"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4. The Apostle John is speaking to those individuals who belong to Jesus Christ. He addresses us as little children, which is a term of endearment; he goes on to admonish the brethren against dangers in the spiritual realm. John says “Ye are of God”, only those who are born again fall into this category. Because Christ has been victorious over His foes, we who belong to Him through faith can celebrate His victory over death as we too have victory. Therefore we have no reason to fear Christ’s foes. Why? We’ve been given the power to withstand them. That doesn’t mean Satan is through attacking believers. Quite the contrary, he is fully intent on crippling us in regards to our walk with Christ. How does he do this? His tactic is legendary because of its success.
Fear is the key to Satan’s flourishing but debilitating dark and sinister practices. Using fear as a weapon, Satan and his evil horde of minions have demonstrated enormous influence over the minds of many followers of Jesus Christ. Fear will ultimately eliminate the usefulness of a Christian in regards to their purpose which is to promote the Gospel to this lost world. Fear can weaken our resolve, while we are overcome with a sense of dread, terror, horror, which leads to panic in the face of adversity. Fear can freeze up our walk with Christ which is why fear is a preferred tool of the enemy.
Darkness instills fear, and the enemy is the lord of darkness. Just contemplating venturing out into the dark night can conjure up images in our minds of all sorts of ghouls and goblins. God never glorifies darkness. Why? Because it is the realm of the malevolent supernatural – ever wonder why we can’t see in the dark? Ever wonder why as soon as we switch on the light or the sun begins to peak over the horizon we then become at ease and relieved of fear? “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good:” Genesis 1:3-4a. God proclaims the light good. But try as we might we can’t find where God specifically declares the darkness as good. The Hebrew word “choshek”, translated into English as “darkness”, can also mean “obscurity, to obscure, or confuse”. From the word obscurity we get “gloom, spiritual unreceptively, and calamity”. Darkness breeds confusion; and that is Satan’s playground. This is where fear becomes enabled in our psyche.
Remember when I speak of Satan and his seeking to destroy us, I’m also referring to hordes of malevolent helpers he has at his disposal. Satan is not God, it’s impossible for him to work alone. When you give some thought to who he is you come to the conclusion that he is only a very poor excuse for a supernatural being. But like I said, his powers of persuasion are legendary.
Satan capitalizes on the fear factor in everyone, but especially in those who have given their lives to Christ. He maximizes fear to its highest level, this begins a process of eroding our confidence, which leads to an attitude of defeat. When fear is enabled, even for a moment, we become a person with a disability. Our “fearful” disabilities becomes a stronghold for the enemy, and consider this, the enemy never rests.
Fear can convince us to change course, take another path, even to persuade us to discontinue certain aspects of our Christian walk. Through fear the Christian can be consumed with doubt, doubt that will focus on the denial of what God has promised those who will keep the faith. As born again believers in Christ, God has placed His Holy Spirit within us. So really, what is there to fear? God is greater than any of His foes. His Holy Spirit is not a subset of a greater God, He is God.
Scary stuff will always arise in our lives, but it’s when we allow those scary things to manifest into fears to be inculcated into our minds that we are actually permitting the enemy a firm hold on our lives. The demonic supernatural presence surrounding us knows full well how fear cripples. Most people will attempt to dismiss any thought of demons as pure myth and will relegate anyone who believes in the demonic to the realm of lunatics on the fringe of society. This is, of course, exactly what Satan wants. Christians should know better.
“Fear not” is a phrase which is given numerous times in the scriptures as an admonishment to encourage us. Yet many Christians become overwhelmed with fear to the point that they are stricken with mental paralysis. Why? As believers in Christ we need not be fearful of anything worldly nor should we fear the supernatural. People tell me that they, at times, have been too afraid to speak up for Jesus. This fear is one of perception; they fear those who don’t believe. They fear being mocked, ridiculed, or subjected to some other form of mental persecution.
Do you love Him? Seriously, do you love Him? Would you even have to think twice about standing up for your spouse or children? No! We would be fearless in such a case. Why then, when the world threatens our family are we fully prepared to defend them but in the case of someone attacking our greatest love, our glorious blessed Hope (Jesus the Christ) do we remain silent? Because Satan has already established a stronghold of fear in the lives of many of Jesus’ followers?
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;” Luke 21:25. The above verse is a small example of what people will be experiencing in the last days before the Lords return, days which will be filled with perplexity. Perplexity causes men to become confused and disorientated, unable to make decisions. Which causes them to have doubts about which way to go. The very next verse tells it all “Men's hearts failing them for fear,” Luke 21:26. Perplexity leads to fear, which leads to the failing of hearts.
The poisonous darts of the enemy will increase in the last days and those who have rejected the Lord Jesus will become a powerful resource for the enemy to draw from. A state of fear placed upon the “in Christ” believer will only serve the enemy in these last days. When God says “fear not” He’s telling us we have nothing to fear as we are His children. God delights in lighting our paths as He guides us through the darkness.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me...” Psalm 23:4. Who can forget the 23rd Psalm; most of us have it memorized. It is a comfort to repeat it, even more so in the face of adversity. We fear no evil. Why? Because thou art with us, O God. Jesus is the rock and shield for all those who follow Him. When the enemy attacks, Jesus is our strength because carnal weapons will do us no good. When we are compassed about by the enemy and his minions who revel in darkness, God and His holy angels are with us, but in numbers of such magnitude the enemy doesn’t stand a chance. At that point the enemy cowers and makes a speedy retreat. God will never walk away from a fight to protect His children.
If we allow doubt to creep in through fear the enemy finds an easy target to destroy. Destruction of the human race is what the enemy is all about. By filling the children of God with fear, the enemy will facilitate his goal of convincing many to follow him straight into Hell. The more fearful Christians are the less promoting of the Gospel gets accomplished.
We who follow Jesus with all our heart are His emissaries. As such we carry a message from God to be delivered to anyone who God chooses to place in our path. That message is a message of hope. No matter how tough it gets while we sojourn this world we mustn’t allow fear to dominate us or we will be consumed with it and doubt will be a natural outcropping. We are told to hold fast to the faith. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” Hebrews 10:23.
Here’s a little reminder I believe is appropriate at this juncture. Neglecting the study of God’s word, leaves us wide open for the enemy’s shenanigans. Satan will dominate the life of a believer when that believer ignores God. God speaks to us through His word. We can never overcome fear unless we trust God and rely on His inerrant word. Disobedient children are always going to run into problems or obstacles that seem insurmountable because they’ve lost their focus on their greatest love. I assure you, true Bible study will turn into a habit that you will love and never break.
Jesus unabashedly tells His disciples what fear is – it’s a lack of faith. “And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” Mark 4:40. In this verse Jesus tells His disciples that they are faithless. There is nothing resembling faith in their actions as they allowed the fear of perishing to consume them. At that point in time His disciples still hadn’t recognized who Jesus really was, but today His followers know exactly who He is, fear and doubt should be the furthest thing from our minds.
“Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear:” Psalm 27:3. David was a man who at various times was surrounded by his enemies, yet we’ve learned that he was also a man who was fully reliant on God for his strength. David was fearless as he stood up for his God. How can we be any less fearless as we stand up for Christ, after all, are we not children of the Most High God? The malevolent armies that surround us, relentless as they are, are in battle with the Lord of all creation. Although they pursue us with an unholy determination to destroy us, as we move into the mode of combatant we must always remember that the actual physical battle belongs to the Lord. Our weapon of choice is prayer.
“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7. Here we’re told that those who belong to the Lord have nothing to fear from God’s enemies. Why? We are encompassed round about by a multitude of godly angels and they are here for the guarding of the saints – we’re protected on every side. The battle rages, the enemy is relentless, but he is powerless against obedient godly angels.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. There is no room for fear in the life of a born again believer “in Christ” – fear only leads to an unfulfilled life. “Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.” Lamentations 3:57.
By Ron Graham