All my life, I've struggled with fear. Fear of being left. Of being inadequate. Of being despised. Hated. Harmed. Late. The list goes on. Who hasn't had fears? They're a part of life, we're told.
But they don't have to be! The words "fear not" or "do not be afraid" appear in the Bible at least 103 times. Some people say there are 365 instances of it - enough for one each day of the year! But I've yet to find that out. Either way, it is clear that fear (aside from fear of the Lord Himself) is not of God, but instead of evil.
I read this quote yesterday, and I think it is so true!
|The devil is the deceiver - the illusionist. If he can make us|
fear something, and prevent us from doing it, he can make
us less effective for the Lord. That is his main purpose.
One of my all time favourite quotes on fear/temptation is below. I think this is such a great one!
|"When the devil comes knocking at your|
door, simply say "Jesus, it's for You." ~ Robin
I was reading Luke 4 - the temptation of Jesus this morning. Something that struck me was the way Jesus responded to the devil each time He was tempted by him. Each time, He starts with "It is written:", then quotes Scripture at the devil. And eventually, the devil gives up and leaves Him.
If Jesus, our Lord and Saviour responds to temptation with Scripture, shouldn't we be doing that too? It made me think that I really need to memorise more of God's word - not only for times of trial, but also just to pray with and to speak out during every day life. Someone once told me that the Bible is God's love-letter to the church. It is our manual for life, and our link with our Creator. We should value the content of it SO much more. I think there's a lot of truth it that!
I've recently started suffering from extremely random panic attach moments. I'll be totally fine, and then the next moment, I'm gripped by fear. I pray, remind myself of Bible verses and then I'm alright again. I'm not quite sure why it's been happening, other than that I've been working on getting my life on track for the Lord, leading up to my marriage, and perhaps the devil doesn't want that to happen...
I was once told that the best way to see how evil is influencing your life is to ask yourself "If I were the devil, how would I tempt or try me, in order to prevent me from being effective for God?". Asking myself that, I know that making me fear is one of the most effective ways to get in the way of my own service. Easy. Just make me scared and I'm less effective.
But it doesn't end there. Jesus. At the Cross, He shed His blood to free me from the fears of this life, and to give me an everlasting hope. That doesn't mean I won't have to battle my sinful nature each and every day - He challenged us to take up our cross DAILY - but it does mean I have no need to fear. He has already WON! I don't need to fear anything! Because in Christ, I can do ALL things! In Christ, I am free of all things wrong - "It is for freedom that Christ set us free!" ~Galatians 5:1a~ How incredible is that?!
When I was in Africa last year, I was really scared of the dangers I'd heard stories of growing up. I had one night of absolute terror when I just couldn't conquer my fears. I was scared of bodily harm. But I need not fear that! Because my Saviour has saved me a place in heaven, where there is no such thing. I don't need to fear that. I need fear nothing!
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine." ~Isaiah 43:1~
Another time when I was terrified was at the NZ Singing School at the start of the year this year. Only, this time, I was scared of inadequacy. I don't need to fear that either. I've been ransomed by Jesus' blood, and He has chosen me to serve Him. By His grace, I need not fear inadequacy.
"For I, the Lord you God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you 'Fear not, I AM the One who helps you." ~Isaiah 41:3~
I am going to start a journey of choosing faith over fear. It won't be any easy journey, but if I've learnt anything in my life so far, it's that fear never pays and that God is always faithful. I look forward to taking the next step forward on my life's journey.