Overcoming Fear: 7 Monsters Children Face
Because we live in a broken world, our children face a battlefield every day. And on this battlefield, they face monsters of fear, anger, shame, apathy, greed, loneliness, and pride.
However, we know that, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). We also know that these monsters gain strength and grow from a pack of lies that suggest we are unworthy or wrong-headed to think we can do anything about our state of affairs. God’s Word tells us something different, and as our children realize God’s teaching through the Word, they will understand more fully how to fight against these monsters.
Is your child wrestling with one or more of these monsters? Set apart some time and read through this article with them. Together you’ll learn how to overcome fear and find victory as God’s Word exposes each monster as a lie.
As a bonus, you can download a free "7 Monsters" resource pack that includes a powerpoint, bookmark, and video bumper.
Monster #1: Fear
Our journey begins with a monster that feeds off our imaginations: Fear. Fear gains it’s power by getting us to focus on what might happen rather than what is happening. This is why taking a walk in the day can feel so different than taking a walk at night. In the daytime, you can see everything around you. But in the darkness, anything might be hiding, just waiting to get you. That’s when fear creeps in.
The goal of fear is to take control of our imagination and then whisper the lie, “You are not safe.” The more you imagine what could be in the darkness, the more you become convinced it’s real. All of the sudden you lose control and start running away from a danger that isn’t even there!
But the Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Notice the connection between fear and self-control. This is what makes fear so dangerous that it causes us to lose control and react foolishly to things that aren’t true. How do we gain control? By fixing our mind on the truth of God’s Word!
Take some time and discuss with your child Isaiah 41:10. What does this verse promise? How does this promise guard us from fear?
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
Next, we encounter a villain who fills hearts with hate: Anger. Anger is an expert at changing the way we see people and problems, and getting us to fix our frustrations on the wrong things. We all experience things that bother us. The question is: Do we forgive, and let these things go, or do we hold grudges, and give room for hate?
Think about the last time someone really got under your skin. How did you deal with that offense? If you turned the other person into a villain and assumed the worst about them, it’s likely you were driven by anger. Anger always lies to us saying that people are the problem.
But the Bible reminds us in Ephesians 6:12 that people are not the problem: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
In any conflict, the real issue is spiritual, not physical. If we get angry and make another person into a villain, our problem will never get solved. Instead, anger will drive us to push the person we’ve villainized out of our life. It’s sad, but this is how many good friendships have been split apart. Sometimes these people can’t even remember why they got angry in the first place!
With your child, take a look at James 1:19-20 and discuss what this verse says about anger. Why does God say we should avoid anger? What does God say we should be quick to do instead of getting angry?
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” – James 1:19-20
We now come to a monster many know, but few will talk about: Shame. Shame is a master of deception. It takes things, jumbles them up in our hearts, and then leads us to draw the wrong (and very hurtful) conclusions.
Take a moment and imagine that you’ve snuck a cookie from a cookie jar. Stealing, as we all know, is wrong, and so taking that cookie is a bad thing. But shame twists that truth. Instead of saying, “Stealing the cookie is bad,” shame will whisper, “Stealing that cookie makes you bad.” We must be very careful to protect our hearts from the lies of shame. Maybe you heard shame whisper some of the following lies to you:
- “What you did makes you a terrible person.”
- “You failed and now no one will ever love you.”
- “Nobody wants you around now that they know your secret.”
- “God is so unhappy with you because of your choice.”
One of the amazing things about God is that he knows our every sin, and yet he still loves us. God deeply wants to be a part of our lives. In fact, the Bible tells us in Romans 5:8, “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Just think about that! God knew your sins and still sent Jesus to save you. And through the sacrifice of Jesus, you can be forever free from sin, guilt, and shame.
With your child read Psalm 103:10-12. Take turns discussing the things that encourage you the most in these verses. What has God done with our sins? Why has God done this?
“He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.”
– Psalm 103:10-12
Next, we travel to a monster that often goes unnoticed: apathy. The monster of apathy may have a strange name, but he is easy to find. When people are in need, apathy looks the other way. When they call out for help apathy responds, “I don’t care.”
This monster loves to deceive us, and give us reasons not to get involved. But each of these lies is an excuse the enemy uses to destroy God’s mission for our lives. How many of apathy’s lies do you recognize?
- “You are too busy.”
- “Someone else will come along.”
- “You’ll get stuck here and miss out on so much fun.”
- “You have more important things to do.”
- “What are other people going to think if you do this?”
The tricky thing about apathy is that we can get so caught up doing the things we want to do, that we don’t even see the things God wants us to do. Can you see or hear the opportunities he has placed around you to help others?
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 20:12, “Ears to hear and eyes to see – both are gifts from the LORD.” If you have been focused on yourself lately ask God to open your eyes and ears to see and hear the needs of the people he has placed around you. You will be amazed at how God answers this prayer.
Have a conversation with your child about the importance of helping others. Then read Mark 10:43-45. What does Jesus say makes a great leader? How did Jesus use his life to help you?
“Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:43-45
Just ahead lies the ugly goblin of greed. Greed is a monster that takes control of our eyes giving us an uncontrollable desire to have everything we see. Often you’ll hear those infected by greed calling out, “Mommy, I want that,” or, “everyone else has one why can’t I!” Has greed gotten ahold of you?
Think about this scenario: You and a friend open a box of wonderfully delicious pizza, only to discover that inside there is just one slice left! What do you do you do?
- Slap your friend’s hand away and grab the slice for yourself.
- Try to talk your friend into eating something else so you can have the slice.
- Split the pizza in two, but give your friend the smaller half.
- Happily give the entire slice to your friend.
If you answered anything but (4), greed may have clouded your vision. And here is why we need to take this monster seriously: greed lies to us saying getting is better than giving. But generosity is something that God values very much. In fact, the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “God loves a cheerful giver.”
As you think about greed and generosity, ready Luke 12:15 with your child. What are some different ways we can be greedy? Jesus says life isn’t measured by what we own. How do you think God measures life?
“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” – Luke 12:15
Our next villain works tirelessly to keep us from what we need most: love, friendship, and fellowship. Loneliness is a strange monster. He starts very small and moves very slowly, but over time he can become one of the most fearsome monsters we ever face.
People are not made to be alone. God designed us to be in loving communities of friends, family and, most of all, God himself. When loneliness creeps his way into our hearts we begin to doubt that we are loved by others. We start to feel like we don’t have true friends. And we can even believe that God has left us.
It’s little wonder that loneliness can cause deep feelings of sadness in our hearts. If we believe that God has left us, what reason is there for joy? But like all the monsters we have looked at, the power of loneliness is built on a lie. Consider this Biblical promise found in Deuteronomy 31:6 “the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Even if everyone else in the world had left us, God never will. He promises to stand by our side every moment of every day! David wrote about this in Psalm 27:10 when he said: “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.”
As you discuss loneliness with your child read Romans 8:38-39 together. What does Paul say are some of the things that cannot separate us from God’s love? How can this verse help us when we experience feelings of loneliness?
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
Brace yourselves! The very worst monster on our journey has been saved for last: Pride. Pride is the most dangerous of all because the lies he tells are the most destructive. When pride worms his way into our hearts we start to believe we don’t need anyone else, not even God!
Pride turns everything in our hearts upside down. It convinces us that we desire is most important, even more important than the things God has revealed to us in his word.
Imagine standing before God, the one who created the universe and formed you in your mother’s womb. Now imagine saying to your creator “I don’t need you.” Many of us would never dream of saying such a thing, but this is the very attitude pride shapes within our heart.
It shouldn’t surprise us that the Bible contains strong warnings about pride. One example is Proverbs 16:18 which says: “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” When the monster of pride gets a hold of our hearts only one thing can come next…destruction.
So how do we fight this beast? With a powerful thing the Bible calls humility. Humility is when we submit our hearts to God believing what he says and doing what he asks. With this attitude in our hearts, we never see ourselves as more important than God, or anyone else. Instead, we always look for opportunities to lift up the greatness of God and serve the needs of others.
As you consider this last monster with your child, read Philippians 2:5-11. How far was Jesus willing to go to humble himself? How did God respond to Jesus’ humility?
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:5-11
A Final Thought
Though this article is written for children, these monsters haunt the lives of adults too. It’s important that kids learn from an early age to recognize the lies of these monsters and become skilled at combating them with the truth of God’s Word. By gaining victory over these beasts they are young, our children can grow free from the destruction these monsters bring.
Don't forget to download your free "7 Monsters" resource pack that includes a powerpoint, bookmark, and video bumper.