A few months ago, I published a post on spiritual warfare in Uganda. The post was fairly long (well over 1,000 words) but got to the point quickly- Hollywood has corrupted our definition of spirituality. Through different means, whether media or television, our opinions and beliefs on demonic warfare have been watered down. We do one of two things: either we laugh at demons and demonic warfare, or we fear them far more than is rational. This corruption can and will prove fatal to Western Christians who ignore the Bible’s teaching on the subject. When confronted for the first time with real, tangible spiritual warfare, a Christian’s first response is usually fear.
Fear is a natural response, something wired into us. No good warrior should enter a battle without feeling it to some degree. In the same sense, no good Christian should begin his journey without feeling fear. In some ways, fear can be healthy. Holy fear, for example, is something the Bible tells us is sacred, a natural response to a holy God. The fear of God and His power is something we all feel at some point or the other. The prophet Isaiah, when confronted by holy fear, wept at the feet of God, crying, “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips.” This type of fear is natural and God-given.
Unhealthy fear, on the other hand, can be deadly to a Christian. This type of fear is one of Satan’s greatest tools, for it turns even the strongest men into blubbering maniacs, incapable of rational thought. I, personally, have seen the full effects of controlling terror, brought on simply by my own imagination.
I struggled with this fear for many years. On random nights, I would wake up to the natural sounds of my house moving with the wind. Often times, however, I would recreate these sounds over and over in my mind until they were ten times larger than the original. What might have been a squeaking branch turned into a gunshot in my mind. Immediately, I would become almost literally paralyzed with fear. I would be so terrified I couldn’t even breathe. . . all because of a branch. These times, while infrequent, are still ingrained in my memory as somewhat traumatic experiences, and they will remain with me for the rest of my life as a gentle reminder to submit fears to Christ.
It wasn’t until I was thirteen that I was freed from this fear. I was staying at the Musana Camps guesthouse on a family vacation. The guesthouse wasn’t large, so I shared a room with my little brothers Noah and Isaiah, ages 11 and 8 at the time. The first night at the house, I awoke around midnight to a strange sound.
Now, looking back on that night, I realize that the sound I heard was nothing more than the wind. But to my terrified, adrenaline-pumped mind, it seemed like a shutter had broken down and people were entering the house. Of course, this could be credited to the fact that I was staying in a new house, but I had been to this guesthouse before. I was very familiar with its security and build and knew that I was perfectly safe. Yet again, I allowed the fear of something fake to control me.
After a few minutes of lying perfectly still, I finally worked up the courage to dash into my parents room. I awoke my dad, who (sleepily) figured out the problem: the wind was blowing the shutters. Then, in the middle of the night, he told me something that would stick with me forever: “If you allow your fear to control you, you allow Satan to control you.”
“If you allow your fear to control you, you allow Satan to control you.” -Keith McFarlandTweet
While he didn’t mean this as a fully literal statement, the words still ring true- when fear controls you at that level, Satan will often use this as an opening to tempt you. The paralyzing fear that I felt that night is the same paralyzing fear that Satan can infect with. This is one of his greatest tools.
After my dad went back to bed, I lay in my bed for almost an hour, thinking. His words resonated with me to a degree I had never felt. Eventually, I realized something- real men are strong. This kind of paralyzing fear I felt wasn’t the result of strength, it was the result of weakness. Now, while this type of reasoning seems rather redundant and we should never do something to “be strong”, an element of truth remains. 1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” There is an element of strength that goes with Biblical Manhood. This desire for strength, for security, is exactly what I felt that night. There, in that room, I vowed to never let fear control me again,
And guess what? It hasn’t. At least, not to that degree. But this took time, confrontation, and prayer. The first step began when I confronted my fears.
Sometimes, we can be so controlled by fear that we refuse to acknowledge its existence. At that time, I had another (rational) fear of the area around my tree house. Snakes had been known to live around there, so the fear wasn’t irrational, but it had quickly become controlling; every time I was around the area, I would look around nervously, my heart pounding and palms sweating. At the slightest noise, I would run for shelter, certain there was a snake in hot pursuit.
To confront fear, we have to take two big steps.
1: Acknowledge its existence.
We can’t remove a fear if we don’t believe it exists. Think about all of the times you have done something because you were afraid. Trace these back to the root. What made you do that? Did you slow down on the bridge because you are afraid of deep water? Did you refuse to drive at night because you were scared of the dark? Once you’ve found the root, think about how it impacts your lives. Is this fear rational or irrational? A great way to determine this is by thinking about the reason behind the fear. Then, think about the possibility of that fear coming true. Are you scared of spiders? Why? What motivates that fear?
2: Determine its rationality.
Once you’ve found the root, think about how it impacts your lives. Is this fear rational or irrational? A great way to determine this is by thinking about the reason behind the fear. What makes you afraid this way? Did you have a traumatic experience in your life? Finally, think about the possibility of that fear coming true. Are you scared of spiders? Why? What motivates that fear?
Once you’ve done this, you are ready to root the fear out of your life. Doing this requires several steps.
Destroying fear is a difficult but rewarding task. Sometimes it simply means removing the control it has upon your life. Other times, it means confessing the fear as sin. To begin doing this, we need to do three things.
1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Perfect love casts out fear. The love my dad gave me that night cast out all fear I had in my heart. In holding fast to our love for Christ and each other, we banish the darkness. There’s a reason that children, when spooked, cry for their mothers- they long for the comfort and protection that a mother offers in love. In the same way, we are called to run to Christ, our Rock and Fortress.
2: Be content in Christ
Psalm 18:2 speaks into this, saying, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.” When we abide in Christ, we are protected and safe. Being content in his loving arms is one of the biggest steps to take in defeating the fear in our lives.
3: Understand that we are called by Christ as His Children
Isaiah 43:1 is the base for this step. It says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Because we are redeemed by Christ, we need no longer fear. The Bible tells us that God is completely and fully all-powerful. As such, nothing happens but through Him. This can be a difficult concept to grasp, but also one that releases us from fear. Romans 8:28 was the biggest key in rooting fear out of my life, for it says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God works all things for His glory, both good and bad. Once I had realized this, I understood something- if my worst fears were to come true, it would be by His designation and for His glory. What peace can be found in knowing God is in control!
When someone reads “Fear is a tool of Satan”, they correctly believe that Satan uses fear to gain a foothold in our lives. However, he does more than just this. He also uses it as a deterrent for maturing within our Christian walk. Not only does controlling fear give Satan a foothold, but it can make it difficult or even impossible to mature as a Christian. Releasing these fears may be the first of many steps on the road of Christianity. Trust in God, rest in his peace, and root out all fears. God bless you.
Alright, that’s all for today. Thanks so much for reading! I hope you learned a lot about fear. If you haven’t already, be sure to click that Follow button below (or to the side, either one works), so as to never miss out on posts like this one. If you want some free content for the day and think your readers might enjoy it, feel free to reblog or share this post. Thanks again, and I hope you have a fantastic day!
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