From an address by Carolyn Howell
There are two kinds of fear in the life of a Christian. There is the healthy reverential fear that we have for our Lord. And then there is the unhealthy kind of fear that we have all experienced. We will study this unhealthy kind of fear.
Some of the top fears that attack God’s people are: speaking in front of a group, fear of heights and flying, fear of deep water, fear of insects and animals, fear of financial problems, loneliness, sickness and death. Other fears that come against us as we begin to serve the Lord are: fear of failure, fear of what God may require of us, fear of man and fear of what others may think of us.
Definition of fear:
To feel reverance for; to have a reverential awe of; to venerate (regard as hallowed)
An unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by expection or awareness of danger; anxious concern, panic or terror.
Definition of rule: To have or exercise supreme power, control or authority.
God has given us authority. He has empowered us through the blood of Jesus Christ to rule over anything that is not of Him. Therefore, He has put us in control of fear. He has given us the power to rule over fear so fear cannot come in and control us unless we let it.
In ruling over fear we must know the characteristics of fear. If we know the strategy of the enemy and how he operates, it is a lot easier to deal with what he is trying to do in our lives.
Characteristics Of Fear:
Fear can be a spirit.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity— of cowardice, of craven, cringing and fawning fear. But He has given us a spirit of power, and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control” (2 Tim 1:7 Amp).
Fear can be an evil spirit that the enemy has sent to attack us. When we have an evil spirit attacking us, we cast it out in the name of Jesus. We are in a spiritual war and we need to realize that when fear tries to attack us, it is spiritual war time. We need to take authority over that spirit of fear and deal with it.
Fear is a sin.
“Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23b NKJ).
When we allow fear to control our lives, we are moving in doubt and unbelief, therefore, we are not moving in faith and have allowed sin to creep in. We know that the kingdom of the enemy is founded on fear and that the kingdom of God is founded on faith. They are total opposites. We cannot have both operating at the same time. When the disciples were in a boat in a storm and Jesus was asleep, they woke Him up and said, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:37-41 NKJ). The Lord said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith”? He was rebuking them for their lack of faith because they had seen Him perform many miracles. Today, we know His Word, we know everything He has done for us and still at times we allow fear to come in and take control. When we do that, we are not moving in faith.
Fear is torment:
“There is no fear in love— dread does not exist; but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out- of- doors and expels every trace of terror. For fear brings with it the thought of punishment. And so he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love— is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection” (1 John 4:18 Amp).
Fear is relentless, it will pound us and pressure us. If we open a door to fear, it will attack us physically, mentally and spiritually. As we see in the above Scripture, fear keeps us from maturing. It keeps us from walking in God’s love and being convinced that He loves us. It also keeps us from realizing that Jesus has already delivered us from fear.
Many years ago, I had an experience with fear that was very intense. It is as vivid in my mind as if it took place yesterday. It began when I was reading about a famous man in the Lord who had died. A chapter in the book explained his death in detail. As I was reading, a fear of dying came upon me. I don’t think it was necessarily wrong for me to read that chapter. Obviously, there was a weakness within me.
This attack on my mind went on for a year and a half. I did not get a full night’s sleep all that time. I was up at night pacing the floor reading the Word as best as I could, praying as best as I could. The attack was so intense that the enemy almost had me convinced that I was losing my mind. It just wouldn’t go away. I came against that spirit of fear. I received prayer from my husband, who is my covering; I had received prayer elsewhere. I was in the Word; I rebuked the enemy. I did everything that I knew to do and yet the attack persisted. At times when I would be at the sink washing dishes, I would see myself floating by in a coffin. My mind was so tormented in this area that I cannot fully explain what it felt like. I kept busy during the day trying to keep my mind off what the enemy was trying to do to me. However, when the evening came and the children were settled down for the night and it would get quiet, it seemed I could almost feel that thing perch on my shoulder and start saying in my ear, “You’re going to die tonight; this is it. You made it yesterday, but you are not making it tonight. You will not see the light of day tomorrow.” By God’s grace I was able to carry on with my duties.
I believed God as best I could; I knew that He is faithful. I believed that I was moving in faith, so I did not know why God did not manifest the victory I so desperately needed.
One night as I was lying in bed, wrestling with the fear as usual, the Lord let me see the spirit that was tormenting me. I had never seen a spirit before and I have never seen one since. But in this particular situation, the Lord let me see it. That spirit being was sitting on the foot of my bed laughing with a stupid grin on its face. Once I saw it, I realized that I had authority over it, and I was not afraid. I saw then that it was not something within me, but a spirit attacking me from the outside. God’s grace, mercy and love were upon me and I did experience the deliverance that He promises in His Word.
I share this with you because you may have an area in your life where you feel tormented. Be steadfast with God and His Word and you too will see His faithfulness and His delivering power.
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