I have noticed a recent trend on social media and the news: FEAR. Most of the fear is surrounding Ebola entering our borders. But, there is always something on the news or events happening in our lives or the lives of those around us that could cause us to be fearful: issues with our health, not having job security, the health and welfare of our children, anxieties and phobias, etc., etc. etc.
For years I struggled with fear. As a child, I feared the boogey-man. I remember lying awake at night, not being able to sleep because I was afraid of the dark, of something underneath my bed or that someone was going to come and get me. Often times, I would end up in one of my sister’s beds. (It was a blessing having four sisters to choose from). 🙂
When Aaron and I moved from sleepy ol’ Pocatello, Idaho to the Seattle-Tacoma area in 1998, that fear got a grip on me once again. I was bed ridden for months because of the hyperemesis gravidarum I experienced during pregnancy. So, I would sit and watch T.V. including the news 2-3 times per day. Going from pretty mild news reports to news about rapes and murders (some happening very close by, like just down the street) gripped me with fear. I began to fear someone breaking into our apartment and couldn’t sleep well at night. Then, when our first child was born, it continued into being concerned something would happen to her.
This continued on for years and only progressed when we moved into our first house in an area that would eventually have issues with drug related crimes, thefts and break-ins, etc.
I had faith, I believed in God and deep down I knew He would protect us. But, I couldn’t shake that grip that fear had on me. I would pray over our house, walk around and pray over our property, etc, etc. But, nothing seemed to help the fear subside.
I bought a little picture of an angel guarding a child’s bed and every night began to recite the passage that was printed on it: Psalms 4:8, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” I had been reading, “The Power of a Praying Parent” by Stormie Omartian and would read the chapter on fear not just for my daughter, but for ME. It was pretty humbling. I tried to read other books on fear, but they all dealt with things such as stage fright, asking for a raise, etc. Those are still very real and debilitating fears, but I felt like I was the only person who was fearing for my life. (I saw Joyce Meyer has a new book on fear. I’m curious to read it. I bet that’s a great resource).
Looking back, I really cannot believe the way I was living. I was truly a prisoner to my own mind and emotions. On top of the fear, I was dealing with so many other “issues.” God began to slowly peel away at those issues one by one. But, it truly took FAITH to overcome the FEAR.
The first step I took (after reading the Scriptures on fear and praying) was getting a little booklet on fear that actually opened my eyes to how fear works. For some reason, reading, “Freedom From Fear” by Kenneth Copeland made that little lightbulb in my brain turn on. I had that “Aha” moment. In the booklet, Copeland explains the law of reciprocals (“corresponding, but reversed or inverted” principles) that are discussed in Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Understanding that fear is just faith perverted (by Satan) opened my eyes. Satan is “limited to the forces of the world.” He cannot create or come up with new ideas. He just perverts the spiritual laws that are already in place. “Sin was not a new law. It was righteousness perverted. Death was life perverted. Hate was love perverted. Fear was faith perverted (pg. 5).” In the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve sinned, the first words Adam spoke to God were, “I was afraid.” Genesis 3:10. The enemy is here to steal, kill and destroy. So, he took the faith that Adam had and it was turned to fear. I love where Kenneth Copeland writes, “The counterfeit never is as powerful as the real thing” (pg. 7). Therefore, we know that when we put faith to work, “it will always overcome fear.”
In our Christian walk, we have to walk by faith. In doing so, we have to know the Word of God and stand on its (His) principles. We have to know that Satan is under our feet because of what Jesus has done for us (as believers, we are free from every part of the curse). So, why do we allow him to pull us around on strings of fear, worry, anxiety, depression, etc? Yes, we are physical beings and will have physical problems. But, God is bigger than any of our problems. And…He has put other people, counselors, doctors (and sometimes modern medicine) here on earth to help us walk through some of the pains of life. (I’ll talk about my feelings on that a bit more in another post) 🙂 However, the best resource He has given us is His word. We can’t just read it, we have to believe it and apply it. We have to speak it and believe what we are saying. When we speak it, we must remember the authority that we have through Jesus and speak it with confidence, not with a question mark at the end.
As believers, we must hold our (negative) thoughts captive. Then, we must renew our minds with the Word of God. I will share some of my favorite passages below. There are 365 references in the Bible that say or address, “Do not fear.” Or as our Youth Pastor Terry said, one do not fear for every day of the year!!! (I LOVE that!!)
After I read that booklet, I knew that things were beginning to change in my thought life. But, it wasn’t until a women’s retreat (my first retreat with Inspiration Bible Church) I truly became free and broke off the chains of fear. I had gone to get away and enjoy myself (and of course for the great teaching I would receive). But, I didn’t realize it would be life changing. I went away still battling the demons of fear, but left them in Cannon Beach along with hurts, bitterness, worry and the rest of the enemy’s lies he had been telling me at that time. I was freed and in turn I bound the enemy in the name of Jesus because WE have the AUTHORITY to do that (once again because of what Jesus did for us).
A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.
The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me? (NASB)
Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear (reverence) only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. NLT
V. 30 & 31, But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
Hebrews 2:14 & 15
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.