Fighting the Bully of Fear

Something I have been thinking through lately is how to fight fear. Because it’s something the enemy tries to get me me with… often. And, to be honest, I think it’s been a stronghold in me. So this is me thinking out some thoughts on how to fight!

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I know my sins are forgiven. I know I belong to God through Jesus. But, oh, how the enemy loves to use fear in my life!

Fear can seem so innocent, but it become crippling. The enemy can use it to do so much damage in our lives: to stop us from doing what God has called us to do.

I was convicted by this quote:

“Fear is the enemy of everything God wants  to bring forth from your life. Fear will stop a woman dead in her tracks and keep her there for years- even decades. Fear will keep you from your God-given dreams and ambition. Fear will make you deny your gifts and turn a deaf ear to your calling. If you are going to move forward, if you are going to participate in the life God imagined when He thought of you, if you are going to drink deeply from the well of passion and grace, you must run with everything you have into the strong arms of God and let His perfect love drive out every fear.”

Thomas, A. (2003). Do You Think I’m Beautiful? ed. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers. (p.170)

But how do believers, as children of God through Jesus, fight fear?

Well, we have weapons. And one of those is the Word of God.

This is a verse that the Lord used to help me recently:

“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” Isaiah 41:13

It suddenly hit me as I looked at that verse. God is the One Who will help me. Often, God’s help comes through people; through people who step in and provide practical help. It hit me one night when I was struggling and I needed a lift and friends from church gave me one: I am not supposed to do this alone. God has provided people who are there to help me. But He also showed me something else: the help really comes from Him. It’s not dependent on a particular person or circumstance. It comes from Him, and it will come in different ways at different times, and maybe not always as I expect. But that doesn’t matter! It can be fun journey of watching out for how the Lord will provide: and realising that He always will.

Like once when I bumped into a friend who asked how I was doing. I admitted that I was feeling the battle, and he asked how he could pray. I asked him to pray for God’s peace, and he promised he would. And then suddenly, he spied a little rabbit and pointed it out! It was just a fun moment, spying an unexpected rabbit in a car park. And he, laughing said, “It’s a rabbit of peace!” It made me laugh, and kept me laughing when I would have been battling the fear. And I knew the laughter was God’s gift in that moment, to give me victory over the fear. It encouraged me so much: the help that will come from Him every time as we look to Him to provide it.

He promises that He will hold my hand. He will help me. And He promises that He will strengthen me, too.

I love these words:

“But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend.
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its farthest regions,
And said to you,
‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” Isaiah 41:8-10

And this:

“Behold, all those who were incensed against you
Shall be ashamed and disgraced;
They shall be as nothing,
And those who strive with you shall perish.
12 You shall seek them and not find them—
Those who contended with you.
Those who war against you
Shall be as nothing,
As a nonexistent thing.” Isaiah 41:11-12

My enemies (including fear) have no chance against the God of the universe! They will disappear into nothing!

And I have another weapon: prayer! And the prayers of others!

Working in full-time ministry, I have found that the spiritual battle can be fierce. Sometimes, there is a heavy sense that I am being attacked, and it just feels like it won’t lift. And I have learned something: a very wise thing to do when things feel like that is to send out a prayer letter to my supporters. Without fail, I have found that it works! Within a day or two, the weight has lifted. Something feels different. I feel upheld. I feel the strength of prayer behind me. And you don’t have to have a team of prayer supporters behind you to ask some friends to pray. Sometimes, it’s hard to do. I know that. It makes me feel vulnerable, and sometimes I just don’t like showing I am that vulnerable. But it’s worth it, because prayer works!

Worship, too, is such a powerful weapon when we know the enemy is at our back. I remember hearing a speaker talk about how, in spiritual warfare, the enemy hates to hear about the blood of Jesus. So he learned to sing about the blood of Jesus when he was struggling! I find it really helpful, too!

Ok, I’ll be honest here. Probably the place where I struggle most with fear is in my car. Driving and I have a love/hate relationship, with a history of struggles. There’s something about going 70mph (or even less) down the motorway that I have really, really hated- and still do sometimes! It can come back when I’m tired or stressed. God showed me that the way to tackle it was to gradually face the fear and build up my driving, leaning on Him, and He has helped me so much. But the fear comes back sometimes. And I need to fight it!

There’s no reason why my car can’t be a place of worship: a place where I can put on a worship CD and praise my God as loudly as I like, especially when driving feels tough!

And, you know, I think sometimes the fear is from the enemy, and I can speak out loud and tell it to leave in Jesus’ Name, bringing the blood of Jesus against it. Maybe that’s a new concept for you but, honestly, I have learned that sometimes it just needs to be done. I wouldn’t advise doing it if you’re not in a right relationship with God but, if you are, it can really help. It’s in Jesus’ Name, and never in our own. But sometimes it just really, really helps to tell the fear to LEAVE in Jesus’ Name! After all, He has the victory!

Those are some things I’ve been thinking through recently. It’s not complete thoughts- just me processing. I so don’t have this sorted! But I’m learning. And, if it’s a blessing to you, too, I’m glad.

We never have to give in to fear. If we belong to Jesus (and that’s available to all of us), we have victory in His Name, and He will always send us the help we need when we look to Him.

And, actually, in His Arms, the children of God through Jesus are so safe, no matter how fragile we feel. I’ve shared this poem on here before, but I want to share it again:

The Swallow’s Nest

‘Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.’ Psalm 84:3

Where swallows lay their babies,

My heart finds her rest

In refuge strong, Almighty,

By tender, loving Breast.

When tears and tearings bleed deep,

I can come away.

This bruised reed finds her comfort

Where nestlings sleep, all safe.

 

If lambs lie in His bosom,

And chicks beneath His wings,

Then I can still be broken

And healing find in Him.

For though He rules the thunder,

He holds the little lambs

And fragile ones find refuge

Close to the great I Am.

 

The winds may roar around me

Wild waves toss round my way,

Or cruel tongues mock and taunt me

Or darkness dim my day.

Where swallows lay their babies,

My heart find her rest.

How lovely are Thine altars

Beside the swallow’s nest!

(If you don’t know that security of God’s love through Jesus yet, you can! He waits for you with open arms. Come to Him and turn from your sins, receiving His free and gracious forgiveness because of what Jesus did on the cross. Surrender your life to Him and let Him lead as your Lord. It may not always be easy but it’s the best decision you could ever make, for now and for eternity… and you will know the security of being held in God’s loving arms… forever. He loves you and longs for you).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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