“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore…” ~ Luke 12:7
“I can’t breathe!” I exclaimed as I gasped for a small breath of air while a pain cut into my lungs like a knife. As the fog slowly lifted, pain had seized my left side as I struggled to move and breathe. Moments earlier, I had been barreling down the slopes on my snowboard when all of a sudden…
A woman and novice skier decided to stop abruptly right in the middle of the mountain blocking my intended path. There was no escape. In a split second I had to decide, “Do I smash into this woman and possibly cripple her or evade her jeopardizing myself?” I swerved out of her path and realized without any way to avoid it that I was heading straight for a cluster of trees! Baaam! I blacked out and woke up struggling to breathe. Inches above my left side which had made impact, there was a jagged tree branch sticking out of the trunk. If it had been a few inches lower, it would have speared right through me.
Although this happened many years ago, I can still remember the moments of fear right before and after impact when I didn’t know whether I was going to make it or not. I had to be taken down the mountain in a stretcher. Praise God my brother had been near by to come to my aid. I made it out and eventually recovered from a cracked rib cage.
What about you? Do you have a story like mine?
That wasn’t the only near miss in my life. God has saved me many times for his purpose. But dealing with fear is much deeper than the adrenaline rush that accompanies physical danger. It is an ominous cloud that lingers in one’s thoughts and emotions, and sadly, many people are under its icy grip. Its reach is far beyond the individual.
As of this writing in recent news in the USA, we have had a wave of unexpected tragedies and terrorist attacks. We have had fires that burned down a third of the northern Bay Area in California. Hurricanes beating against the southern states. Nuclear threats from enemies.
Do you feel the rise of the spirit of fear and uncertainty in our society? Has it reached into you as well? In the midst of such a world, God speaks into our lives.
He says, “Do not fear!” He has not given us the spirit of fear.
Jesus speaks to his disciples:
“And I say to you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear. Fear Him who after he has killed has power to throw into Hell. Yes, I say to you. Fear Him!
Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And yet not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.” ~ Luke 12:4-7
The Root of Fear
Fear is defined as:
a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; (dictionary.com) Root of the word means (sudden attack or danger)
It’s the idea of an ambush. You are going down the road and all of a sudden out of the bushes a gang of thugs rushes upon you and your family to attack you. But then it becomes this constant companion of paranoia… that behind every bush… there’s an attack lingering.
As I was meditating on this subject, I had a revelation in light of this passage of Scripture. What Jesus is saying is that if you know your God, you will realize you have no reason to fear.
All fear is ultimately rooted in not knowing who your Heavenly Father is. It comes from an identity crisis. We do not know who He is and so we do not know who we are either. Thus we are afraid.
If I am ambushed but realize I have an angelic army with me, I am no longer afraid. If I face financial struggle but realize that all of the riches of Heaven are mine, I am no longer afraid. If I have a doctor’s report that says I’m terminally ill, but realize that the God who raises the dead is at my right hand, I am no longer afraid.
How many people live with the paralysis of fear in their lives? Are you one of them?
What Are the Things We Fear?
Let’s make this specific. Do any of these describe you?
Many people fear rejection and abandonment. Thus they put on masks, becoming people they aren’t in order to please. They avoid situations of risk where they may be hurt or rejected. They live in fear and are never able to truly love because love requires vulnerability. Busyness is usually a cover up for the fear of rejection. I occupy my mind so that I don’t have time to think. I don’t have time to examine my heart and emotions because I overwhelm myself constantly with activities. I am uncomfortable with silence and rest. I find meaning in my busy schedule because I can control that. I cannot be rejected by my schedule. Distraction with media, drugs or workaholism is another form of escape from the fear of rejection.
The fear of pain. The pain of boredom, physical pain, or emotional pain. Thus like the first example, they avoid any people or situations that could cause this. Life must be carefully navigated as if walking through a minefield.
The fear of loss. Time, money, opportunities, relationships, reputation, freedom.
The fear of insufficiency and failure. This fear is rooted in shame. I feel shame because I have disappointed others. I have disappointed myself because I did not live up to a perceived standard set by society, moral law, or myself. I feel less than and unworthy to be in the presence of God or others.
The fear of being unloved. Similar to the previous fear, this is caused by words spoken against us or things done to us that make us feel unwanted. The messages by most modern media only reinforce what we are “not” and our need to perform or “have” in order to be accepted and loved. Sometimes people hear voices in their own head telling them they are not loved.
Symptoms of Being Controlled by Fear
What are some of the behaviors of those who are under the bondage of fear? How do we recognize this? Here is my list of symptoms:
- Manipulative and controlling of everyone around them. They seem to think they are everyone else’s boss yet don’t take orders from anyone.
- Excessive worriers.
- Critical and speak negative things. Tend to see the negative in all people and situations.
- Isolate themselves from community.
- Avoid anything that could cause pain or failure.
- Live with a profound lack of love and security.
- Feel a tightness or sickness in their stomach.
- Act abusively towards others through over reactions and rage.
- Try to create a fortress of security through keeping others or God at arm’s length or by putting their faith in an idol such as their own ability, intellect, or wealth.
- People controlled by fear live on the extremity of aggression or passivity. Fight or flight response to all situations.
- There is also a demonic element to fear. Those controlled by it are under the influence of the spirit of fear. Feeling it from time to time is different than someone controlled by fear.
- The demonic element can rob these people of sleep, joy and manifest in nightmares or horrible scenarios that play themselves out in their minds over and over. Something bad happening to them or their family for example.
If you said yes to any of these, you likely deal with the spirit of fear. The good news is God wants to set you free.
“God has not given you the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
How Then Shall We Be Free?
The secret to living free from the bondage of fear is to know your Heavenly Father. When we know who He is, there is no longer any reason to fear. We see ourselves in His light and abide under His supreme protection.
According to the text earlier, here are some truths about who God is.
Lie: God does not know about or care about my situation. I am alone.
Truth: Not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Heavenly Father’s notice.
Breakthrough: Your Father does not forget! Thus, you are noticed. You are not alone.
Lie: God does not understand me or the details of my struggles. He is too busy to care.
Truth: The very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Breakthrough: Your Father knows the intimate details of everything in your life! Thus, you are important. You are loved beyond measure.
Lie: Others have power over me to harm me.
Truth: Man’s power is incredibly limited. God is the only one who has the power to cast men into Hell or to grant eternal life.
Breakthrough: Your Father is infinitely powerful! Thus, you are provided for. You are protected.
There were so many times during the gospels where the disciples were afraid. They were afraid that they couldn’t provide food for the multitude. They were afraid of the wind and the waves. They were afraid of the mob that arrested Jesus. You see, God is patient with his people. The longer the disciples walked with Jesus, the more they realized who he was and consequently who God was. Each miracle, each teaching broke down the barriers of fear in their hearts until it was no more. In the book of Acts we see a radiant church that went willingly to the ends of the earth free from fear. This is what God has for us. This is what he has for you!
In conclusion, fear is something all mankind deals with. It has saturated our world. But as children of God, you and I do not have to live under its bondage. We can choose to embrace God’s truth that will set us free from the spirit of fear.
If you need deliverance from fear, I invite you to pray this prayer right now.
Heavenly Father, I repent for giving way to fear. It was my choice. I trusted in other things instead of you. They seemed bigger to me than you. I see now that this was all a lie. You are all powerful, loving, and nothing escapes your notice. Therefore, I am protected, provided for, noticed, and loved.
Deliver me from the spirit of fear. I tell it to leave now in Jesus’ name and never return! I am free. Help me to remember who you are day by day when fear tries to attack me and to abide in your perfect peace no matter what comes my way. I will live a life of faith in who you are. And I confess that as your child, I have nothing to fear.
Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.