In the Image of God

Fear Not

How many people are imprisoned by fear? How many are locked up behind the bars of unreasoned dread? How many are paralyzed by terror? I doubt there are many who have completely conquered all the phobias and fears permeating their psyche. But we have a God and His son who will free us from all our fears.

If we will let them, they will dispel the countless phobias known to cripple people. Some fear animals, wind, insects, water, enclosed places, cold, darkness, fire and much more. Some fear criticism, accidents, illness, failure, aging, death and loss. The greatest scourge is the fear of people.

God says fear not. Yet, there is a distinction between healthy fear, say, of touching a flame or taking a boat out during a severe storm. Jesus tells us not to tempt God by risking danger in hopes God will rescue us.

We must have one important fear: fear of God. That fear involves also awe and trepidation. That fear prompts our good behavior and obedience. If we must fear God, we dare not enslave ourselves to any other fears. It is almost like idolatry to have any other fear than that of God.

The Author of Fear

God wants us to be free from fear. The god of this world, Satan wants us to be afraid of death, of people, of anything. Listen to the news telecasts and hear how the anchors and reporters try to scare us. Whether it be storms or weather, crime, or illnesses, these newscasters seem to thrive on inspiring fear. This is not of God or His Way. Beware of religions that threaten you with perdition if you do not adhere to their doctrines. Churches should inspire you to grow in the love of God and strive to be in the Kingdom of God. No fear, except of God.

Fear is a spiritual problem, not psychological or physical. The Bible says test the spirit to see if it is of God. When the spirit is of fear, it is of Satan.

The Bible calls fear, the spirit of slavery. But God tells us we have received a spirit of sonship. We should not act like cowering slaves, but like children of the Living God. Fear not.

The Bible says that any spirit that does not state that Jesus is the son of God, is the spirit of the Antichrist, that is, Satan. That spirit engenders fear and dread. Jesus is our master, not fear or Satan.

The first time we encounter fear in the Bible is after Adam and Eve sinned. They cowered in fear because they disobeyed the Word of God. We need not fear God because of our errors or mistakes because Jesus who died for them, who, indeed, freed us from the law of sin and death, has freed us from our sins. In fact, God wrote His glorious laws on our hearts. They live in us, and we act on them. Unlike our disobedient parents who lived in fear, we bask in the love of God who, through Jesus, has taken sins out of our lives, and, taken, therefore, fear out of our lives. Sin not. Fear not.

Do not be blinded by the god of this world to live in fear. But rather rejoice in the light of the gospel of Christ, who is the first born of many brethren. Praise God.

Cost of Fear

How many people have the lament of Job who said that what he feared befell him? What a terrible cost to receive the fruit of fears. If you dreaded animals, might that fear come to maul you? If you fear failure, are you doomed to never succeed? If you fear criticism, do many find fault with you? If you fear winds, will a tornado find you out? If you fear fire, will the flames lick at your face?

Not everyone receives the attack of their fears, but the cost of fear is enormous. Even if your heart just races, the stomach acid gurgles, or your immune system goes out to lunch that is enough penalty for fear. We can and must conquer fear - not by our might but by the might of God through Jesus.

Fear of People

Of all the fears mentioned in the Bible, the greatest number deal with the fear of people. God says that the fear of man lays a snare, which will capture us like an animal doomed to the hunter's cage or the furrier's coat. Indeed, the fear of man is a dangerous trap, which we must avoid, not by our wiles but by the power of God.

What is it about people that we fear. Are we afraid of what the power of the rich can do to us? Are we inflicted with class envy, another type of fear? Do the powerful, either in physical strength, or in political or business acumen cause us to quiver before them, thus dooming us to being dominated by them.

Do we fear the maddening rush of the bloodthirsty mob? Do we think that ten million Frenchmen cannot be wrong? If everybody is doing it, must we follow like lemmings. Have we no minds of our own? Do we dare to be different?

Can we survive doing what is right when everyone else is doing something wrong, and withstand the scorn, reproach and slander of these fools? If the nightly news says its so, must we accede to their dictates? We need not fear the rule of the mob.

Do we fear evil people, the criminals, the nasty creeps, and the violent ones? Do we worry about the wicked schemes of those bent on hurting people? We might want to avoid these miscreants, but fear them? Not when we have the Lord on our side. He will fight all our battles.

God will send his mighty angels to fight all our enemies, destroy the evil who beset us. God will make all our enemies to stumble and fall. God will always be with us. He will smash our enemies in the face and knock out their teeth. God will fight for us, our family, friends and homes.

The Lord is our light and salvation; He protects us from all danger - so why should we tremble. The Bible is replete with the history of His people being saved from all manner of dangers - armies, vermin, the powerful, and slanderers. God is more powerful than all our fears, and He will remove them all until there is nothing left but our wonderment that we were ever afraid.

Major Enablers of Fear

I already mentioned sinning as the basic cause of fear. God calls those who turn from Him, cowards. He determines that the unbelievers, corrupt, murderers, immoral shall burn in the lake of fire. Those who practice witchcraft, worship idols or keep idolatrous holidays, and all liars will die the second death in that sulphurous lake of fire. There are people who love only themselves and their money. They are inviting fear into their lives.

Sin hinders a person's progress from fear to love.

Those who sin are slaves to sin and the fear that results from those sins. For example, the sin of stealing leads to fear. But you say you do not steal, you are honest as "the day is long," a winter's day. That is exactly what the Israelites complained to God when He accused them of stealing. Then He explained that when they forgot or refused to tithe, they were stealing from Him.

The bitter fruit of sin is fear. But God wants sons and daughters, not slaves in His family. Sin not, be free, and fear not.

Once we decide to obey the laws of God, even if we slip on occasion, the reason to fear is gone.

Yet, we may be guilty of another attitude that leads to fear - anger. Slavery to our tempers gives a mighty foothold to the devil. We need not help our enemy to re-enslave us again to fear and disobedience. We must not let the sun go down on our anger. We need to confront and forgive those who wrong us and anger us. Even if the person does not fulfill the requirements of repentance - confession, change and restitution - we must have an attitude of forgiveness rather than one of revenge: vengeance is mine saith the Lord.

Challenge of Fear

Some people give in to their fears. Some fight them. A person may be afraid of heights. The one will keep away from the heights or stand far away from the edge of a tall building. The other will take every opportunity to find a skyscraper and look down from that edifice.

Yet, challenging fears in this manner have some efficacy, there is a better way. Let God do it. No matter how strong or dedicated we are, God is stronger and better. The best way, therefore, to overcome fears is to trust God to protect us from the author of fear and protect us from all real and imagined frights.

Trust God

As I often say there is a difference between believing in God and believing God. The former accepts the evidence of God's existence and lives his life the way he wants. The latter believes in God's promises and does everything to obtain the promises.

The way we obtain faith is by hearing the Word of God, better to listen or read aloud God's Word than reading it silently, even very slowly. God's Word gets deeper into our inner being when we hear it.

When we speak God's Word, it activates it and empowers us. (I shall dwell on this later.)

Faith is completed when we act on the Word we heard and spoke. We need to trust God in order to overcome our fears; for that which is in us is greater than that which is in the world.

 

God's Spirit in Us

When we apprehend God's Word and obey it, He will send His Spirit into us. The further we grow in the understanding of His Word and accomplishing what it says, the stronger God's Spirit operates us. Therefore, that which is in us, God's Spirit, is greater than the spirit of the world, Satan.

The spirit God gives us is one of wisdom, understanding, power, love and self-control, not of timidity. Because we hate lawlessness and sin, God anoints us with the oil of gladness, not fear or worry.

Because of the Spirit God gives to those who obey Him, God hears them and takes special care of them. The Spirit of Truth trumps the spirit of error and fear.

The Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against which there is no fear. For a person accomplished in love has no fear, because fear has to do with punishment. God's Spirit is love. God is Love. God pours his love out on His people. Those who are busy doing the things of love, have no time for disobedience or fear.

Weapons That Destroy Fear

Since our warfare against fear is spiritual, we need the spiritual weapons culled from the Word of God. If we seek the answers to fear, we must go to the source - God's Word.

Therefore, we pray to Our Father to remove our fears. Then we thank Him and praise Him for the answer to the prayer, because God will give us whatever we ask of Him according to His will. Clearly, it is His will that we have no fear, except of Him. Sometimes, it takes us time to realize God has blessed us with the answer to our prayers because we seem not to have received the answer. Nonetheless, we thank and praise God for what we prayed for, whether we see it or not. God's Word says God will give us all we ask according to His will. We must believe His promises. You know Abraham waited many years to receive the promised son. Abraham acted as if Isaac was born long before he was. We must have the same faith. So, once we pray for anything according to His will, we must thank and praise Him for what He promised until we receive it and, certainly afterward.

Sing psalms and rejoice because has freed us from all our fears. Make a joyful noise for the redemption of God through Jesus. You know the song: whistle a happy tune and fool yourself into believing you are not afraid. A cheerful heart is good medicine - it heals us of fear.

Fear goes cowering into the wasteland when we are busy applying all we do to the glory of God. It is when we are busy doing everything for our own benefit that fear shackles us. We ought to give thanks for all things, not just some nice things. All things work for good for those who love God and are being used for his purposes.

There is an armor of God. It consists of several parts that protect our bodies from evil spirits. We need the belt of truth to hold up our spiritual pants. We cover our upper body with the body armor of righteousness. We shod our feet with the Good News of the Kingdom of God that will carry us into it. We lift the all-repellant shield of faith that deflects all the fiery arrows of the evil one. We protect our heads with the helmet of salvation; so no evil thoughts will dissuade us from our heritage. Finally, we wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, with which we parry, swing, and impale all evils and destroy them.

But love covers sins and all wrongs. Jesus's love for us paid the death penalty for us. Fear and hatred causes trouble, but love hides a plethora of sins.

Look how God loves us, sets us the example. He will allow no evil to come into our homes. He puts His angels in charge of us. He keeps beasts and serpents away from us, especially the spiritual kind. He answers when we call to Him. He gives us long life and eternal life. He rescues us and gives us honor.

Power Over Fear

God through Jesus gives us the victory over fear. Jesus told us the truth, whatever or whomever we serve, we enslave ourselves to it or h(H)im. If we serve sin, we receive all the bondages sin bring, which includes slavery to fear.

God freed us from sin through Jesus, who died for our sins, as we all are fully aware. God freed us from having to sin anymore by writing His Laws on our hearts. We can ignore our hearts at our own peril and re-enslave ourselves to sin and fear.

So if Jesus made us free, we are free indeed. We walk by this liberty, earned at so high a price, when we seek and obey God precepts. Jesus has trod our iniquities underfoot; we need not grovel again to reclaim that which is dirty and evil. He cast our sins into the depths of the sea; we need not dive down to reclaim these evils.

Because of Jesus's sacrifice for us, he freed us from all the fruit of sin: fear, dread, enslavement, and death. He made us as innocent as the dawn of a new day and caused justice to shine in our lives in place of the darkness of dread. He gave us eternal life.

God granted us freedom from sin and fear because of His love for us, which He showed when He gave us the life of His only begotten son. Because we are aware of this fact, we further know that death, life, demons, present trouble, future dilemmas, evil powers, the sky, the sea, or anything in the entire world can separate us from God's love.

This love that God has for us can be called grace, which is God's lovingkindness toward us in that He will do all He can to bring us into His way and works.

Faith provides the impetus toward conquering fear. Simply, faith is doing what you believe. To be blatantly sabbatical, as it were, people who believe Jesus is lord, keep the day he lord of, the Sabbath. Others keep the traditional one began by Constantine.

We keep our eyes on Jesus, whom we follow, whom we trust, in whom we receive the promises, and in whom is the destruction of sin. God created the universe for His son and those who are His through His son.

As long as we abide in Jesus, as long as we are weak so he is strong in us, as long as we depend on the dependable one, we are safe from sin and fear. Jesus drove out demons from the people of Israel almost two thousand years ago, but will he do it today? Of course, he is the same as he was back in those thrilling days of yesteryear.

The reason Jesus can do so much for us, as driving out the demons of fear, is because God vested that, and other, authorities in Jesus. In fact, we know that Jesus received all authority from God, especially over the designing demon.
And if we will let him, we will invest some of his authority in us. He gave the apostles the power of sickness and demons. The apostles showed that power by healing and exorcising people in Jesus's name, that is, by his authority. It can still be done today, if we let Jesus thrive in our lives. Further, Jesus told us that if we have faith, we will do ever greater wonders than he did.

He will answer our prayers prayed in his name and prayed according to God's will. We have to trust his authority and obey God's Word truly.

If we do, we are more than conquerors in Jesus who proved his love for us. We do not conquer fear; Jesus does it for us. He gives us the strength, wisdom, courage, righteousness, salvation, and truth. Therefore, the Spirit God gives us through Jesus, conquers the spirit of the world that almost all believe in.

Declarations of Faith

Faith comes by hearing. Faith is released by confessing or speaking, as I said above. These are some of the verses that release the faith that can conquer fear:

Jesus is Lord . (Over fear.) - Rom 10:9-10.

By his stripes we are healed. (Of fear.) - 1 Pet 2:24

The son has made me free. (From fear) - John 8:36.

The love of God is shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit. (A Spirit of love, not fear.) - Rom 5:5.

The righteous are as bold as a lion. (We boldly take Jesus's victory over fear as ours.) - Pro 28:1.

He will never leave me or forsake me. (Never leave us to fear.) - Heb 13:5.

I am the redeemed of the Lord. (We are saved from the curse of fear.) - Psa 107:2.

The anointing of the Holy one abides in me. (The victory of the lord within us releases us from fear.) - 1 John 2:27.

And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons. (Jesus gave us authority of the demons of fear.) - Mar 16:17.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (We have the fruit that cast away all fear.) - John 15:5.

God made him who had no sin to be sin [Or be a sin offering] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (No fear can coexist with righteousness.) - 2Co 5:21.

What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.' (How can fear exist in the presence of God?) - 2Co 6:16 [Lev 26:12; Jer 32:38; Ezek 37:27].

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (All our needs!) - Phi 4:19.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (We have God's Spirit not the demon's.) - 2Ti 1:7.

Conclusion

No matter how many fears entrap us, we must not live our lives by fear. We must not avoid the bridge because of fear. We must not avoid traveling because we fear flying. We must not avoid doing things or not doing things because of fear.

God through Jesus has given us, has (past tense) given us victory over all our fears. We need to believe that ours is the victory through our faith in Jesus. We need to speak our conquest aloud. For your edification I suggest the following fifty scriptures be committed to memory and spoken aloud to help you take hold of your authority through Jesus over fear.

Bible Study:

2 Timothy 1:7, Hebrews 13:6, Isaiah 41:10, 43:1, 1 John 4:18, Proverbs 29:25, Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 27:3, Romans 8:15, 2 Chronicles 20:15, Proverbs 1:33, 3:23, 24, Psalm 34:4, 23:4, Proverbs 3:25, 10:24, Genesis 15:1, Exodus 14:13, Deuteronomy 1:21, 3:22, 31:8, Joshua 8:1, 10:25, 2 Kings 6:16, 2 Chronicles 20:17, Psalm 56:3, 4, Isaiah 35:4, 41:13, Jeremiah 46:27, Daniel 10:19, Joel 2:21, Isaiah 44:8, Matthew 10:31, Luke 12:32, Revelation 2:10, Philippians 1:14, Matthew 8:26, Revelation 21:8, Jeremiah 42:11, Psalm 91:5, 112:7, Leviticus 26:6, Luke 12:4, Job 5:21, Matthew 14:27, Mark 5:36, Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 12:2, and John 14:27. Amen.

Gil Kovacs

for the Sabbath Christian Church
(e-mail) kov@earthlink.net

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