Fear, You are a Liar.
Fear is such a common word and widely accepted feeling that I think we often forget it's a bad thing. Fear keeps you from jumping off of cliffs or driving too fast - it keeps you alive. It's use is so prevalent that we often use it flippantly. But, fear is not something to be taken lightly or to be used flippantly. It's what causes us to control. It's the root of pride and worry and anxiety.
I come from a long line of fearful people. I mean, my family has taken fear to the extreme. In college I announced to my grandparents that I was pre-med (that was a short-lived decision). Instead of responding happily, they sighed and said I could get stuck with a needle and die. What?! Yeah, sure, that can happen. But, if we're talking about what could happen, then we could all die at any moment without cause. Our lives are not our own and we are not promised tomorrow (James 4:13-14). So, what does God say about fear? What can we learn about fear from His Word?
At its root, fear seeks to cause us to doubt the goodness and the promises of God - it is distrust, it is anti-faith, and therefore, anti-God. It's the same tactic Satan used in the Garden of Eden with Eve (Genesis 3:1-7). He sowed seeds of doubt in her mind - that God wasn't good, that He didn't have her best in mind, that He was holding out on her. So, out of fear, Eve took matters into her own hands. She started to control and "take care of herself." Wise decisions never come out of fear - its impossible because wisdom is found in love and perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
It is not God's desire or design for us to fear. Did you know that some version of "do not fear" is used over 300 times in the Bible - one time for every day of the year? We are specifically told in 2 Timothy 1:7, "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." Fear is of Satan and it seeks to destroy our trust in God. It's heavy stuff and we need to get on the offensive.
I struggle with having a spirit of fear. It is a spiritual stronghold in my family that I continue to break on a daily basis. After I was released from the hospital with my blood clot, I became consumed with fear of death. The possibility that at any moment the clot could dislodge and kill me was all-consuming. My leg was still in a world of pain, a constant reminder of my human frailty. In fact, as I write this some 6 months after the clot (which is now fully dissolved - hallelujah!!), I still have pain. The nerves were so damaged and assaulted by the clot that I could have pain for up to one year after it dissolves. It's hard to feel the pain and not be consumed with fearful thoughts of how another clot could have developed, one of which I am unaware and not receiving treatment. To make it worse, the blood thinner I was on was causing me dizziness. At first, before I knew it was caused by the medicine, I thought I was having a stroke or pulmonary embolism. Extreme? Probably. But, yet, I was consumed with fear, and fear has a way of making itself seem logical at the time.
So, how do we get on the offensive and combat a spirit of fear?
1. Recognize the fear.
We need to recognize that fear is not of the Lord. So, if we are fearful, we need to stop and figure out why we are fearing. What is the root of distrust in God? In what area is God calling you to let go of fearful control and trust in Him?
2. Go to God.
Immediately, take it to God. Confess your fear and ask Him to help you trust in Him. Only He can give you the faith, love and power to overcome a stronghold of fear. We can't do this on our own - we weren't designed to do anything apart from Him.
3. Call it what it is.
All fear is rooted in lies because it is from Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44). Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1-18); He is the Truth (John 14:6); He is the light (John 8:12, 1 John 1:5). Shed some Light on the darkness of fear. Call Satan a liar and grab hold of your faith in Jesus.
4. Fight back.
How do you fight Satan? With the Word of God. Speak Jesus over the fear that seeks to destroy your faith. Write out and proclaim Truth over the lies.
How often do you have to do this? Everytime. Everytime Satan seeks to sow distrust about the goodness and faithfulness of your God, you rebuke it and send it right back to hell where it came from! For me, it's several times throughout my day. Do I always remember to do this? No. Sometimes, I choose to dwell in the lies of the enemy. But, I pray, in Jesus' name, that God will help me to recognize the lies of the enemy and that He will expel the fear in my life with His perfect love.
Who's with me?
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