I John 4:18 (ESV) There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me. (Jane Austen – Pride & Prejudice)
As I shared recently, I was minding my own business in a Wednesday night prayer service when God leveled a boom on my heart. I have been pressing and pushing lately for more. More of Him. More capacity to love. More ministry opportunities. Just giving more of me to have more of Him. It is times of passionate pursuit that the Lord has a way of lighting up the darkness keeping us from breakthrough. So on that night as our pastor spoke of heavy chains of bondage with an illustration that I realized I have been subject to intimidation. I was completely undone in a moment. Offended in my Spirit that the enemy had somehow backed me in a corner. The stronghold of intimidation had to come down. It is the lie of the enemy produced by fear that begins to slowly strangle our spirit inside in an attempt to stagnate our soul. Like any other root that is carefully and silently planted in the folds of our heart and mind, if not swiftly and soundly dealt with – it will have its way.
What is intimidation? When the Lord begins to reveal things to us, it is important to study it out strategically. I intend to regain my ground and take back this territory so with militant force I must first study the very thing that had taken me captive. The act of intimidation is to make timid. It means to fill with fear. This one is the kicker for me – to overawe. Misplaced awe is idol worship. To force into or deter from action by inducing fear or as by threats. To discourage or restrain from service illegally or unscrupulously by threats. Can you see it? Feel it? Hear it? Like the enemy of my soul dragging a long pointed finger through the sand daring me to cross it? Oh, I did. I made my way to the altar and rebuked this type of fear from my life. Perhaps you have been intimidated, too.
“But perfect love casts out fear.” Fear is a lie. To overcome a lie, one must know the truth. I am challenged today by the thought that I had overcome all fear, but found it lurking in the corners of my mind. In Galatians 5:1, it tells us – “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Slavery or bondage as a believer is not only confined to sin but any mindset contrary to Christ. Jesus is the Word. He came to set us free from ALL fear. It is important to identify every facet of fear in our life to open the gateway of truth involving every area of our life. Hidden blessings and promises are behind walls of fear, doubt and insecurity that can only be overcome by the Light of His Amazing Love. If you read a bit further in Galatians 5, you will find these verses – “You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” It only takes a tiny vacancy for a seed of fear to be planted in our heart and mind. Just one little hole void of Christ’s full occupancy will do and the enemy takes full advantage of ignorance to overtake us.
2 Timothy 1:6-7 (ESV) For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
No man is defeated without until has first been defeated within. (Eleanor Roosevelt)
To make timid. To fill with fear. It is up to you and me as believers to eradicate fear from our life. It begins with salvation and repentance that keeps us under the steady flow of the Blood of Jesus and then continual washing of His Word for purification and godliness. Just as you are what you eat, the things consumed in life will be the very things that grow from it. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world only applies to me if I choose to let Jesus Christ rule and reign in my life beginning with my body, mind, spirit and soul. I make that choice. My choice does not change Christ’s ability. However, whom the Son sets free is free indeed meaning I have a decision to make.
We must become ever so diligent in sorting through our thoughts, filtering our minds, and examining the contents regularly. It matters what you watch, listen to and entertain because it all is feeding your heart and mind. Your background cursor is spinning at all times. The truth builds confidence so that lies are more easily recognized. We must build up our mind with the Word of God. We must stir up the Holy Spirit within us. To overcome fear is an ongoing battle that will take on many battlefronts. You must strategize against fear and put on the full armor of God to defeat it. When we choose to live fearless and unintimidated lives by seeking the Lord for everything that is insecure in our life. Worry, anxiety and stress cannot coexist with the Perfect Love of God. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from ALL my fears.” (Psalm 34:4 – Emphasis Added)
Psalm 96:4-6 (ESV) For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Psalm 27:1-3 (ESV) The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
The definition of intimidation that hit the hardest was “to overawe”. Fear has the ability to lower our perception of God’s Power and render it impotent in our life. It places some other god on the throne of our heart and mind circumventing the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Great is the Lord. Greatly to be praised. We are to live in awe of God alone. Yet, to lack confidence, complain and criticize our life in any way demeans His Authority and Power through our dissatisfaction. But when He is exalted in our life and the other idols are destroyed – our life is transformed. Blessings come. Promises proliferate. Purposes fulfilled. Prosperity becomes our lifestyle beginning with our soul. By making the transition from intimidated to fearless, courage rises up within us as giants begin to fall. Our condition no longer matters. Our situation is temporary. His Power is manifested in our weakness. It is in the moment that fear is reckoned with that new hope arises. WE must put Jesus back on the throne of our life beginning with acknowledging and surrendering ever fear to His Authority and Power. It’s in our confession. It is in our praise. It’s a life of worship not dependent on what we see but solely founded on what we know.
Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Ephesians 6:16-17 (ESV) In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…
Courage is knowing what NOT to fear. (Plato)
The fear of God is produced by perfect love. Death should be our biggest fear in life outside of God because it is the end of hope without Jesus Christ. The sin penalty that compromised eternity is satisfied. Death is life for the believer. Every other fear is unfounded. We live in overwhelming victory thanks to Jesus. We have nothing to fear. However, where is our confidence? Confident hope must be constructed by active faith that secures our life with the Word of God and His Spirit. We must strive to know the Truth because it is what sets us free and keeps us free. We must not get tied up in civilian matters to be good soldiers of Christ. The lie of the enemy is cast down by truth. Truth is the smooth stone that falls every giant in our life. Nothing is impossible for God. Nothing. Not a single thing.
I have faced impossibilities that could have cost me what is most precious to me – a child. I had to walk to the edge of death and look death straight in the face and decide if I truly believed and received the Risen Savior. I had no guarantee in this life that he would survive. The statistic was a meager 2%. The treatment could cost him the remainder of his young life, but without it – he would 100% die in the very near future. When facing death, your priorities change drastically instantaneously. Suddenly, Easter had knew meaning in the month of June or July. The resurrection power of Jesus whether here or in eternity meant everything. I didn’t think the enemy could intimidate me with fear anymore, but I was wrong. He did. No one is ever immune to fear but must fight daily to remove it and allow courage and confidence in the Lord to take its place.
Romans 8:31-39 (ESV) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
He who has overcome his fears will truly be free. (Aristotle)
There is currently a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a Category 5 that just devastated the Bahamas. I was watching a video posted on social media of a family in the middle of the storm. Mama is in the bathroom in ankle deep water surrounded by her children praying loudly. Her prayers laced with obvious worship as she says to God, “Not my will God but Your Will be done.” She continues to say, “I trust you Lord.” Meanwhile, the camera moves around the house taking the mass destruction of 190 mph winds, storm surge, and heavy rain. The roof is falling in and the house is flooded. Yet, her heart cries out to the Living God. There is no hint of fear in her voice as she talks to the Lord confidently in the midst of devastation. I am in awe of her faith. I believe that in the end though wreaked by havoc that her house will still be standing. I believe her faith and confidence in the Lord will hold up the walls just as she declared by faith.
We must overcome our fear to be truly free. It means letting go of the temporary to fully embrace the eternal in our everyday life. To know His Word and do it is full obedience which by faith will usher in blessings and promises that you didn’t know exist – let alone pray for. The Goodness and Glory of God reserved for you will replace every part of you where fear is removed. Faith has a way of doing that when given the opportunity. I challenge you to test every door and window in your heart as I am. Make sure fear and intimidation have not crept in some tiny crevice. Ask the Lord to remove any that you encounter. Invite His Spirit to do good housekeeping. I challenge you to replace every lie with a new truth from His Word. To thank the Lord rather than complaining. To worship Him in the storm of life you are presently facing. To say, “Not my will but Your Will God!” The Son will set you free from fear! He will give you confidence and courage.