Thursday, December 20, 2012

Overcoming a Spirit of Fear

Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear - 1 John 4:18

I would like to share an experience I had with the Lord, dealing with the subject of fear. So many people struggle with fear issues, but fear can show up in less obvious mannerisms so that sometimes people don’t recognize it for what it is. Getting the victory over fear is often just a revelation away!

I faced a very scary dental procedure recently and shortly after entering the surgeon’s office I was hit with a huge wave of anxiety. I wanted so badly to go call my husband and tell him to come back to get me! I told the doctor I was feeling very nervous and felt like I could pass out. He told me he was going to give me a moment to relax and he left the room. The moment he did, I began to pray for the Prince of Peace to come help me manage my emotions. The anxiety didn’t go away but the doctor came back a few minutes later and asked me if I still wanted to go ahead with the procedure. I hesitated, then said yes because the pain was quite severe, but what happened next was incredible and completely unexpected.

The moment the doctor started, the Lord showed up and started talking to me. He told me that He was right there with me, holding me. He reminded me of when I had my children, and when I miscarried, when I had faced other situations that brought fear, and how my husband was there the whole time holding my hand, sitting by my side comforting me. At that moment, the Lord stepped in and was my husband through the whole uncomfortable situation. He held me and kept reminding me to just focus on His voice. It was comforting, and I knew that with Him so close I was ok. Fear didn't have to rule my emotions. He began to explain that He knew I had prayed very hard for healing and that I did not want to go through the dental procedure, but He also explained that if He had just healed me, I would only have received my healing. I wouldn’t have the benefit of the personal experience with Him that He was giving me at that very moment. He told me how He longs to show up and visit His children, but there are times when He does wait in order to give them more than what they’ve asked for. You see, God loves us so very much. How often we just want an answer to prayer, when He wants to give us an experience with Him to remember! Before I go on, let me interject something here on the subject of fear.

 [Note: Generally speaking, fear involves torment in the mind. That which is not of faith is sin, so, we must learn to look at unbelief as sin because the Word says so. Because faith and unbelief and polar opposites with one another, the struggle causes double mindedness, which results in a war in our minds. It's not always just waivering between two opinions but double mindedness causes divided loyalties, and you cannot effectively serve two masters. We are a slave to whichever master we obey, and all spiritual warfare is about deception in order to exercise dominion.  In order to get the victory, we need to resolve the root of the issue that is causing the struggle in our mind and heart. Torment can come from unforgiveness issues but it can also come from several other root causes as well. We hardly like to think about it, but sometimes a spirit of affliction is upon us to help drive out the lusts of the flesh. (Study Deut. 2,3 or The Matthew Henry Commentary on the Book of Deuteronomy has some very good insights on this.) Remember, Jesus had to defeat the enemy in the wilderness, overcoming the lusts of the flesh, before He was launched into effective ministry. The error we sometimes make is thinking that we have already gone through all our wilderness seasons and not recognize when God has brought us into another one in order to continue the work of sanctification. If we are about to enter into a new season or take new ground, a new wilderness season is often a precursor to crossing over into a new spiritual territory. Torment also comes from bearing false judgments against others. Carrying judgments against others allows an open door for the enemy to reproduce judgment in our own lives. These are some common areas to examine when needing freedom from the spirit of fear.]

The Lord began to talk to me about fear. He kept reminding me to just let the doctor do what he was there to do, but to focus my thoughts on the fact that Jesus was there holding me, comforting me, at that very moment. He explained how a spirit of fear cannot stay in the presence of the Lord! The more I listened to the Lord, the anxiety became less and less, until finally I was at peace - in spite of the circumstances. I just wanted to get through the procedure, but God chose that moment to have a conversation about fear. He explained that fear comes in many forms. Some of it is obvious, like what I felt sitting in the dentist chair.  Other things come well disguised so that we don't immediately attribute it to a spirit of fear. He told me there were some things He wanted me to be able to recognize about the spirit of fear, because it would keep my heart free. I also know there are many people that need this understanding, too. The Lord explained how a spirit of fear causes people to feel inferior and when they do, one of the by-products of fear is a critical, fault-finding spirit. He explained that when people feel inferior they also feel shame, and shame makes them feel insecure. Those feelings cause them to want to reflect those feelings away from themselves and project them onto others because the very nature of any unloving spirit is to reproduce itself in others. Fear turns into offense, offense becomes anger, and whatever a person dwells on can easily become a door for the enemy to manipulate a person’s thoughts and actions. Fear always comes with accusation and that spirit of accusation will accuse us to God, and speak accusations against God in our minds. Fear is at the root of many works of evil. It is the very opposite of Love.

Friends, we have all seen what can happen when people’s minds are not in alignment with love and truth. We’ve seen hate crimes. We’ve seen innocent people slain at the hands of those that can only be described as demonically energized to carry out evil. We  see an unstable world that has put their hope and confidence in the philosophies of man and other religions, yet they have no real peace. They have fear. Fear that the world will end, fear that they won’t have enough to take care of their families; fear that says they are unloved or unwanted, or inferior in some way. Fear has a loud voice and we must learn to silence it by the word of truth. We live in a world of chaos because of so many people that have put their confidence in the wrong things. Of all the religions in the world, of all the false gods and religious creeds, there is only ONE GOD that keeps the world running by His very word. The stars remain in the sky, hung in perfect balance, because the Lord spoke it so. The oceans do not overflow their boundaries, because the Lord set the limits. The blueprints of nature, the animal kingdom and a human embryo are knit into the DNA of each cell in a living organism, creating life as God designed it. No other God has done this. The proof of God is even in nature. No one even has to preach the gospel if our heart is open to truth. No philosophy of man releases complete peace, order and clarity of mind as the truth that is found through God’s own Holy Spirit. No one else is called the Spirit of Truth, and no one else has the capacity to make one free simply by knowing the truth. It is not wisdom to put our confidence in anything that is based on the thoughts and philosophies of another person, because that can be as unstable as water and as changeable as the wind. Man re-writes philosophies as he goes and false gods demand penance and sacrifice from their followers - but only One God sacrificed for all mankind, and that is Jesus Christ. Only One God lived a pure and sinless life and could offer a holy sacrifice on behalf of the sins of all the world that was acceptable in a sinless heaven. Only One God speaks truth. All the others simply try to counterfeit it by smooth sounding words. All the other philosophies and religions of the world try to achieve a place of enlightenment, self made righteousness and peace -  but without the Prince of Peace. False religions and the philosophies of man try to obtain what can only come through the God who created us and created this world. They are only counterfeits to the Divine. Accept no inferior gods that will reproduce that feeling of inferiority and insecurity into your own life! That is why we hear the commandment, "I am the Lord God who brought you out of Egypt...Thou shall have no other gods before Me," (see Exodus 20:3). Put your confidence in the One that loved you enough to lay down His life for you and pay the penalty for your sins. Let your conscience be cleansed and your heart renewed by the truth that is found in Jesus Christ. All you have to do is ask Him to receive you as a child of God and confess your belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as God’s only begotten Son. (Rom. 10:9). He was crucified for you, and He lives to receive you unto Himself. Let His perfect peace order your thoughts and the rest of your life will follow suit. This is God’s perfect plan.

As I listened, the Lord went on to explain that it is this very nature of the spirit of Fear that causes people to read God’s word incorrectly. They see things through a lens of darkness rather than light. They read His word and apply judgment rather that mercy, criticism rather than love - and in this they err exceedingly. They take their own personal judgments, offenses, disappointments and experiences and then misrepresent God's character because a religious spirit twisted something in their understanding. It might not be in every area of the Word, but enough that it will wound those that hear rather than heal. People can misinterpret His intent, His personality and His character because a wrong filter is on everything they see, and this is a blind spot they cannot see in themselves. They see a God that is hard to please and difficult to relate to. They find it hard to trust Him. They try to force faith to operate out of man’s will and strength rather than rest in His perfect love, which releases peace and allow faith to flow from a heart of love and gratitude. The Lord went on to explain that a filter of inferiority, shame or insecurity allows offense to grow in the heart of an individual, and this is how religious spirits operate. They cause spiritual blindness, then reproduce pain and offense in others.God wants us to recognize fear at work so that we can take the sword of His word to destroy this work of evil. Friends, God is about to cut off the house of Jezebel and Ahab, and He will use anyone that knows their God (and HIS heart of love) to do it. Boldness is great, and we need boldness to preach and overcome our fears, but humility and love are the only effective weapons against witchcraft. Speak of what God has done for you, how He loves you so unconditionally and picked you up out of your personal ash heap and saved you. God will use the prophetic word, too, but if the prophetic word is not spoken in love and humility divination can easily defile those that hear. God does not want more children of Jezebel and religious witchcraft that propagate fear in the body of Christ; He wants children that understand and will correctly re-present His love, mercy and graciousness towards mankind. It is LOVE that draws people into the kingdom, not fear. It is the kindness of God that leads men to repentance. We have to get the message right if we are to draw people to God through love!

The Lord also told me that the enemy’s tactics will always include some form of fear because he is full of fear. Fear and deception are his biggest weapons. Fear is there to get us to react out of emotion rather than confidence towards the Lord. Deception is there to recreate a new self image, if at all possible. We are NOT inferior; we are NOT to be insecure. We are to have every confidence in our identity in Christ and as a child of God. Please, let me speak a word to you today. Let me remind you of who you are in Christ. Everything about you is SUPERIOR to the enemy in every way. This is why Satan hates God’s children, seeks to destroy truth, and reinvent people’s self image. You are made in the image and likeness of your Creator. (Gen. 1:26). Your sins are forgiven. (1 John 1:9; 1 John 2:12) Your shame has been taken away by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. You have no reason to fear! Those hurtful words from others - whether it is from parents, spouses, teachers, peers or others - have no power to hurt you if you realize that those that said hurtful remarks were operating out of a spirit of their own inferiority, shame and insecurity. They allowed their heart to become critical because someone was critical of them. Then never got the victory over it and you became the target of their pain and offense. It was never about you! Your past, no matter how painful it may have been, has no authority, power or ability to influence your future. Your future does not rest in the hands of your enemies; your future is secure in God’s hands. No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. ( Is. 54:17) Understand what this means. NO WEAPON will succeed against you, unless you give it power over your life. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Ps. 139:14). God has put His name over you. (Ps. 106:8) His favor is for life. (Ps. 5:12) Nothing you do can stop Him from loving you. (Rom. 8:38,39) He is your biggest fan. He is your strong tower. (Ps. 61:3) He has put His authority in you, and given you dominion over every manner of evil. (Luke 10:18) As a child of God you have received a commission from the Lord to heal the sick, cast out demons and speak in a new spiritual language given by Holy Spirit. (Mark 16:18) You are to re-present the kingdom of heaven right here, right now, everywhere you are. He has told you to “FEAR NOT!” many times in His word. He understands the enemy’s tactics to try to intimidate you in order to keep you from inheriting your promise land, but He has said, “Fear not!” In other words, don’t pay attention to it! Get in the presence of the Lord. Fear is FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL. Confront it, whatever it is. You are not rejected, condemned or abandoned. Eph. 1:6) You are not forgotten. (Is. 49:14-16). You are accepted, given a pardon of ‘not guilty,’ and you are adopted as God’s dear child. You are a join heir with Jesus Christ. Everything that He has, you do too! Angels are waiting to be put on assignment to assist you, protect you and keep you in all of God’s ways so that you can be successful in life. Let your confidence be renewed today. This is what it means to understand the scripture in 1 John 4:18. When we have a revelation of who we are in Christ and how greatly we are loved, fear has to leave. It cannot remain when we are in the presence of the Lord. It’s not God’s love towards us that needs perfecting; it’s our understanding. It’s our love perfected towards Him. Fear involves torment, but when we get in the presence of the Lord and rest in that love, nothing can touch us. Fear has no power. It has lost it’s voice.

Friend, it’s time to rise up and take a stand against anything that would try to strip you of your coat of favor. Rise up and confront that spirit of fear and intimidation. Tell it exactly who you are, and just rest in God’s perfect peace. His perfect love will cast out your fears!

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