Yesterday, the city of San Bernardino, CA was rocked by another mass shooting that claimed the lives of multiple people, and wounded many others. Another community shaken to its foundation. More families grieving the loss of loved ones. More empty rhetoric from politicians and pundits intent on attacking the “symptom” of gun control without wanting to address the root of the disease. As actor Samuel L. Jackson said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 2012…
I don’t think it’s about more gun control. I grew up in the South with guns everywhere and we never shot anyone. This [shooting] is about people who aren’t taught the value of life.
As many have said (and Mr. Jackson alluded to), the problem is not a gun problem, it’s a heart problem. It’s about evil in the world that does not play by anyone’s rules or regulations — whether it is ISIS, Al-Quaeda, or “lone wolves” like Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh, Ted Bundy, or Jeffrey Dahmer. But while these groups and individuals prey upon innocent victims or an unsuspecting society, they introduce into our lives chaos, anger, sorrow, and…
Fear is a magnet to demons. Fear will draw in the enemy, and will bring to pass the thing you have spoken out of your mouth. You need to understand that fear is not only an emotion, it is a spirit. In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.”
Friend, it’s time to recognize your fears.
What fears flood and bring failure to your life? It is time to take a close look at your mind and see what fears may exist there.
Every day I meet people who are afraid to live life to its fullest. This fear is one of the first to ever show its face in this world. Right after Adam and Eve fell into sin, God showed up to speak to them. In Genesis 3:10 Adam admitted to God, “I heard Your voice in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself.” He couldn’t even go through his normal routines there in the garden!
Perhaps you’re afraid that people will find out who you really are and then shun you. You are afraid that some of the things that you’ve done that are between you and God may come out. You live in fear of the truth. However, if there is any place in the world that you ought to be able to live a transparent life, it ought to be in the church. You ought to be able to surface your difficulties and your failures and have them dealt with in safety there.
The impact of fear reaches beyond spiritual issues; it can also affect your job. Perhaps you are afraid to take the next step for advancement. Maybe you fear going into management because you’re afraid the responsibility will be bigger than anything you’ve ever known. The comfort zone is preferred over progress. Someone reading here may have birthed a wonderful idea but you won’t take a risk because you so deeply fear failure.
History tells us that Abraham Lincoln lost every election he ran in except for when he ran for president. What if he had quit? We would not have had one of our greatest presidents. There are those who are paralyzed by the fear of getting up in the morning and just going about the chores of life. I want to challenge you to break this spirit and believe that you can be everything God has created you to be and more.
Hebrews 2:14-15 says that “Jesus was manifested that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject unto bondage.” Many people sustain a powerful fear of dying. I believe that’s why about 65% of our hospital dollars are going to give people tests for diseases they don’t have. Many people wake up nightly short of breath, and they actually are suffering from night terrors, a demonic attack on basic health.
If you are saved, why should you be afraid of dying? Philippians 1:21 should be the Christian’s boast, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Heaven is not a thing to be feared. I’ve heard people say, “You know, I want to go to heaven, but I’m not ready if there is a trip going out tonight.” Well, I’m ready to go today. I would miss my family, and they would miss me terribly. But after Jesus died on the cross and then arose from the tomb, He lit up the corridors of death forever. I don’t have to be afraid. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me,” said David in Psalm 23. Even in death, we are not alone.
Fearing the Enemy
Psalm 31:13-15 should be the proper response when you are facing the enemy, “I hear the slander of many. Fear is on every side, while they take counsel together against me and scheme to take away my life, but as for me, I trust in you, O Lord. I say you are my God. My times are in your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.”
I don’t have to be afraid of the devil or his emissaries that wear skin here on the earth. Jesus spoiled principalities and powers. He ripped the astro-deities from their thrones and exposed the enemy. I don’t have to be afraid of a tarot card, or a horoscope. I don’t need to call a psychic to find out what is going to happen tomorrow. I boast with the psalmist David in Psalm 31, “My times are in His hands.”
This fear is a powerful one for many. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Is there somebody in your life that when you see them fear rises up in your spirit? Is there something in you that has you agreeing with people when you know they are wrong, simply because you are afraid of what they will think of you? Have you ever gone along with people and done things you know you shouldn’t do just because of fear that they might think badly of you? With all of the chaos going on in the world, are you afraid to just walk out your front door?
This fear of man is something that really grips our young people today. Peer pressure, a fear of what friends think, can take over their lives. The fear of being different, the fear of what other people think—these can be so strong. I’m not telling you that you ought to be obnoxious, but the honest truth is that it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks but God. Young people and adults alike need to quit allowing the fear of man to hinder what God wants to do in their lives.
People are afraid that their lives won’t count for anything. I think of Genesis 15 and the story of Abraham. Here’s old Abram, he has left fame and fortune in Ur of the Chaldees, left his beautiful home and is living in a tent. Out here, nobody knows who he is. In Genesis 15:1 it says, “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying, ‘Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward.’”
You said, “Well, I didn’t win ‘Employee of the Month’ even though I deserved it.” But God saw it, and He took account of your stewardship. You say, “Nobody has ever given me a plaque. Nobody appreciates what I do.” I want to tell you, your great reward is God.
I remind you of the story of the woman who broke the alabaster box and wept over Jesus’ feet. Nobody really knows what her name is; some scholars believe it was Mary. What we do know for sure: Jesus appreciated what she did. We also don’t know the widow’s name that stepped up to the temple offering box and threw in the “widow’s mite”, all of her living, but Jesus knows her name, and she is significant and important to Him.
One day you are going to get to heaven and you are going to find out everything you sowed into this life is still over there. You sowed it into His work. Embrace the understanding that Jesus Christ is the one who can make your life last forever.
Fearing the Future
“I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace
and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
You don’t have to be afraid of what is going to happen tomorrow. Once you know the Lord Jesus Christ, the fear of the future can leave.
When my son, Ronnie, Jr. was a little boy, he loved to go with me on errands. Even when he was four or five years old, he would eagerly jump into the passenger seat even if it were a quick trip. Looking back, I think it is significant that not once did he say, “Daddy, do you have enough gas in the car?” “Daddy, do you have any money with you?” “Daddy, do you really know the directions to where are we going?”
You see, he didn’t have to ask those questions. He put his little hand in my hand, and that was all he needed. He was ready to go, because he trusted me. He knew that if he was with me, his needs would be met in abundance. Whether it was a soda from the gas station or a quick trip through fast food drive-through, he knew he wouldn’t go hungry on our trip. If he needed a restroom, Daddy would find one. And he could trust that Daddy would know the way back home when it was time.
I can’t predict to you what will happen in your future. But, I can tell you this, as a believer, what is waiting for you in eternity is wonderful and you don’t have to worry.
Today’s blog adapted from my book
Everyone’s Guide to Demons and Spiritual Warfare
Copyright © 2010 Ron Phillips
Published by Charisma House Book Group