– The Fear Factor

(c) followthesheeptracks.ca 2020

We are in a time when, as the Bible says, “men’s hearts will faint from fear and anxiety over what is coming upon the earth for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:26). Everything that does not belong to the Kingdom of God is about to go through great upheaval so that life as normal will not be possible. Evil people who manage to gain control in the realms of politics, religion, health care and more will make it seem as if they are one big powerful force coming against average people in a way that cannot be stopped. The changes are happening so fast it’s a challenge to keep up with them.

Add to that the modern way of communicating via the internet and we have an unprecedented degree of manipulation of information that can easily make matters seem even worse. In the age of electronics gone wild, when books and printed newspapers are now out of style, all kinds of electronic gadgets are used to feed us information generated by nameless, faceless people behind the scenes.

The truth of any given issue can be hidden while massive deception of the public occurs through our current electronic way of communicating. Before we had the internet our homes were private sanctuaries where we could rest from the cares of this world but now it’s like we’ve opened a way for all of it to bombard our hearts and minds 24/7 wherever we are. To simply be content to be on the receiving end without taking time to search out the truth for oneself is to risk being controlled and manipulated to an unprecedented degree, by the internet flowing through all our electronic devices.

Unless a person understands how to live for God in the face of it all there will appear to be no other solutions. If we are willing to be like a deer stuck in the headlights of an oncoming car then it’s only a matter of time before the impact takes place. Fear has a way of paralyzing people emotionally and mentally so they are unable to think clearly. When we’re locked into certain ways of thinking that actually contribute to the problems we face, it seems unnatural to do things differently. But that’s exactly what needs to happen. The answers are found in a two-way relationship with the Living God where we know how to put into practice the principles found in His Word. They come with learning to discern His will above all else, and heed it.

For example, Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

So in the face of overwhelming fear the most effective thing to do is go humble before God, even get on our knees in prayer, and pray: “God I humble myself to you now and I offer myself to you as a living sacrifice to become part of the solution to the times of evil now upon us. I ask you to help me not to conform to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. I thank you that you will make your will known to me as a result and I commit to heed it in order to over-rule fear in my life with your lavish love for all humanity.” Then wait and see what happens that we know for certain is from God.

A major contributor to the level of fear in our hearts and minds has to do with an uncertain future. We are accustomed to having some idea of what the future holds as we are taught to plan it out carefully for months, even years ahead. When we set our hearts on certain plans we’ve made only to see them dissolve into uncertainty, our hope can quickly be drained away by the fear of the unknown. Especially when our financial supply gets cut off we may be overcome by fear to the point of being unable to cope. When others depend on us to know what to do it adds more stress so our hearts truly can’t handle it all.

A very simple and effective solution comes from the Word of God. “Give no thought for tomorrow”. The full passage in Matthew 6:25-34 says that God knows all we need before we even ask or imagine it. He is well able to supply what we need His way, when we learn to prioritize and put first things first. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and everything else will be added as well. Give no thought for tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Even with financial matters that are out of control this principle does what the Bible says it will. Everything else will be added in ways we can’t always anticipate.

Trying not to worry about something by just not thinking about it, never works. Our minds must be focused on something else that brings the hope. The Word of God brings the hope especially when used in conjunction with being born again in His Holy Spirit. It’s one thing to read the Bible like it’s any other book; quite another to have a relationship with the author in a way that His Presence brings the actual substance of Biblical promises fulfilled.

It’s like the difference between a child being lost in the darkness and trying to fend for himself versus hearing the voice of his father saying “Here I am. I’ve got this. Trust me and I’ll show you what to do .You’ll be amazed at how I enable you to be sustained and bring solutions to other people.” This is the result of hearing the voice of God for oneself by being born again in the Holy Spirit. As Jesus said “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at My saying, ‘You must be born again.’ “

We become born again in the Holy Spirit of the Living God simply by asking. It involves a simple prayer something like this: “Dear God I agree that I need to be born again in your Holy Spirit in order to make progress in my life and to find life to the full as promised by Jesus Christ. I ask you now to lead me into a two-way relationship with you by the power of your Holy Spirit, in which I can learn to hear your voice for myself and experience the instant internal strength and wisdom I need to deal with the challenges of my life. I ask you to become the Lord and Saviour of my life so I can have maximum impact for good in the lives of others around me. I claim the promises in your Word for divine protection and favour for the children of your regenerating covenant of love (shared elsewhere on this site). I receive your Holy Spirit and the great peace that goes with it, which surpasses all understanding and prepares me to become courageous and full of hope as a light to many others around me. In Jesus’ Name I ask this, amen.”

Then begin studying God’s Word about how to be delivered from all fear to become invincibly strong in faith and love, with the power to become a peace-maker who brings hope in the lives of other people. The Bible says that fear is a form of slavery, especially fear of death (Hebrews 2:15). In 1 John 4:18 we see that the antidote to fear is love as it says “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

One of the most effective ways to get free from fear is to find ways to be motivated by love. If circumstances around us are such that everyone is thrown into fear, then pray for wisdom from God about how to get proactive in love which flushes out all fear. Then it becomes contagious so other people do the same. Pray for knowledge about how to find solutions for problems that appear to have none, so that hope and joy displace the negative influences as God proves He is very much present and willing to meet those needs.

Pray for awareness of people who may be alone with nobody to care for them so that we have reasons to share more love. Get pro-active in faith expressed through love to over-rule the pressures that provoke the fear. Refuse to let fear tell us what to do but instead wait on God for wisdom to know how to become proactive in love and pray for opportunities to do so. Then we become the head and not the tail of whatever situation brings the fear. We become leaders who are led by God Himself to solve things that looked impossible before.

A good analogy for how this looks is a scenario in which we are like children at the beach watching the big waves roll in. We want to go out and jump in the waves because it’s fun once we realize that our bodies are designed to float in water. In the same way that children run towards the big waves for the maximum splash, child-like faith in the Living God renders us as being able to face life’s biggest problems and overcome them in a way that brings joy and hope, when we put into practice the principles found in His Word.

Jesus said that unless we have the faith of little children we will certainly never enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:3). When we try to take on the world’s problems on our own with no influence from God we will undoubtedly be thrown into fear and confusion. We may be compelled to look out for ourselves above all else and still fall short because a very real enemy who is not even flesh and blood, is determined to come against the Judeo-Christian world with a vengeance. It takes a two-way relationship with the Living God to overcome. Learning to hear His voice for ourselves is critically important. Then we face those problems knowing that one little leap of faith in the will of God means we will be lifted up over the obstacles like a child rising above a crashing wave at the beach. Child-like faith gets it done and the joy of the Lord, which is our strength, soon follows.

Another powerful analogy has to do with a donkey that falls into a pit which was deliberately dug for that purpose. The perpetrator then comes to shovel the dirt back over the donkey to bury him alive. But the more dirt that gets thrown on the donkey, the more it gets shaken off onto the floor of the pit. Then the donkey keeps stepping up onto the dirt as the pit is being filled back in until it’s able to walk away.

This is a scriptural principle that involves turning the other cheek on perceived enemies whoever they may be. It’s not something a person can always do, who has no spiritual resolve to seek first the Kingdom of God, because it takes superhuman character and moral strength to get it done. It’s essentially about responding to curses from other people with blessings, not more curses in return. The power of our spoken words play a deciding role. It’s critically important to guard our speech and not say the first thing that comes to our mind, but to deliberately and strategically choose to speak blessings only. The results are beyond amazing. Lives get transformed instead of destroyed. People are led to repent of wrongdoing instead of doing worse. Peace takes the place of strife.

Romans 12:14-21 says “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. … Do not repay anyone evil for evil. … Do not take revenge but leave room for God’s wrath for it is written “It is Mine to avenge, I will repay” says the Lord. On the contrary ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty give him something to drink. … Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.”

The original Hebrew word for ‘bless’ in that scripture means ‘to speak well of.’ It’s about blessing people specifically with our words which means being careful not to run the down verbally behind their backs, but instead saying only good things about them publicly and privately even while they persecute us. This is the equivalent of the donkey using the dirt thrown on him to get lifted up himself, out of a pit. It’s the same principle at work with a little child running head-long into a big wave, taking a leap and being carried by the wave itself.

It all adds up to the love of God displacing the fear and mental torture that arises when we witness evil people planning our demise, or when bad news threatens to dominate our way of thinking. The fear doesn’t go away by some kind of mental force in our own heads; it gets flushed out of our hearts first of all, by love doing its work to overcome evil, and then our minds line up with that. God proves Himself to be very real by making things happen for us that we are incapable of doing without Him. The only way to learn this by experience is to try.

Speaking out the Word of God over our lives is powerfully effective in dispelling all fear. It makes more sense to take the time to start our day this way before doing anything else, than it does to spend each and every day terrified by what is befalling the world and getting backed into positions of defeat. That doesn’t need to happen and we can be much more productive by first seeking the Kingdom of God in our lives, and speaking out His Word over ourselves.

Some good examples to pray daily over ourselves and our loved ones are:

Psalm 37

Psalm 91

Isaiah 54

Psalm 84

Another way to prevent being cast into fear as a Spirit-led believer is to get out from under old covenant types of preaching; the kind that threatens us with hell-fire and punishment for not coming under Old Testament practices while completely avoiding the teachings of the New Testament. Watch for leaders who give the ‘or else’ scenarios if we don’t line up with their Old Testament demands while failing themselves to serve as new covenant good shepherds who lay down their lives for the sheep (John 10).

Even some spiritual leaders try to control and manipulate believers with veiled threats of punishment if they don’t line up with unscriptural human traditions, denominational rules,and so on. Sometimes it’s just easier to walk away from empty religion that exists to serve itself only and find a Spirit-led, two-way relationship with the Living God out in His great creation. This is right and good as log as we also find ways to fellowship with other believers even if it’s only two or three at a time.

The truth is that with the current trials coming in this world it’s also shaking up religious establishments in a way that exposes much of what is not from God. It’s not that the Church is being destroyed but that the religious blocks are being removed so the true Church -those who worship in Spirit and in truth- can be freed up to become all God created it to be. There is no room for religious fear in the face of a great outpouring of His lavish love. We need to choose the way of love for everyone we meet to carry forward God’s end-times plan for the Church.

In the end it is the Church that stands undefeated by the gates of hades, not the political systems of this world. The enemy comes in like a flood to destroy all that can be destroyed and God allows it to a certain extent to prove that the Church will never be conquered. Faith expressed through love makes it all happen.

Where financial matters are a big source of fear it can make all the difference between a stroke from all the stress, or a good night’s sleep, by taking God at His Word. He said “No one can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). Some Bible versions use the word ‘mammon’ instead of money to describe the worldly things that money can buy. Regardless, we can’t serve both. There’s a point where one has to take priority over the other and money is never a good master.

A simple uteffective way to handle financial challenges from the perspective of God’s Kingdom, is to make two lists. Call one the ‘Today’ list and call the other ‘Not Today.’ Then write on the ‘Today’ list every financial issue that must be resolved for this day only. Then come before the Lord in prayer and tell him we are seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness as His Word calls us to do. Ask Him to add everything else as well for this day, including solutions to the financial requirements for today, as we practice His Word which says ‘give no thought for tomorrow.’

Expect something to happen that is clearly from God in response. When it does, make a note of it and keep a journal of such answered prayers from God. He has countless ways to uphold the truth of the scriptures when we apply them to our lives. Watch what He’ll do that we can’t do without Him. He shows us what it means that He already knows our needs even before we ask (Matthew 6:8).

In the meantime we are also responsible to keep our hearts clean before Him as part of engaging His influence in our lives. We need to forgive others if we want Him to forgive us for our sins. We must heed the scriptures about godly living by not lying, stealing, hating others, engaging in unscriptural sexual behaviour and more. Such things put distance between ourselves and God so that we may be left wondering why He doesn’t respond when we call. But express a commitment to become a better person as He leads, and ask for His help, and watch what He’ll do.

Most importantly, turn off all the electronics. Put away the phones, laptops, shut off the TVs and get outside in the fresh air. Just try to do it for one day to see how much of an addiction they have become. The electric energy being radiated into our senses each day have a powerfully negative impact on our brains. It becomes like an addiction that we can get away from. We are being drawn like deer into the headlights of an oncoming car by allowing the information coming from the electronics to have so much impact in our lives. We have far more impact to overcome all the bad news IF we will only put first things first in the Kingdom of God and teach our children to do the same.

Then fear turns into hope, and hope does not disappoint when teamed up with a Spirit-led relationship with God through Jesus Christ. What we fear does not come to pass because the Creator of the universe is well able to produce entirely different results.

As 1 Corinthians 13 says “And these three remain: faith, hope and love.” Once faith and hope have their way we are perfected in God’s love which flushes out all fear.