Fear is something many of us struggle with. For some it’s a much greater struggle for others as panic/anxiety attacks are very destructive to our quality of life. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to see this extreme manifestation of fear a number of times so I know just how terrible they can be.
But I’ve also had the opportunity to see the Lord set people free from fear right in the middle of anxiety attacks through the power of His name! I know that the perfect peace of God can calm extreme stress, worry and dread instantly.
There are many different things that can be covered when talking about fear but I just want to focus on untangling two issues. The first deals with one of the avenues the spirit of fear can take to oppress us that is a little more subtle than others.
I was a very fearful person growing up. As I grew out of old fears I grew into new ones. I talk a lot more about my journey through fear in Life Resurrected. Some years ago the Lord set me free as He gave me revelation of His perfect love and I’ve been increasingly free ever since.
But the other day I was struggling. I had a knot in my stomach made up of nothing but worry and dread. Usually when I feel fear start to grip me I do a little warfare and it’s gone. I focus on the truth of God’s love and that’s that. But this was different. I couldn’t seem to shake it. I was under an intense attack and I didn’t know what to do about it.
So I did something I probably should have done much sooner. I asked God what was going on. Instantly the image of a person formed in my mind. This is a person I have a professional relationship with and so there is a significant connection. On this day I was constantly around this person. The Lord showed me that a spirit of fear was using that connection to oppress me.
So I broke the ungodly connection in the name of Jesus and commanded the spirit of fear to go again and there was an instant change. It was like someone poured a bucket of water on a fire as the worry and dread was completely extinguished. I could almost hear the sizzle as fear rapidly dissipated. Then peace filled me so completely I laughed out loud.
It was a good reminder how our adversary can work through the connections between people. It’s certainly reasonable by just thinking about how the attitudes of others can affect our attitude whether it be positive or negative. We don’t really need to understand things like soul-ties and such to understand and see this in action. Take a moment to think about your relationships with people and how they’ve been able to influence your attitude at different times and how yours have affected them.
So I encourage you to continue to be on guard in this area.
The second issue I’d like to briefly address is the fear we are supposed to have of God. This can sometimes get confusing and so I’d like to try and bring some clarity.
First of all, we know that God is love (1 John 4:8). There is no need to be afraid of someone we love. In fact Paul tells Timothy that fear does not come from God (1 Tim 1:7) and throughout the bible we are commanded not to fear many times.
But we do have passages, 2 I’d like to quickly discuss here, in which fear appears to be a good thing.
Proverbs 9:10 tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and Jesus tells us to fear God in Matthew 10:28. So what do we do with these passages and others like them?
I’ve got a couple comments:
1. Most agree that the best translation for the word fear used in the context passages like these represent is “revere” or “reverence”. But that doesn’t do us any good if we don’t really know what that means. So…
2. Webster defines the word “Revere” as “to have great respect for (someone or something) : to show devotion and honor to (someone or something)”
To have great respect and honor is not the same as being afraid. Jesus came to earth to accomplish a number of things and I think one of them was, and is, destroy the belief that God is to be feared. This lie is something that still keeps many from the throne room because they are afraid of His anger and displeasure.
I remember driving down the road one time just reflecting on some things when I heard God begin to speak to me about how our hearts would be radically changed if we could finally understand just how pleased and happy He is with us. Sure there are times our actions make Him angry but anger is not His normal. Joy and love and adoration and smiles and open arms. Those things are His normal. If we could truly grasp this we would never be afraid to enter His presence again even when facing correction.
If we walk in fear, no matter how we justify it, control will always be a part of our lives. We will control and be controlled and true freedom will always be unreachable. Jesus came to bring freedom. Jesus came to bring love. Jesus did not come to promote or establish fear.
Oh and Happy Good Friday!!
Jesse and Kara Birkey
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