious generational fear to contend with.
Now there may be a question if you can pass genetic fear code down, but there’s no question you can pass down bad behaviors or a spirit of fear.
In his book, Signature Sins, Michael Mangis says:
Whether or not families inherit spiritual curses, it is obvious that patterns of sin are passed down through families. Everyone sins; but just as culture…steers our patterns of sin in particular directions, so do our families.
My blogging friend Amy shares in one of her fear devotionals these words about fear in a family, “Fear can permeate your spirit. It can infect the energy of your household. It can hinder the work that God wants you to do – in your family and in those around you. And if there is a particular stumbling block, we need to make sure we take a higher road. We can’t blame our parents for our mistakes, but if we know there is a certain example set before us, we can make sure we choose to follow the God’s instead.”
The Bible offers many examples of how a previous generation’s struggle or sin threatens to derail the children if you don’t break the pattern:
He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been. (I Kings 15:3)
Our fathers sinned and are no more, But we bear their iniquities. (Lamen. 5:7)
So what are we to do if we have been raised with generations fearful before us? We don’t cast blame and then decide we have to live under it – no! We find freedom within the pages of the Bible which over and over commands us not to fear for God Almighty is with us:
- Realize your fear may be coming from more than your circumstances or your individual struggles. This fear is a battle for how we live our lives, and God gives instructions to be on guard, to be strong, and to see the battle waging beyond our immediate situation: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6)
- Give thanks that even though those in our family lineage may have struggled under fear, doubt and worry, we are also the children of God the Father. Ephesians 5 says, Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love.
- We already know from our foundational scripture in this study that perfect love, God’s love, casts out fear.
- Think about what your parents or grandparent struggled with as you grew up. Were they constantly fretful or full of worry? Identify ways in which you may have learned fear directly from one you loved and trusted.
- Read Ephesians 6 and recognize there may be other factors at work in your fear than your circumstances. Pray for God to reveal those other forces at play, study the Bible so you can prepare to pray for a release from those generational fears.
- Share what you’re learning with the group.
Join us as we tackle fears we experience from other people the next two weeks – fears FOR our family and fears FROM those who have tried to do us harm.