The Truth About Fear
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
Have you ever noticed that some TV commercials mix just enough truth with their product to make it believable? While that's called false advertising, the product still comes off convincing. It's not until we purchase the product, and it fails, that the deceit is exposed.
In the same way, Satan specializes in false advertising. He's good at making our fears look real when they are not.
Does that mean all fears are untrue? No. The fear of standing near a high cliff protects us from getting too close to the edge and falling over. On the other hand, Satan's falsehoods are full of trickery. They are usually disabling and keep us from progress. Satan's false advertisement can choke our faith and fuel our fears.
Have you ever wondered where our struggle between faith and fear began? I have. According to author and teacher Malcolm Smith, fear was introduced to the human race by a satanic lie.
The Garden is the first place where the serpent deceived Eve by twisting God's word. The Lord told Adam "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die" (Genesis 2:16-17). If he or Eve ate from that tree, they would die spiritually. Not only did Eve eat the forbidden fruit, but she offered it to Adam and he ate too.
As soon as Adam disobeyed God, their relationship changed. Adam was not only afraid, but he doubted God's authority, friendship, and provision. Satan's lies convinced Adam that he didn't need God. In fact, Adam was persuaded that he could be his own god, self-sufficient in every way.
I have believed Satan's lies, and at times, I have lived independent of God's presence. I acted as if everything depended on me and wouldn't dare admit that I was in over my head. I wanted to look like I was in control.
But God never meant for us to be in control, strong in and of ourselves. We were meant to show His strength in our weakness as He provides for our needs. We were created to live like little children, dependent on the care of our heavenly Father.
When we insist on living life our way, in our own strength, we experience the same result as Adam and Eve. We will live in fear. This is right where Satan wants us.
If the enemy can keep us contained by fear, we won't be able to fulfill our potential or make a difference in the lives of others. Satan knows what we are capable of with Christ. To prevent us from that realization, he poisons us with fear — fear of trusting God, fear of surrendering ourselves completely to His plans.
Fear that is fueled by Satan's lies can be described by this acrostic:
It's not that we shouldn't be concerned about certain issues of life such as safety and health. But when worrying takes over by keeping us up at night and shutting us down during the day, we move into a place we were never meant to live.
We need to live in God's presence and rely on His promises and provision. Only then will we be able to distinguish between truth and lies. Only then will our lives be marked by faith, not fear.
Dear Lord, help me to discern between false fears and real concerns. As I commit Your Word to memory, make Your truth alive in my heart so that I can battle fear and live by faith. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Determine if your fears are real or if they are only False Evidence Appearing Real. If your fears are real, heed their warning. If they are smoke and mirrors performed by the enemy, take those thoughts captive and give them to God in prayer.
Do I doubt God's provision and protection — why or why not?
Am I living independent of God's presence, or carefree in God's care?
How might depending on God's resources and strength eliminate my fears?
Romans 8:31b, "...If God is for us, who can be against us?" (NIV)
John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Let not your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (NIV)
1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (NIV)