Fear is a bully—but not like the playground bully you had in elementary school. That bully was mouthy and wanted to be noticed by everybody. This bully doesn't want to be noticed. If he remains in the shadows it's easier for him to convince you that his threats are indeed facts—something bad is going to happen and there is nothing you can do about it.
If you are aware that you are being bullied by fear, please study this entire series several times; you will be encouraged. If you don't think you are being bullied by fear…this study is even more important for you.
Because God tells me sixty-three times in the KJV translation of His Word, “Fear not…,” I am going to make a bold statement: “No matter how positive or how spiritually mature you may be, fear has you convinced, in some areas of your life, that the threats are the facts.” I must convince you of this truth. If you are not convinced then fear will chew a hole in your life, and cause whatever God is pouring into you to leak out. You will be caught up in a never-ending cycle: either aware of His presence and provision in your life, or feeling like you are out there on your own.
When I was a boy on the farm, one of my jobs was to hold open the feed sacks while Dad would fill them with grain. Every once in a while I would unknowingly grab a sack that the mice had messed with. As Dad would fill the sack, the sack would fill my shoe. Now Dad was shoveling faster than the grain was running out of the hole in the bag, but it was still a losing battle. The hole had to be dealt with; otherwise most of the grain would leak out before that bag could ever make it the cattle. And a nearly‐empty gunnysack doesn't feed many cattle.
I'm all for being positive and concentrating on what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy as mentioned in Philippians 4:8. But I also have to deal with what is eating at me or it won't be long at all before I am nearly empty—consumed with my own survival, with little to offer to anyone else.
2 Corinthians 10: 5 says that I am to be “casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God…” I am to pull down and demolish any reasoning that is hostile to faith in Christ. I am to be diligent about making sure those rodents called fear don't eat a hole in my life.
My intention is to take fear out of its camouflage gear and dress it up in an iridescent‐looking outfit that you can spot from a mile away. I want the least little nibble of fear coming against you to set off a four‐alarm response that causes you to hear the voice of God saying, “Fear not.” And I want a bull’s‐eye on that critter so you can put a boot to it.
Please don't think fear is not an issue in your life. That's like living in a log cabin in the middle of the woods and thinking you can't have an issue with termites. If you've never checked for termites… then you have an issue. If you've never checked for fear… you will find plenty of it eating its way through your life.
I have become so sensitive to the operation of fear in my life and in the lives of others that I can sense it almost immediately. Fear probably comes against me more now than when I was oblivious to it, but I don't allow it to eat away at me very long before I deal with it. I still mistake threats for facts, but not nearly as much as I used to. Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about:
Federal politicians infuriate me. It's as if my own government is working against everything I am working for. But I'm making progress—only because God has shown me that fear is coming against me. When I am in a rage against elected officials, fear is breathing threats like: “Mike, you are dependent on the US economy, and if it goes down, you go down. Mike, you will never be able to help the poor out of poverty because the welfare system will always keep them trapped.” It’s easy to believe these threats are the facts—the inescapable truth that I just have to learn to live with. But because I have become sensitized to fear, an alarm goes off on the inside of me shouting: “Fear not!” And God then reminds me that He is bigger than government.
This is just one example of many…many…many…. I used to be so full of fear that I could barely function, but I didn't know it. Neither did anyone else. No one would have ever considered me to be full of fear. I was the risk taker—aggressive, bold, willing to step into any challenge…or so it seemed. Don't be deceived; fear will infest you, just the same as anyone else. So ask God for an inspection. It won’t be fun, but it will be rewarding.
Fear is like a wolf slobbering on your neck, eating away at your sense of well‐being by reminding you that your troubles are bigger than God. And if you're not paying attention you will begin to believe those threats. Even worse, you will begin to base your decisions on those threats, rather than on what God says about the situation.
Study 1 Peter 5:8. You don’t have to fear that you'll be eaten. You can turn around and face your adversary when he's breathing threats and tell him, “You are not bigger than my God!”
We'll continue tomorrow,