What is fear and how do we get it? What are the results of fear in our lives?
This is fresh on my mind, although I am very tired right now. I decided to write this while I was experiencing a moment of fear, so, hopefully I will be able to communicate well.
I went to bed around 2 a.m., and was awoken around 6 or so, in the morning. Sleep was restless, and my body was tense. It was hard to go back to sleep, and my mind was actively at work.
For years, I have had terrifying feelings during the night, and I never really understood what was happening and why, but now I have a little bit of insight, thanks to some of my friends I have met in the past four years.
As I am getting to know different people, I am learning about the supernatural realm and how the devil gets a foothold into our lives, and then we are caught in sin or we suffer (or both). Let me explain in more detail of how this works and what it looks like.
I knew a woman who lived in terror. She was so afraid of everything, and there were reasons for this. She was raised in a home where the family worshiped the devil. The parents and other participating adults practiced Satanic Ritual Abuse on this woman when she was a child. While this was happening, she was forced to make pacts with the devil or they would punish or kill her. As a child, she didn't really understand the depth of what was going on, but because she was treated with terror, by default, she opened the door to fear in her life. Now as a believer in Jesus Christ, she is able to be delivered from fear and especially the fear of tyranny. Unfortunately, for reasons I can't go into right now, she chose to stay in fear.
As a little girl, she opened the door for the devil to gain a foothold into her life. As a believer in Jesus Christ, she could have been set free from that bondage. Unless she desires to be set free from it, fear will continue to be her constant companion.
When I was awakened this morning, fearful thoughts came to my mind. I was thinking of the terrors that another friend went through, who also was in a family who practiced Satanic Ritual Abuse. While listening to her stories as she unfolded them to me, all I could think of was how badly a person would have been affected by having been in this realm. For example, she married a man who had a daughter from a previous relationship, and the husband's family was giving him a birthday party. By this time, my friend and her husband had a child of their own. They were all at this party, and they watched as the stepdaughter was offered as a human sacrifice. The husband was never mentally stable after this, and understandably so. He had come to know the Lord as a younger man, but once this incident happened, he ended up in a severe depression which he never came out of, and eventually died from a drug overdose.
I was also thinking about how people in many countries around the world, where the Gospel is not available, are demon possessed. Who is there to deliver them? How terrifying their lives must be. I cannot even imagine. I am having a hard time imagining living like that, then dying and living in hell for eternity. I know this is heavy, and I have to write this to help my readers understand what I am trying to say about fear.
I don't know about you, but when I think about these things, I begin to be afraid. I tend to put myself in the shoes of other people and try to imagine what they are going through. It doesn't seem fair at times. Life has thrown many people a 'curve ball'. It's not like they decided to go off one day and hate God and choose to follow the devil. They were caught in these situations because they were made to make decisions based upon fear. I am struggling with this, as I'm sure you might be. I understand when we open the door to the devil, he gains a foothold, but what about those who don't know how to resist the devil? How can we know his tactics and how can we prepare to protect ourselves from his schemes?
But then it came to me. I was taking a class on Biblical counseling and David Powlison was the teacher. I learned a lot from these classes and they are helpful, not only for me to be helping other people, but also for me to be helped myself. If the word 'fear' ever came up, I had always heard that it is because of unbelief and that you need to repent of the unbelief. But there are all kinds of fears we get ourselves into or find ourselves dealing with. Without realizing it, we have given the devil opportunities to create fear in our lives, whether it be fear of loss, fear of rejection, fear of the future, fear of pain, or whatever kind of fear it is. How do we undo this? David Powlison explains that God knows we have fear. Several times in the Bible, God tells us not to be afraid. "Fear not" God says. I remembered that as I had a dizzy spell and was thinking of all these thoughts this morning around 6:30 or so. God doesn't want us to be afraid, and God doesn't condemn us because we are afraid. He encourages us to turn to Him in trust. If we fail to do that, then we sin against Him. We don't have to be afraid of the Enemy of our souls. He will work fear into our thinking if we allow him to do so.
When Jesus died on the Cross, He died, not only to take our sins away, but there is more to this than we understand. He did die to take our sins away, but He also died to disarm the Powers of Darkness. They didn't realize when they incited people to kill the King of Kings, that they were really digging their own graves. If they did know that was going to happen, they would not have worked in such a way. God is always bigger than the devil, and we have to remember that. We need to become familiar with Scriptures as well. The devil has to bow at the Scriptures. He knows Scripture better than any of us, but his version is twisted and we need to know the untwisted version of what he is saying, in order to counteract what he is saying.
My friend, whose stepdaughter was given as a human sacrifice, had told me several horror stories of when she and her husband were married. The Enemy did many things to torment them. She was saying that it was too bad that they didn't know anything about spiritual warfare or how to put on the armor of God. I wonder how things would have been different if they did know about spiritual warfare.
The goal of fear is doubt. The devil uses many things to get us to doubt God. He will lie to us. He will take truths of the Scriptures and point out things we don't understand, and will cause us to be afraid. Could that be the reason God says 'Fear not' so many times in His word? If we take those lies that the devil is feeding us, we will begin to distrust God. We will question God and doubt His love for us. Eventually, we will stop trusting God, because we become afraid of those things which we do not understand.
The antidote to fear is faith. How do we get 'faith'? Faith comes by hearing God's word. Faith grows as we learn more about who God is. God's love casts out fear. Those who are in fear are not made perfect in God's love. The more time we spend with God, the less fear will have a grip on our lives. It will not hold us anymore. We will be able to rest in peace as we wait upon God and listen to Him as He speaks to us. Knowing God's word will help us counteract fear for many reasons, and it will help build trust in God, as we get to know Him better.
Perhaps you have never come to the place in your life where you have realized that your sins have separated you from God, and maybe you have never understood your need for a Savior. You will not be able to overcome fear until you surrender to God. When you place your trust in the only One who can take away your sins and make you a new creation in Christ, then you will never have to be afraid any more. When times of fear come, you can turn to God and call out to Him for help. It is ok to ask God to help you not be afraid. It is not ok to try to overcome fear without the power of God in one's life.
For more information on the Gospel and how to know God, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com