- Category: Spiritual Warfare
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Overcoming Your Fears
As we live out our faith we soon learn being a follower of Christ is not for the timid. We find we have very real spiritual enemies who oppose our life of faith. They attack from within, and attempt to insert themselves into the way we think. Their goal is to change the way see God, people, ourselves, and control how we respond to all of life. Once this happens our own personality can be our greatest problem.
One enemy, who is particularly ugly, and one we all face, is the enemy of fear. It can, and must, be overcome in order to live a wholesome and overcoming Christian life. To be clear, overcoming fear is not about never again experiencing the emotions of fear. Overcoming fear means that, within our being, we no longer give fear a ruling position. We give God (His Word) the ruling position within our mind, and over all of our life: our faith, our behavior, our decisions, and over our emotional/spiritual health. Paul told Timothy (2Timothy 1:-6-7) to “stir up the gift of God that is within him "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” That was true for Timothy and it is true for every follower of Christ.
Paul's reasoning in the above scripture is that since God did not give Timothy a spirit of fear then he should not allow fear to rule his life and ministry. The same is true for every believer. We should not bow to fear, but stand against it, because His Word says that He has given His people, not fear, but power, love, and a sound mind. Fear is not to be a controlling influence in our lives because God, through His Spirit, and His Word, strengthens His people to defeat the spirit of fear.
Fearful people are not happy people. Their joy is stolen, their courage is taken, and their spiritual gifting diminished. Remember Paul's admonition to Timothy. Timothy's gifting had become ineffective because fear was preaching and Timothy was listening. Fearfulness robs a person of their faith, their courage, and robs a person of their willingness to be whom God has called them to be. In addition, fear robs a person of self-respect for they never fully live out their God given potential. God has called His people to be Salt and Light, to be His Witnesses, to live fruitful, overcoming, and holy lives. But often, rather than overcoming, Christians find themselves being overcome by the lying torments of fear.
Fear is a particularly powerful enemy because of its ability to capture the mind through intimidation. Once the mind is captured then our faith, our courage, and our willingness to be led by the Word of God is diminished. If through fear we are not being led by the Word of God, then fear has effectively compromised our life. If we act on fear, then fear multiplies by giving birth to new seeds of fear. These new seeds are then planted within our mind and produce even more fearfulness. We reap what we sow. If the message of fear is believed, and then acted upon, it becomes engraved into our personality and evolves into a major spiritual stronghold. Once fear becomes a spiritual stronghold, it can be defeated only by the Spirit and Word of God.
We will never come to the place that we no longer feel the emotions of fear but we can come to the place that fear no longer rules over our mind. God gives power, love, and a sound mind which are the character traits foundational to emotional and spiritual health. Fear is formidable, but is not more powerful than Christ. If we will learn to be the person God has called us to be then we can walk in victory over all the lies of fearfulness.
To overcome a giant we have to kill it. This seems obvious but if true then why do we allow giants to torment us, why not just kill them. The reason is simple - they're big, they're powerful, they're ugly, and in the natural, they appear invincible. We may have previously attempted to overcome fear only to learn giants do not easily die. We can learn from David the secret of killing giants. David fought in the Name of the Lord and consequently killed Goliath. It was not David, or his slingshot, that killed Goliath but David and his slingshot, when empowered by the Spirit of God, were strengthened to kill Goliath. Human effort alone never works against spiritual giants. We are promised victory but we have to learn how to win. It is important to understand there are two parts to the giant of fear.
The Emotional Part is what we feel. The sick feeling, the anxiety, the torment, these are the emotional parts of fear. We cannot make ourselves not feel the emotions of fear. We can try with medications, eating, shopping, TV, sleeping, or other techniques, but these are only temporary and will not provide an ongoing inner strength to overcome fear. Temporary measures will not allow a person to be healthy within themselves; temporary measures will not allow an inward wholeness that flows from the work of Christ in us. We want a work of grace within the heart that delivers from the bondage of fear, which is our birthright in Christ (2Tim. 1:7). We do not want to be dependent on people or things that only mask the problem. As followers of Christ we are given a sound mind and are called to be conformed to Christ. Think about where your life will be, or can be, if you will kill this giant of fear.
The Message.If we carefully listen, fear has a message; it speaks a message to our mind, it speaks a false reality in which we “feel” our safety and security are severely threatened. However, when one tries to identify exactly the reason for their fear, they find it difficult to clearly state why they are afraid. For example, we might not want to meet new people. Look at the following conversation between Friend and Fear.
Friend – Why don’t you want to attend the event?
Fear - Well, I just don’t want to go.
Friend - Why?
Fear – I don’t want to go because it makes me uncomfortable.
Friend – Why would you be uncomfortable?
Fear – I may not know anybody.
Friend – So what?
Fear – If I don’t know people then I get uncomfortable.
Friend – Why?
Fear – I don’t know how they will respond to me.
Friend – Why is that so important to you?
Fear – I don’t know why that’s so important to me.
Friend - So, it’s easier to not go?
Fear – Yes, it just easier to not go.
The above example is simple but very common. You notice the person with the fear never really understands the exact reason for their fear. The ugly reality is that, if we will not drill down and uncover the reasons for our fear, then we probably will never find victory. The "achilles heel" (weakness) of fear is that it is based on, and speaks, a lie; it does not give us an accurate picture of biblical truth but perverts, confuses, and distorts biblical truth. As people of faith we cannot allow ourselves to coexist with lies, but using the Word of God, we uncover lies and defeat them.
The Word tells us that "The fear of man bringeth a snare (a spiritual noose): but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe, Prov. 29:25. In the above example the fearful person is actually afraid of people and their opinions. They are afraid they might not measure up; they might be embarrassed. They might not be held in esteem; they may be disliked. People at the event may be more attractive, better dressed, more educated, or possess better social skills. These all have their root in the fear of man and the pride of life; each a powerful source of spiritual bondage.
Christ calls us to be whom He has made us to be. We are not to be afraid, or ashamed, of our appearance, our economic status, our social skills, our verbal skills, our IQ, or our past. To be healthy we have to be who we are, in Christ. Our new self-image and our new self-respect flow from the love of our Father and our new identity in Christ. The old person is crucified with Christ and we are now a new creation, created in Christ Jesus. Old things are passed away, all things are become new. When we walk in fear then we are going back to our old self-image, our old self-life of fear and shame. Instead of becoming the new, we allow fear to keep us in the old way of bondage and turmoil.
If we are willing to listen, fear will talk us out of the blessings of God. The half-truths of fear will probe our fleshly nature until it finds a sensitive area, a soft spot, some message or argument to which we respond. Once we start listening and believing its message, then fear wins.
The Word of God. Fear finds protection and power from within our fleshly nature; fear does not speak from the platform of truth. We are called to put off the old fearful thinking and put on the new way of courage and strength. In our battle with fear, and other emotional giants, we oppose, and defeat them with the truth of God's Word. One thing to remember about giants. They win, not because they are more powerful, but because we do not fight them. If we will fight the giants of fear with the Sword of the Spirit we will win. Killing giants It is not easy, and will never be easy. But if we are determined to live by the Word of God then we can become a giant killer. If we will learn to confront the giants of fear at the moment they begin to speak, and not let their voice grow, then we will become skilled at killing giants. In fact, if we will learn to use the Word of God, then we can develop a lifestyle of giant killing. Think about it, what kind of a person will you be, what kind of a life will you have, if you become a giant killer?
Prayer. We pray the truth until we have the victory. Fervently pray the Word of God. Say what God says. Rather than agreeing with fear learn to come into agreement with God! This is warfare and we are called to live out the victories Christ has given to us. We take no prisoners. If we pray according to the will and Word of God, the Lord has promised to hear and answer our prayers. We are told that no weapon formed against us will prosper. We are told to be strong and courageous and to live by the Word of God. Here's the rub: to live by the Word of God means we have to kill giants - because giants oppose the Word of God. So, tell yourself the truth about your calling - "I am called to be a giant killer." To overcome these lying giants we identify their lies, and using the Word of God, we grind them (lies) to dust.
Train yourself to win. Learn to pray and learn to challenge the lying messages of fear. Forcefully challenge the message of fear in prayer. Fears rule, not because of their actual strength, but because we refuse to challenge and fight their lying message. Faith is stronger than fear and the essence of faith is that we "live by" the Word of God. Faith will stop the fiery darts of fear.
Today, determine to overcome every fear by using the Word of God to confront the messages of fear.
God bless you,
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