Fear is just plain awful. I really cannot think of a better word to describe it. As believers in Jesus for our salvation, we know that fear is not of God. The apostle Paul tells young pastor Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” The Greek word that “fear” is translated from in this verse seems to be related more to timidness as opposed to other instances in the New Testament that use “phobos” and “phobeo,” which are defined to be associated with alarm or fright.
Still, who wants to be timid in the service of God? I’m talking about fear that has its root in the wiles of that devil who is our enemy. The one who is seeking to steal from us, kill us and utterly destroy us by attempting to cause us to lose our faith (John 10:10). Fear is oppressive. It starts small and builds like the sound of applause. One person in an audience who starts clapping gets another to begin and soon a thunderous sound is heard. Fear starts out with an initial thought or feeling, and can build until it cripples our minds, bodies and spiritual lives.
Most fears are not rational either. They are just a whisper of the enemy who is trying to get us to believe something that God has not said. Fear can be based on potential or possibility, but the enemy is the one speaking and not God. For example, recently I was very afraid of surgery to remove my gallbladder. I knew I was saved, and that I have an eternity with God. However, I feared everything from having a guy with a knife cut into me while I was asleep to leaving my wife behind all alone.
That initial fear has given rise to my enemy trying to pound me with fear lately. I am telling it here because I am finding out I am not alone in experiencing this evil onslaught. The spiritual attack from our enemy on the church has been intense for some time now. I take it as an indication of God weeding out the church and strengthening the faithful who remain. Still, going through this valley is tough on us all.
Brother Frank Menhart Jr. told me that a verse he quoted when he was facing a fearful time reminded him of the truth that the devil is a liar. He said he would stand on the truth of John 8:44 where Jesus said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Fear is all about our enemy lying to us. He is desperate to get us to not live the abundant life Jesus promised (John 10:10). His goal is to get us to turn our backs on our faith in Christ. I know what fear feels like. I know what it can do to our bodies and our minds, and how it can wreak havoc in our spiritual lives.
We have to determine in ourselves to not fear a defeated enemy whose judgment has already been established. One day we will look on our defeated enemy and be amazed that we were ever afraid (Isaiah 14:12-18). We have to determine to give proper fear toward God understanding that it is not Satan, the world or any man that determines what happens to us, it is God (Luke 12:4-7).
Let us pray each other through these times so that we can be prepared to be a shining light to the lost.