Make no mistake – fear is a dangerous and powerful enemy.
It is cunning and deceptive and can masquerade as a litany of emotions.
Anger, jealousy, unforgivness, anxiousness, intolerance, shame, bigotry, hatred, rebelliousness and selfishness share a single core – fear.
Whispers of doubt and worry that attempt to assail our thoughts are intentional attacks on our faith. And failure to resist these taunts will most definitely result in an entanglement of fear.
There is a popular adage “FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real”. I have loved this acronym from the moment I was introduced to it. It reminds us that we serve a God who is bigger than our circumstances. But the truth is,
Fear is real.
Many of us struggle with it on a daily, or even moment-by-moment basis. Often, we are not even aware of the struggle.
So, though in our mind we know that God is bigger than our circumstance, our heart trembles at the details of what we face. A very real question for many of us is this “How do we overcome the false evidence appearing real?”
For all those who like me, sometimes struggle with fear, I would like to introduce a new acronym:
FEAR: Faith Exposes Attacks of a Real Enemy
Fear will cause us to run from our difficulties, instead of trusting God to carry us through them. Fear, and the desire to escape it, can lead to anxiety, depression, and host of destructive coping habits.
No one is fully immune from fear.
Even those who have experienced great moves of God can be susceptible if they are not careful.
But, God, in His abundant mercy, has provided a way of escape from fear that is certain and true. Faith is the natural and far superior opponent of fear.
Fear is a tool of our ancient enemy. But faith is a gift from God.
It is graciously bestowed to His beloved children through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is is the supernatural fuel of our prayer life, and a worshipful demonstration of our love.
The decision to walk in faith must be taken up again and again. Every day can bring new concerns that attempt to allure us away from trusting in the Lord.
But God, in His great love, has not left us powerless.
Strength is found in seeking the presence of Christ through prayer, meditation and His Word. As we begin to understand His Will and Purpose, His Word becomes manifest through and in our lives, and our faith increases. As we grow in Christ, and mature in Spirit, we become able to more easily discern His truth. Faith acknowledges that our wisdom is as foolishness compared to the wisdom of God, and defers to His plan for every area of our life.
Faith also insulates us against the ravaging effects of fear, because faith exposes our situations, whether glorious, mundane, or challenging, as opportunities for our Savior to be glorified.
One of the reasons that fear is so effective is that it relies on us to do our very favorite thing: focus on ourselves. The more we focus on our hurts, disappointments, goals, interests and understanding, the more vulnerable we become. When we forget that our wisdom, protection, and provision must come through Christ, we are primed for an attack of fear.
God’s purpose for fear is that we acknowledge truth: we are not God. But, if we are not undergirded by faith, fear can drive us to find ways to cope with that truth –
Choices that separate us from God.
Habits that seek to replace God.
Many of us have abused ourselves, or others, in our attempt to replace God with people, things, or habits.
The enemy’s purpose for fear is not simply to make us afraid, it is to make us vulnerable to the suggestion toward sinful conduct.
A Real Enemy
Jesus claimed the existence of an enemy. Not a red boogeyman with horns and a pitchfork, but an ancient enemy of mankind, bent on our destruction and at odds with our God.
That enemy is real, and he will use others, situations, and even ourselves, to draw us away from the good will of Christ. Our enemy understands that fear causes us to walk limply, weak in power, as an injured Christian.
He understands that our prayers require the energy of our faith. Perhaps better than many of us, he knows that there is only one God – and He can not be replaced.
The Bible says the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy.
And He will use fear to accomplish that, if we allow him to.
Yes, it is true: Fear is real. But, we serve a mighty God, who has given us of His own Spirit that we might walk in victory over sin and death. As we shift our attention from our own interest, and endeavor to know and abide in Christ, we will find new peace, joy, strength, and power to overcome anything that seeks to subdue us.
For further study: 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Peter 5:8-9, John 10:10