After listening, if you would like to share this audio post, scroll down to see how
Fear is born of Satan, and if we would only take time to think a moment we would see that everything Satan says is founded upon a falsehood. ~ A. B. Simpson
I had this thought the other day. I thought, What if we were really free from fear? How would that change our lives and help us step into the purpose and plan God has for us?
Fear is so debilitating. That’s what one of my friends said to me the other day. She’s right, and I think the fears we have play a much bigger part in shaping our reactions to people and things than any of us fully understand.
Life just speeds by and we do what we can to live in this world with as much normalcy as possible, but God has such great plans for us. He wants to dig deep into our soul, helping us come to terms with the fears in our lives so we can fulfill His purposes.
This year is a big year for me to get really established in who I am in Christ. I see it as something positive although it has been kind of painful. I can feel God digging down in my soul, pulling stuff up and throwing it out, saying, let’s get rid of this, it’s based out of fear, and let’s get rid of that, that’s based out of fear. It’s like He wants to clean that area of my life up and it’s not always pleasant since these are things that have been false props in my life.
The Holy Spirit knows exactly how to prepare us to fulfill our calling, but the devil is right there constantly throwing darts of fear at us, always trying to get us to curl up on the side of the road of life and tempting us to quit. God has made it very clear to me that He wants me going forward this year, not backward, and I know that is possible if I keep my eyes on Him.
Fear causes us to really do some odd things. Take me for instance. During the first few months of 2013 I developed a bad habit of staying up very late at night, more likely early in the morning, and even more often than I’d like to admit, all night long.
I always made sure I got some sleep, but staying up until 5am in the morning and getting up at 8am was happening far too often. I didn’t need any energy drinks to do this because I just have this extreme amount of energy that enables me to pull this off.
But when I did get sleepy, which I certainly did at some point in the night, then I would turn to chocolate to help keep me awake. Funny thing is, I don’t even like chocolate that much, but it does wake me up.
I had something very scary happen to me recently. I got up after staying up all night and only sleeping for a few hours and felt like I was in some kind of black hole all day long. I do not get depressed and am normally a more bubbly person, but I got a real compassion that day for what people must go through who experience depression. That was one of the scariest things I have ever been through because I could not seem to get out of that black hole for anything.
I prayed a lot that day because to be honest, it was really scary. I definitely learned a good lesson out of it about the dangers I was placing myself under by forcing myself to stay up all hours of the night and live on very little sleep.
Why in the world would I do this to myself? Fear…A gripping fear that if I didn’t keep up with life when everyone was in bed, my life would unravel and I would never catch up.
I am a homeschool mom and my girls’ education is very important to me so I spend a decent amount of time with them in regards to their schoolwork each day, although they are becoming more and more independent in their studies all the time.
Still yet, I like to review everything with them to make sure I know exactly where they are at with each of their subjects and this takes longer than you would think. Really, what I have discovered, is that just about everything in life takes longer than what we think it will.
So somewhere in the midst of being a wife, mom, homeschool mom, extra curricular activities, church, cooking, cleaning, office work, grocery shopping, laundry, errands, writing, keeping good relationships with my family and friends etc., etc, etc; I let a spirit of fear convince me that if I just stayed up late one more night, then I would catch up. The only problem is, it only lasted for a short time and then I needed to do it again and again.
Of course I did not do this every night, but I did it far too often. I may not need the same amount of sleep as some people and may stay up late some nights, but when I start doing jumping jacks at 2 am in the morning in the middle of my living room floor or eating chocolate that I am not even hungry for in hopes that these things will jolt me awake, I think it’s safe to say fear is ruling me in that area of my life.
Just because we can do something it doesn’t mean we should be doing it.
Interestingly enough, one of the things the lack of sleep would do to me is affect my emotions in a negative way the next day and I would have to fight off fear even more. So I was staying up all night to get my list done so I could feel peaceful, but since I was working my own plan and not God’s, I was actually more fearful and less peaceful.
Duh, I should have known that I couldn’t go with that little sleep and feel normal. But that is exactly why fear is so deceptive. I just kept fearfully thinking, once I get caught up, I won’t have to do this anymore. The fear was debilitating, just like my friend said.
Several people helped me put together a list of fears that they have gone through in the past or are currently working through now. Here are their comments:
I Fear for my safety (this friend has had a person stalking her)
I Fear the disapproval of man
I Fear I’m not being pleasing to my husband in the area of weight
I Fear I’m not getting enough work done
I Fear I’m saying the wrong things
I Fear the dark
I Fear being alone
I Fear that my marriage will never be good
I Fear that I will not pass my college classes
I Fear confrontation with people
I Fear speaking in front of a large crowd of people
One of my friends who emailed me, lived through a terrible tragedy. She told me her daughter was killed instantly in a car accident when she was 16 years old and this mom had a horrible fear for a long time that her other kids would also die. She said she still deals with this fear today, although it is not as strong as it used to be.
All these fears I just named came from only five people so this gives you an idea of the power of this emotion in people’s lives. Although we all go through fears and in some cases are even gripped with them, it’s not something people talk about a lot.
For one thing, many of us don’t stop long enough to even realize the fears that are behind many of our behaviors. I know I didn’t for a long time, but within the past year I have started paying close attention and it is very interesting to track my wrong behaviors back to fears I am experiencing.
Wrong believing leads to wrong behaviors, but the good news is, right believing leads to right behaviors and you and I always have the opportunity to pray that God will help us get our believing right!
You see, last year I really got a powerful revelation on the grace of God; not as one message, not as a subject, but grace as the person of Jesus Christ in my life. I was going strong for many months, really placing all my trust in Christ, but of course the devil is going to do everything he can possibly think of to get our eyes off of Jesus because he knows full well the power we will walk in when we keep our focus on Jesus.
The devil is ok with us glancing at Jesus as long as we are spending most of our time gazing at our problems. But what we really need to be doing is glancing at our problems and gazing at Jesus!
The definition of gaze is: to look steadily and intently, as with great curiosity, interest,
pleasure, or wonder!
During those months following my newfound understanding of God’s grace, I experienced the Holy Spirit helping me with my schedule in such amazing ways, that I would just stand in awe of how everything was working out. I would often say, wow, look at everything that got accomplished today. There is no way I could have pulled that off in my own strength!
But then somewhere along the line I started trusting in myself again in this particular area and started working my own plan of how to keep up with everything. I stopped relying as heavily on Jesus as I had before and I got the same result that I always get when I do this….frustration. In this case, frustration regarding my schedule.
I like this scripture in Romans that likens us to slaves when we live under a spirit of fear. Even though we are not slaves or servants, but sons and daughters of the King, we can live like we are when we forget Who our Heavenly Father is and that He is always watching over us.
Romans 8:15 says,
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, Abba, Father. (NLT)
My friend who had a serious situation with someone who had mental problems and was stalking her said this. The fear still attempts to come upon me, and when it does, I stop and remember how the Lord has protected me from her so many times. He reminds me that I need to trust Him to continue to do that over and over again, instead of trusting my fear to keep me alert of the danger.
This is really what we all have to do when the temptation to fear comes our way. For example, I could say something like this regarding my work load: I have what seems like a huge pile of work here, but I know if I trust You Father, You will show me how to get it done without having to stay up all night. I can remain at rest in Your ability in me.
We have to keep reminding ourselves that we are who we are in Christ and that we are not less of a person because we have gained weight, said something that someone misunderstood, failed a college class, or a whole host of other things that may try to fearfully dictate to us our worth and value.
We can be real strong in trusting God in one area and succumb to fear in another area. I have a very strong faith in the area of finances and my husband Steve has a very strong faith in the area of our children.
I can believe without having to fight off any doubt that God will always provide for us in everything, but have had some fears where my parenting is concerned and need to intentionally place my trust in Jesus in this area more. Unbelief in this particular area has, on many occasions, caused me to wonder if I am really doing enough as a parent to ensure that my kids will turn out ok as adults.
Steve is just the opposite. He has struggled more with unbelief in the area of our finances but he is real confident that our girls will turn out just fine.
There are two ways to live and we all choose one or the other in every decision we make. We can either live by trying in our own strength to make our life work or we can trust in Jesus (Who is Grace) to make our life work.
I can honestly say that all the areas in my life where I am placing my trust in Jesus are areas where I am living in rest, even if everything is not happening exactly the way I want it to right at the moment. I still have an assurance that God is working everything, even the hard things, out for my good. (see Romans 8:28)
On the other hand, all the areas in my life where I am placing my trust in my own strength and ability are areas where I am frustrated on a regular basis.
Stop and take a few minutes and think about your own life and you will find this is true of you as well. It’s good for us to pay attention to this so that we can intentionally put our trust back in Christ again in those areas where we have gotten side-tracked.
The second half of 1 Peter 5:5 has been the story of my life:
God resists the proud, but shows favor to the humble. (GNT)
The first part of my life, even though I was Born Again, I lived pretty much independently of God and would constantly over-ride the Holy Spirit. Let me say that again. I was a Christian, praying, reading the Bible and confessing the Word, but had almost all of my dependence on me, myself and I. Thankfully, after 42 years of living in deception in this area, I am now depending on Jesus’ unmerited favor to carry me through, but I know I need to stand fast in the freedom for which Christ has set me free because my flesh still tries to get a word in edge-wise whenever it can.
Following Jesus and receiving grace is a conscious decision and one we have to decide to make on purpose. I have made this decision in general, but I still need to receive more grace for certain situations when I am tempted to try to work everything out in my own strength.
The Bible says several things I want to mention regarding this. First in Acts 13:43 Paul and Barnabas urged the people to continue to rely on the grace of God. The Message says, they urged them in long conversations to stick with what they’d started, this living in and by God’s grace.
Then in Galatians 5:1 the Bible says this under the following heading:
Preserve Your Freedom
Freedom is what we have Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again. (GNT)
How do we do this? In verse 16 of chapter 5 Paul says that we should let the Spirit direct our lives! I guarantee you that the Holy Spirit was NOT directing me to stay up all night long.
What I had done is stopped relying on the Spirit of Grace in this area and set up a law for myself. Then I became a slave to that law. I was living outside of the grace of God in this area, but thankfully only for a few months and not years this time.
So I totally got out of step with the Spirit and now I am back in step. I recognized my reliance on myself; thought, no, no, no, I don’t want to live this way anymore, and turned around and headed in the opposite direction, guided by the Spirit. Of course, when we do what we do led by the Spirit an immediate calm accompanies us in that area of our life.
I wholeheartedly believe that God wants His people to be free from fear, otherwise He wouldn’t have said it over an over in the old and new testament.
2 Timothy 1:7 says,
For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (YLT)
1 John 4:18 says,
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. (NASB) ____________________________________________
Deuteronomy 31:6 says,
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. (NLT)
Psalm 27:1 says,
The Lord is my light and my salvation so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble? (NLT)
Psalm 56:3-4 says,
3 When I am afraid, O Lord Almighty,
I put my trust in You.
4 I trust in God and am not afraid;
I praise Him for what He has promised.
What can a mere human being do to me?
What would happen if we were really free from fear? How much more could God use us for His glory? How much more could He do in our lives if we truly believed? I, for one, am planning on finding out and I hope you will join me because living by faith instead of fear makes life absolutely invigorating. Fear was never part of God’s plan from the very beginning of time, but entered in when Adam and Eve chose sin. But Jesus came and restored us back to God’s original plan, so let’s start telling those fears to take a hike and live the way God has always intended for us to live! Fearless!
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!