Friday, 20 August 2010

The Perils of Fear

The Perils of Fear

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Rev 21:7-9 KJV).

In the previous Truth for the Journey we looked at the subjects of “double-mindedness, doubt and unbelief” but now we must look at the participation that fear plays. As revealed in our opening scripture above, fear and unbelief work very closely together, if not hand in hand! In actual fact it’s also worth noting that “fear and unbelief” take “first place” on the list of who will end up in the lake of fire!

As mentioned in the scripture above the word used for “fear” in the original Greek (δειλός deilos) comes from a root word deos meaning to “dread” or to be “timid” and implies “unfaithfulness” (see Gk. Strong’s # 1169). Interestingly the word used for “unbelieving” - in the original Greek (compound word) primarily means; “faithless, passive and untrustworthy” (see ap'-is-tos Gk # 571 & #4103 where pistos (belief) becomes a-pistos! The addition of an “a” in front of pistos (belief) brings it into the negative form - just as adding “un” to belief makes it un-belief!)

Now there are those who reckon that there is such a thing in the bible as “the-law-of-first-mention.” This is debatable of course, but if we were to take this literally, that would make the positioning of “fear” (principally) and “unbelief” (successively) - on this doom list in Revelations - somewhat more interesting! Especially considering whose company they share – such as the “abominable (repulsive and detestable) and murderers, idolaters and liars...” what a nasty list they top! It must be that God himself finds them so offensive that they come out first on the hit list! Other translations prefer to use the words “cowardly and unfaithful” instead of “fearful and unbelieving,” but either way they seem to be of major “offense” to God.

Gratefully those of us who are in Christ do not suffer with fear. We know that in 2 Timothy 1:6-8 it says, “God didn't give us a cowardly (fearful) spirit but a spirit of power, love, and good judgment. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord... (GW) In addition from the Old Testament Isaiah declared, “Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice” (Isaiah 41:10 AMP).

Now let’s look more closely at the characteristics of fear. Firstly it would be correct to say that “fear is faith in reverse-gear!” Think about it for a moment. If faith is the “substance” of good things desired. Fear is also the “substance” of bad things not desired. Again if you turn to the Greek #5287 in the Strong’s you will discover that “substance” used here in Hebrews 11:1 also means “concrete essence!” This would allow verse one to be read like this; “Faith brings the concrete essence of things expected and the proof of things not seen!” Reverse this equation and it could read like this instead; “fear (or faith in reverse) brings the concrete essence of things expected and the proof of things not seen!” This is confirmed by what Jesus told the centurion, “...go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee” (Matthew 8:13).

Admittedly there are times when “believing” is the last thing we “feel” like doing especially in a crisis, but that’s when we must understand that faith is not an emotion it is a decision! In fact, generally speaking if we wait for our emotions to motivate us – we would never do anything significant for God! (Emotions fail where faith is always robust!)

In fact fear is actually putting our faith in what the devil can do rather than what God can do. Having said that fear and faith are not on “equal-par” (faith is far greater) and perhaps this is why fear is so offensive to God? However the chief reason that any of us fear something is because we are really “convinced” that it will come to pass. That’s what worry is all about. If we didn’t believe it could come to pass – then there would be no reason to worry! Worry in itself is counter-productive and energy zapping, because it cannot “stop” anything, it is “passive” and can only “dwell” on the negatives (or the problem) instead of the “solution” which only helps “draw” the trouble closer! Job is the classic example of this truth. “For the thing which I greatly fear comes upon me, and that of which I am afraid befalls me. I was not or am not at ease, nor had I or have I rest, nor was I or am I quiet, yet trouble came and still comes [upon me]” (Job 3:25-26 AMP).

Job “practiced” his fear continually and as a result - his fear was “great” in strength. Although by way of conflict the scriptures declare that Job dwelt in safety, we see this in the accusation Satan brought against God, “You’ve hedged him about on every side, and I can’t get to him” (Job 1:6-12). Satan’s sly request was then for God to “strike” everything that Job had, in order to disprove his faith. Now I personally believe that God did not just “grant” this request out-right but actually replied with a statement of fact instead. See in verse 11 how God said to satan; “He IS in your power.” In other words, “he is ALREADY in your power!” It is important therefore to realize here that God did NOT put Job in that position rather Job put himself there. He found himself in satan’s grasp simply because of the continual “fear- rituals” he engaged in for his children (see Job 1: 5). This very fear contributed to dissembling of his protective “hedge” and all that he had (verse 10.) Remember if we lose our position (of faith) we always lose our possession!

Fear therefore gives satan just the opportunity he is looking for. And yes! He is LOOKING. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour...” (1 Peter 5:8-9 KJV) Inevitably fear always puts us in an unfavourable position. Where faith lifts us, fear pulls us down. This type of fear that takes us where we don’t want go is simply named “DREAD” and is very effective indeed. When we “dread” something long enough, we end up doing or saying the exact things we have dreaded and end up in precisely the position we didn’t want to be in! Remember Job. His fear came upon him. Both fear and faith act like magnets – drawing good things or bad towards us. So watch out!

Dread is “forward” looking, just like faith is, but entirely in the negative realm and it uses our “imaginations” to help build mind-pictures of those things that we are dreading. This is exactly the same way that faith operates. Where we must “see” ourselves - by faith – doing or obtaining the very thing we are reaching for. The prerequisite (condition) is that we must “see” it before we possess it - naturally. Like the youth who sees himself driving “long” before he even goes to driving school! This is faith in operation in simple terms! Or Father Abraham who was required to “see” himself as the father of many nations before he actually was!

However “dread” will make us see (and persistently see) the very things that don’t want to happen; (dread is synonymous with trepidation, nervousness and anxiety). If we yield and think about dreadful things long enough or dwell on them hard enough, then they will eventually be drawn our way! As said previously - this is literally “faith in reverse” and something we must not engage in.

More importantly it is “mounting fear” reverses faith, not just the little fears we all face each day, but the mounting, persisting, tormenting type, that we fail to deal with as we know we should. Job said, “The thing I’ve greatly feared has come upon me.” Job knew his mistake. He even spelt it out loud and clear! He was not confused or out of his mind. He knew what brought him down; his own fault. There is no doubt that Job had originally had faith, but he allowed his faith to be swallowed up in fear. Sometimes we have to have faith in our faith - in the context of what faith can do verses what fear can achieve. It’s in our own interest to stand in faith rather than fear. The fringe benefits are much better!!

Charles Capps says, “When you speak your fears they will grow and nullify your faith. You can’t keep the devil from bringing thoughts of doubt and fear to your mind but those things will die unborn if we don’t speak them.” Our words either give our adversary the license and opportunity to move or God - on our behalf. And I know who I would prefer on my side!

King Solomon understood this when he said, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]” (Proverbs 18:21 AMP) and in the New Testament it says, “For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced” (Matthew 12:37 AMP). Ouch what a thought!

Many times however we don’t realise the power of our words and the more we speak about negatives the more they grip our heart and multiply in strength. Fear will “establish” itself – taking as long as it takes – knowing that if it can establish a strong enough foot hold, any individual will eventually lose their strength and ability to deal with it. The same way that faith comes by hearing by the word of God, fear comes by hearing negatives! Our words can create shields of defence or open-opportunities for evil intent.

We build and strengthen our shield (hedge) or we weaken it. For example, if we speak fear it insulates us and stops the blessings. Fear filled words produce more fear and invites the enemy to quench the blessings of God. “...he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” (2Corinthians 9:6) It’s good to remember that “everything” can work in its own “reverse-state.” And bountiful words of “spoken-fear” can and will reap bountifully - after its own kind. On the other hand “whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith” (1John 5:4 AMP) we can be utterly victorious and unstoppable if we don’t yield to fear.

Faith is stronger than fear and is our victory that overcomes the world and principally comes through faith in God’s Word. Heart faith comes from deep within where the Word abides. However we must remember just because we have faith does not automatically mean that we will “operate” by that faith. Anything can be dormant and passive including our faith. We must have faith the faith that we received from God; the very faith of the Son of God (Gal 2:20 KJV).
Father thank you for giving me the faith of Your Son; thank you for utter victory that overcomes the world around me every single day! Thank you that although fear wants to establish itself in my heart, I give myself to Your Word only; allowing faith to be established in me. Forgive any lack of faith. Forgive every time I yield to fear and dread. You are “faithful and just to forgive me my sins and to cleanse me of all unrighteousness.” Amen (James 1:9)

Today I declare that I am FAITH FILLED & FAITH INSPIRED. Though the world around me is set in reverse, I am forward thinking; inwardly and outwardly moved by God’s Word. I do not dread the future. Like the woman of God in Proverbs 31: 25 I “rejoice in the times to come” and “smile at the future.” Faith in Christ is my victory and there is always JOY in the Victory. So I rejoice and again I say “REJOICE!” Hallelujah!


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