There was a surprising demand for the first edition of this booklet. That it could be of any use to help those afflicted by fear causes thanksgiving to God for his ability to use such an imperfect means to his glory.
As the demand for such a booklet persists, it has become necessary to go to print again, adding increased knowledge gained from sharing with and ministering to people who have become bound with this crippling bondage.
This second edition embraces all of the first edition, but includes many additions. It goes forth with the prayer that it might be used of God to bring peace and faith to many who are tormented and harassed by fear.
It seems to me that two of the devil's most powerful weapons are fear and discouragement. I am convinced that the answer to both lies in the delivering power of Jesus Christ, which power becomes effective through our faith and obedience.
D G Clark
FREEDOM FROM FEAR
"I cannot remember the first time that I began to fear, but as the days, weeks, months and then years wore on I became more afraid that I would go insane. I could hardly sit together with other people, be it in church or some place of amusement, because of the awful fear of going mad. Not a single day passed without a voice seeming to say to me that I was, or would be, insane. It did not matter where I was; this awful fear would come upon me. In the bus or on the train it would come. Even at meal times I would have to leave the table in panic as these thoughts came to me. The worst was at night: I would never sleep the whole night through, but would suddenly wake, my legs trembling, my body sweating, saying to myself that I was not mad.... I despaired of life when I thought of living perhaps another ten years being frightened every day of those years."In these graphic words a young man wrote his story of chronic fear after he had been delivered from it. His words echo the awful torment being experienced by countless thousands all over the civilised world in this enlightened twentieth century. Daily, the problem increases in alarming proportions. Its often due to our reaping what we have sown.
The case of the young man cited above turned out to be a most instructive example of deliverance from fear. As we sought God together, it became evident that the cause of his fear was rooted in certain sins. He immediately humbled himself before God, therefore, and confessed all he had done. God, who is very gracious, took him at his word, forgave him and gave the assurance that he could be released at once.
As soon as the spirit of fear was rebuked in the name of Jesus Christ, it left him, and he went home with great peace and much joy. He remained free for three years, but after four years returned for help.
Being rather surprised to see him in bondage again, I asked him the reason and discovered that the sins previously confessed had not been forsaken. In fact, they had become worse. The fear had returned in the form of peculiar attacks, coming without warning.
If you were God, what would you do with a young man like that? It appeared that once he was delivered he thought he could return to his 'normal' life of disobedience. But he was too important to God, as time was to show, for God to allow him to destroy himself that way.
God knew that the only way to keep that young man seeking a genuine spiritual experience was to allow his trouble to return. It had the desired effect! This time no cheap confession would release him. The only advice I could give him was that he should show God that he meant his sorrowful confession of four years previous by breaking off his sins.
It was a long road, but a very worthwhile one. It took one year. By that time it was evident that his heart was fully turned. I knew it when he prayed out of deep sincerity - "O Lord, keep the attacks coming until you possess every part of my life."
He is now not only fully delivered from his fear, but is a much used servant of God, with ample opportunity of helping to deliver others who have his old problem.
IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS
The Bible states, "My people are gone into captivity because they have no knowledge" (Isa. 5:13). It adds - "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6).
Although people are carelessly or deliberately ignorant of what the Bible teaches, it remains the best and most up-to-date text book on the subject of Fear. This is because the Bible is the only book which expounds every facet of Faith. Faith is the opposite of Fear and its sole effective antidote.
The writer to the Hebrews (2:14,15) says, "The children of a family share the same flesh and blood; and so he (Jesus Christ) too shared ours, so that through death he might break the power of him who had death at his command, that is, the devil; and might liberate those who, through fear of death, had all their lifetime been in servitude."
Fear that produces servitude or bondage does not originate with nor come from God. God may give permission, however, as in the case of the young man cited earlier, for fear to be used for our ultimate good.
Oppressive fear comes from a person whom the Bible calls the Devil. He is not just an evil influence.
The comprehensive answer to oppressive fear is found in faith; faith comes from Jesus Christ. Jesus is God who became a human being, so that through having physical life and a human body like ours, he might, by his own death and resurrection, conquer forever the root of fear over every man, that is, Death.
If permanent deliverance from fear is to be experienced, it is insufficient to deal with fear on its own. The instigator of that fear must be conquered - the devil. Only Jesus Christ, through you, has the power to overcome this enemy.
This is not just the Christian answer. It is the only answer.
Those experiencing oppressive fear have become subject to satanic power (not possession), or lies, or suggestions, or accusations.
But Jesus said, "The truth shall make you free" (John 8:32) and, "I AM the truth" (John 14:6)!
THE PROBLEM FORETOLD
Jesus had this to say about fear in our time: "On earth, whole countries will be in despair, afraid .... Men will faint from fear as they wait for what is coming over the whole earth; for the powers in space will be driven from their course. Then the Son of Man will appear, coming in a cloud with great power and glory. When these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, for your salvation is near" (Luke 21:25-28).
Lasting faith, strong enough to meet any fearful emergency, can only be built upon the trustworthiness of God's promises.
The prophetic Word of God is enough for any fearful soul, and if trusted in would certainly have saved the Liverpool couple who died with their three lovely children. They were so fearful about coming atomic warfare that they turned on the gas in their children's bedroom late one night and then went down to the river, tied themselves together, threw themselves in and died. This whole family perished needlessly.
As the tide of this age rises to its climax, it is little wonder that Fear is becoming such a major problem. More distressing than that, is the fact that while God has provided the remedy, so few seem to wish to take it.
Fear and Faith are opposites, incapable of a truce. If someone has faith, their fear has been overcome: but if fear reigns in any area of the life, it is because that area is void of faith.
Fear and Faith are made of the same stuff, but travel in opposite directions. They are like the "up" and "down" of an elevator. It is impossible to travel in both directions at the same time.
Those who have fear cannot believe that which is true, or they believe the wrong thing. It is necessary that they discover the truth, for truth is the foundation for faith.
Fear and faith do not work together, as some imagine, like the poles of a magnet. However, the wise person will use fear as a stepping stone to faith, rather than a stumbling stone.
Fear and Faith work against each other, like opposing armies.
There are other similar opposites: Hope and Despair, and, Love and Hatred.
In each case there is no reconciliation, though the one may be turned into the other. Know, however, that it is always easier to go from Love to Hatred, or Hope to Despair, than vice versa.
Observe this process from Love to Hatred in the story of Amnon and his half- sister Tamar, recorded in 2 Samuel 13. King David was father to them both, and Amnon loved his beautiful sister passionately. But in one moment his love turned to hatred, caused by the sin of lust. Tamar pleaded with Amnon to wait until they could be legally married, but he would not listen.
After his immoral act, which took away her purity forever, we read - "Then Amnon was filled with utter hatred for her; his hatred was stronger than the love he had felt." Tragic words!
It happened suddenly and two beautiful lives were ruined. Lust was the destroyer. It left a trail of barreness and murder in its wake. Could the situation not have been remedied? Yes, but it would necessitate humbling, repentance, obedience and faith, and there is no short cut. It's uphill all the way.
Alas, Amnon never took that road.
Little wonder Jesus said, "The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and few people find it."
Love is a saviour! If only Amnon had continued to love his sister, love would have saved him from both immorality and death.
Hatred is a destroyer! All sin finally destroys.
Similarly, unbelief and disobedience can turn the saving power of faith into the destroying force of fear.
Faith obeys God's commands and keeps us in a state of rest, because we trust God; unbelief robs us of this trust and imprisons us in Fear.
One of the great stories in the Bible of how a man turned his Fear into Faith is concerning King Hezekiah. Many of us learned a poem about it at school - "The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold, etc....."
In that great narrative, recorded three times in the scriptures, the city of Jerusalem was besieged by very superior forces. The situation was enough to make the bravest crumple with fear.
Hezekiah was afraid, but he did the wise thing: he sent an urgent message to the prophet Isaiah and requested that he intercede with God on their behalf. Isaiah did so and soon sent Hezekiah the will of God regarding the situation, and a promise of great deliverance.
The king immediately placed his confidence in God who had spoken, persuading his people to do the same. They were all filled with faith (not optimism) and history records that during the night 185,000 enemy troops succumbed to a divine intervention.
Faith may be defined as acting upon, or resting in, the declared mind of God regarding a given situation.
While it is admitted that faith in oneself, or self-confidence, can deliver us from some fear, this way is undesirable for two reasons: first, God is stronger than us and it is better to trust someone whose Word cannot fail; second, we become subject to weariness, weakness and age, which render us more liable to fear, whereas God is not subject to any of them.
Self-confidence, at best, is temporary, whereas God-confidence is permanent. If the reader will not seek the answer from God, there is little point in reading any further.
CAUSES OF FEAR
The causes of fear are endless. As there are natural and spiritual causes of fear, so there are natural and spiritual answers to deliverance from it.
The difference between natural and spiritual fear will be dealt with later, but we shall consider now several causes in brief detail. The list is far from being comprehensive, but will reveal definite patterns. First we must consider....
THE ROOT OF FEAR
A psychiatrist has stated that, in his opinion, all fear stems from the fear of death. Assuming this to be true, the answer to conquering fear will be found in conquering this root fear. To conquer it means that lesser fears may then more easily be overcome.
To convince oneself that "once we are dead we are dead all over" has not proved to be an effective cure. The problem is not the process of death so much, though it can hold fearful prospects in some cases of painful sickness or accident. Nor is it the fear of hitherto unknown experience.
The fear of death is basically caused through an inner consciousness that after death there is judgement. The Bible says it. Our conscience agrees to it, in spite of desperate attempts to smother it.
Why not face it squarely and sort out the matter, once for all?
There is only one human being who has conquered death forever and that is Jesus Christ. Others have claimed to provide an answer to death, but they are themselves dead. Jesus both died and indisputably rose from death with its keys in his possession.
His reason for coming was to solve this greatest of human problems. He revealed that if we die without having received God's pardon and his gift of eternal life, we will be cut off from God forever, with no-one to help us at the Great Judgement.
Death gets its power to hurt from SIN (1 Cor. 15:56). But the sinless Christ became our sin-bearer. Taking our guilt upon himself, he proceeded to pay sin's penalty in every part by his death on the cross. We should have died such a death because of our sin. He did it instead. His resurrection proves that our debt is paid. God now commands everyone to repent and believe the Gospel. This is where we must begin.
The wages of sin is death. The gift of God is eternal life. There is no other effective answer to the fear of death. It is no mere antidote. Those who repent of their sin may receive God's gift of everlasting life. Have you received it yet?
It is not religion you need, but LIFE. The best religion can do is to give you a code of behaviour. What is the use of the code until you have eternal life?
To ignore this is only to fail to deal with fear's main root - death! Unbelief in and rejection of God's remedy through Christ has robbed millions of peace and sent them to their grave with no hope and mounting fear.
While the psychiatrist's claim is basically right, the root of some fears does not go as deep as fear of death.
We may fear, for example, the crippling effect of some sickness or accident which we know is not fatal. We may fear the collapse of our "dreams" or fear the loss of personal ambition, fulfilment or financial security. None of these will cause death, though they have led some to commit suicide.
One thing seems certain: if it is not physical death that we fear, at least we fear the "death" of our aspirations, hopes and longings. And this is because we have become alienated from God.
A correct attitude can eliminate these lesser fears, and there is a spiritual cure for those who find it difficult or impossible to change their attitude.
Having examined the root, we shall now consider some causes of fear....
Symptoms: Questions like these can begin to torture the mind: "What will the boss say?" or, "Will I lose my job?" or, "Will my best friend forsake me?" or, "What will happen if my wife/husband knows?" or, "How will I be able to meet my obligations?" .... and a million more.
These unanswered questions have a habit of magnifying the problem out of all proportion. Great anxiety often follows. It is the anxiety that is the culprit, producing tensions, misery and sickness.
Diagnosis: This fear is caused by incomplete knowledge, or an inability to predict the behaviour of persons or circumstances.
Cure: A visit to the doctor can quickly remove fears roused through our ignorance of symptoms. A consultation with the bank manager can dissolve financial fears. A phone call and open chat can dissolve fears affecting relationships.
But who can dissolve fears caused through uncertainties too big for human beings to solve? Is there someone who knows all things and can help us?
Yes, there is! There is a superb and complete cure given in Philippians 4:6,7 "Have no anxiety, but in everything make your requests known to God in prayer and petition with thanksgiving. Then the peace of God, which is beyond our utmost understanding, will keep guard over your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus."
Note the three steps given: talk it all out first with God in prayer. This enables you to polarise the problem. Then go from prayer to pleading with God for his intervention, until faith reaches your heart. Finally, let the problem go by thanking God for making it now his care.
The cure for uncertainty is assurance. When no doctor or advisor can give you this, because of their own limitations, God is able. To trust him completely is to have full assurance.
And the greatest uncertainty... death? Of whom else could it be said that "everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life?" (John 3:16).
Symptoms: A young person may always be afraid to launch out and be themselves because one of their parents has been overbearing or over-protective. It can be because the family pride dictates that a certain behaviour or tradition has to be maintained.
School children have been known to suffer bilious attacks at set times of the day because a school teacher has behaved in a way towards that child that breaks down their self-confidence. Damage can be caused to timid children which can affect them for the rest of their lives.
Family poverty, which can be turned to good effect in character building and family unity, can also, if wrongly applied, make people fearful and resentful of those who progress.
Diagnosis: This fear is caused through the sufferer submitting to wrong standards or giving in to pressures. It is usually more difficult for those who are timid to reject these standards or pressures and make a stand for what they know to be right.
"Peace at any price" does not finally produce the required quiet they desire.
Cure: Such fears need to be located, which may take time, and then brought to the surface. To hide them is only to perpetuate defeat. They should be openly admitted and confessed.
The next step is for the sufferer to forgive the person who caused their fear. This forgiveness should come from the heart, thus enabling the "broken heart" to be healed.
The Christian only has to remember what Christ suffered on his behalf, and forgiveness of others becomes easy. Having forgiven, the vacuum should be filled by the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Symptoms: Some people fear things which do not exist. A fertile imagination, which can be a blessing if rightly used, gets out of control and creates unnecessary suffering.
A friendly elder of a church phoned the minister's wife and said, "I would like to have a word with you."
His idea of fun was to make it sound serious, not realising what he triggered off.
Immediately she began to conjure up all sorts of incidents which may have offended him. Conscience makes cowards out of most of us! By the time he arrived at the manse she had worked herself into a state of considerable anxiety.
She opened the door to him with a confused and whimpering question, whereas he walked in with a warm smile and asked - "On which side of the garden do you want me to plant the cabbages?"
Diagnosis: This fear thrives on a failure to examine the facts as they are, coupled with a fear of a person or circumstance involved. Possible loss of face adequately serves to aggravate it. Trying to work out the consequences brings it to boiling point.
Cure: A good dose of 2 Corinthians 10:5 - "Casting down imaginations (reasonings)... we compel every human thought to surrender in obedience to Christ." That obedience involves doing what God says 365 times in the Bible - "Fear not!"
A vivid imagination is not sinful, provided it is used constructively.
Symptoms: We build in our imagination an image of what we think we are like. Seldom does it fit us, for it is usually built on what we admire in several other people. We cannot bear to shatter this image, preferring to live on in an illusory world.
The thought of failing an examination, or losing first place, or losing our job through incapability or being laughed at, or being misunderstood, or being criticised, or being beaten at a game, takes away our joy and leaves us depressed, irritated and ill-tempered.
Diagnosis: It is easy to see that it springs from pride within us - an unbroken ego. It is caused by a love for ourselves which refuses to love our neighbour, lest he should have the ascendancy over us.
Cure: The sooner the image is shattered the better, to relieve us from the strain of keeping us ahead all the time, or keeping up a false appearance, or living a lie.
Jesus Christ, who will never be surpassed anyway, nevertheless made himself of no reputation. When we follow suit and give up our reputation, the fear of ever losing it goes at once. Humility, combined with a trust in God, restores our equilibrium.
To think highly of ourselves is asking for trouble. It is better to think highly of others. Paul recommended - "There must be no room for rivalry and personal vanity among you, but you must humbly reckon others better than yourselves" (Phil. 2:3).
Foster a reputation and it will devour you. Forsake it and it will protect you.
Symptoms: Some people cannot see anything commendable in themselves, whereas others brim over with self-confidence. The latter state is not the enviable one to be in, even though it may impress others for a little while.
Timidity makes us continually downgrade ourselves, but not in a humble way. It becomes destructive, for it develops an inferiority complex, and this in turn can bind with strong cords.
While it is good and healthy to face up to our inabilities and recognise ourselves for what we are, to stop at that point (which so many do) is to sink back into the despair of an inferiority complex, which is no help to God, others or yourself.
Diagnosis: Timidity results from accepting a satanic suggestion that, as we are so inferior to others, there is no possibility of our ever succeeding. This causes fear of acting in any way which others would laugh at, thus increasing the heart-break already so hard to bear.
Cure: The first thing to do is to see oneself in reality and heartily accept it. It was God who made you thus. Do not blame him, however, but find out his answer to and through you. The timid need to understand the power of humility, remembering that God will lift up the humble, whereas he will cast the proud down.
Humility is never complete until, having admitted our own inabilities and deficiencies, we look with dependence to God's all-sufficiency. This is why God has announced that his strength is made perfect in weakness. When Paul understood this he gloried in his weakness more than anything else (2 Cor. 12:9,10).
Those who are full of self-confidence make the regrettable mistake of not allowing God to move and work through their lives. But the timid have the advantage, provided they use their timidity as a conductor for a miracle of God's power in their lives.
Symptoms: Most of us have known this kind of fear from childhood. Maybe it was the "bully" in the class who breathed threats against us. If only we had called his bluff, but instead we became afraid. Adults often threaten children with punishments they have no intention of fulfilling. Some children, seeing it as a lie, react accordingly, sometimes with unfortunate results in behaviour, whereas the more sensitive child is subjected to the misery that such fear produces.
Threats can ruin days, situations and even a lifetime.
Diagnosis: This goes right to the root of all fear - the ultimate - death. Pain is only something to be feared en route.
Cure: Solomon's prescription is found in Proverbs 3:25 - "Be not afraid of sudden fear ..."
That is all very well when the threat may be very real.
The next verse (Proverbs 3:26) shows that trusting God will dissolve this fear - "For the Lord will be at your side and he will keep your foot clear of the trap." Remember the condition though - do not fear sudden fear!
David declared that he refused to fear what mere man would do to him, and Peter adds - "Have no fear of them: do not be perturbed, but hold the Lord Christ in reverence in your hearts" (1 Peter 3:14).
When Nehemiah was threatened with murder during that momentous rebuilding of Jerusalem, and someone suggested that he take refuge in the temple, his reply was epic - "Should a man like me run away? And can a man like me go into the sanctuary and survive? I will not go in. Then it dawned on me: God had not sent him..." (Neh. 6:11).
Our trust in God should not make us foolhardy. Gedaliah received adequate warning of his assassination, but trusted the fidelity of his assassin, instead of trusting God like Nehemiah (Jer. 40:7 to 41:3).
Fearing people brings a snare, whereas the fear of God delivers us from fear!
Symptoms: The likelihood of sickness, especially inherited sickness, produces great fear in many people and becomes a very real problem.
Such fear should never be persisted in, for it often provides the means for that particular sickness to develop. One of the worst of these is cancer, which is so distinctly connected with fear. Doctors usually hide the fact of cancer from their patients, so that the power generated by fear is minimised. While understanding the doctor's motive in doing this, it is open to question as to whether this is the best thing for the patient's spiritual well-being.
Fear of sickness can also cause symptoms which are very like the actual sickness, and cause considerable distress.
Diagnosis: Here again we have to trace this fear to its root - the fear of death. After seeing what has happened to others, particularly family members, the slightest pain becomes greatly magnified and produces an imprisoning bondage.
Cure: As this problem begins in the thought realm, the wrong thought about sickness should be rejected and cast out in the name of Jesus Christ. It is good to say out aloud - "I reject this wrong thought in Jesus' Name."
What is to be done if, in spite of this, the sickness develops, not now through fear of it, but for some basic reason? Instead of fighting against it and the accompanying feelings of despair, the first step to be taken is to recognise it, thank God for it, and ask him to speak to us through it. After that (and it must be from the heart) God's direction about healing should be sought. He may guide through his Word, or to a medical remedy.
Symptoms: Those things or situations which are unfamiliar to us have an uncanny ability to inject fear into us. It is a natural thing for most human beings to prefer to keep circulating in the familiar track, than to launch outside it.
This fear can express itself in a reluctance to eat something different to what we are accustomed: or, a resistance to walking along a new way or visiting a new scene: or, not wanting to change our job: or, hating to meet strangers, etc.
Diagnosis: Unconsciously, probably, those who fear the unknown have come to trust in the familiar thing and, therefore, now find their security in that thing, or whatever it might be.
Cure: Trust the God of the unknown, to whom all things are familiar. This is done simply and practically by committing everything to him in trustful prayer.
In lesser matters, however, release can be experienced by acquiring knowledge about the thing feared. That knowledge can be gained either by experience, or accepting the word of someone who can be trusted. Who can you trust most?
A Bible example will help us to understand. The disciples of Jesus were once caught in this category of fear. They were out on the sea of Galilee when they were suddenly overtaken by a storm which took them far beyond their knowledge of seamanship. Though they were experienced fishermen and sailors, the antics of the elements petrified them.
Jesus was with them in the boat, fast asleep after an arduous day's preaching. In their panic they woke him, complaining that he did not seem to care that they were about to die!
"Why are you so frightened?", Jesus answered. "How little faith you have!" Then he got up, gave a command to the wind and waves, and there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. "What kind of man is this?", they said. "Even the wind and the waves obey him!" (Matthew 8:26,27).
We must learn to trust the same Jesus if we want to experience his divine calm in situations beyond our control. Make the frightening circumstance his, by turning over the responsibility to him. That is what faith does!
Symptoms: For some, the thought of remaining unmarried for life brings such fear that they not only lose their inward peace, but find it difficult to behave properly towards other people, especially the opposite sex.
Nothing is worse than someone trying their hardest to attract someone else to marry them. (Of course, the beauty and marvel of normal romance is here excluded). Their very behaviour acts as a deterrent to the fulfilment of their desire.
For others, the fear is not single status: it is the loneliness resulting from their inability to make permanent, enduring friendships.
Diagnosis: Usually selfishness. While the desire is for ''love,'' there is failure to realise that love has nothing of selfish desire in it. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength: and our neighbour as ourselves. Those who put these two laws to work seldom suffer from loneliness. In fact, the reverse can be true, for their usefulness will so grow that they sometimes long for privacy!
Cure: Regarding ordinary friendships Solomon had this to say "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly." In order to show friendliness, it is necessary to bid farewell forever to selfish ways and attitudes. It is necessary to become outgoing and to begin to serve those around us.
Instead of fearing loneliness, let such people relax and start living to love and serve God and also others. This brings lasting friendship in due course and puts dynamic into everyday living. Selfish motives sow the seeds of fear and loneliness.
Regarding marriage, the first thing to do is to commit the matter into the hands of the one who instituted it in the first place God! Those who make marriage God's care find that he knows how to work things out the best way. He also knows if they would be better off to remain single. There are many who wish they had never married!
Let it never be forgotten that love does not seek its own fulfilment, but seeks the fulfilment of those loved.
Symptoms: This is closely connected with the fear of loneliness, particularly when insecurity begins to affect your relationships with friends. Insecure people try to imitate their friends, or someone whom they have consciously or unconsciously made their idol. The difficulty really starts when they discover that they do not fit the image they have created of themselves.
Diagnosis: The failure is due to placing confidence in oneself, especially when we are not what we imagine we are. Our little world begins to collapse over our heads and there are sometimes thoughts of suicide.
Cure: As stated under Timidity, such people are peculiarly fitted to put their faith in their Maker and allow him to make out of them a special vessel.
Why do we have to be like other people? Why do we have to lose ourselves in the recognised pattern created by mere human standards? Is not every snow flake different? It is better to be what we are and trust God to allow his purposes with us to bring forth the best in us.
Human fulfilment does not depend on our connection with society or the accepted standard. It depends on our connection with the divine. We were created in the beginning, not only for fellowship with God, but also to depend fully on him.
Having read thus far you may accuse me of trying to bring God into everything. I reply that it was our divorce from him through sin and self which has led to all our fear and human misery, upsets and the wars so prevalent among us.
The Psalmist said - "I sought the Lord's help and he answered me; he set me free from all my terrors" (Psalm 34:4).
Symptoms: Because of a failure to differentiate between genuine and false spiritual experiences, emotions, excesses, true and false joy, true and false healings, considerable fear develops and accomplishes a very fine satanic objective, namely, a renunciation of any kind of spiritual experience. Speaking in tongues, interpretation thereof and prophetic utterances often come under fire from the fearful or those wrongly taught.
Diagnosis: People are nervous of all spurious spiritual experiences because of the harm they are known to have caused. There is the true and the false, remember.
We should beware of all spiritists, fortune tellers, palm and teacup readers, ouija board operators, etc. God has commanded us to have nothing to do with them. They bring us into harmful touch with demon spirits, which at the beginning may appear harmless enough. The ouija board is directly responsible, according to some reports, for an increase in juvenile mental illness. Avoid all the above like the plague.
Cure: In each of us there is an adventuresome spirit, eager to try new experiences. We must recognise, first of all, that all that is supernatural is not from God. Much of it is dangerous and involvement in the spurious can mar our lives and produce unspeakable bondages. It may seem exciting and a challenge to our courage to contact demons via any media already mentioned, or via drugs, but the ensuing separation from God and the fear they cause do not justify any excursion in their fellowship.
The first thing to do, therefore, is to determine what is by the Holy Spirit and what is not. When the Holy Spirit is involved, there is holiness, peace, authority and power, though the behaviour of those whom he is filling may be out of the ordinary. On the Day of Pentecost the Christians were accused of being drunk. They were; but drunk with God's Spirit!
Let us recognise that genuine experiences of the Holy Spirit today include everything recorded in the Book of Acts, such as being born again of the Holy Spirit, sanctification of the Spirit, baptism in the Holy Spirit, manifesting spiritual gifts of every kind and the raising up of anointed ministries.
How are we to lose a fear of the genuine, while needing to retain a fear of the false and avoid the false? First, test it against the Word of God. Second, where applicable, test the spirit according to 1 John 4:1,2. Third, remember John 7:17 - "Whoever is willing to do what God wants will know whether what I teach comes from God or whether I speak on my own authority." The same principle applies to recognising true spiritual experience. If we only desire to conform to our group, or submit to threats of rejecting wrong teaching, then the fear will persist.
Finally, if you have been affected adversely through wrong spiritual experience, repent earnestly before God and ask an anointed servant of God to liberate you from its effect. Equally, if we have failed to experience the genuine because of fear that it was false, repent of the fear and seek God for the genuine.
Symptoms: There is a fear of discovery, because when sin is committed it makes us cover up at once.
These fears make us uneasy in the presence of certain people, especially if we think that they can see through us. An increase in the malady can easily make us social misfits with a grudge against society, or the church, all through fear of discovery. It makes us very critical, especially of hypocrites, for we see our own reflection.
Guilt fears make some people try to hide behind quick marriages or abortions. Others may seek electric shock treatment, hoping to forget the sin they have committed. Some try hiding behind a refuge of lies, while others throw themselves into drunkenness, drug taking, or a round of pleasures which keep them from stopping to think. Some imagine they can overcome a guilty conscience by accepting the theory of evolution, so that God and the judgement no longer exist! Some even try to hide behind a religious profession.
Diagnosis: An unwillingness to bring sin into the open with God and allow it to be dealt with in God's way, where peace may be found through divine forgiveness, followed by the new birth.
Cure: There is only one cure for sin and the guilt it produces. It is through repentance and the acceptance of what Jesus Christ did on the cross on our behalf as the perfect sacrifice for sin. Then, having made things right with God, for he is the author of the law which condemns us, we should make things right with those we have sinned against, as far as this is possible.
There cannot be another permanent cure, for if we do not get clearance from God in this way, then after death there is the great judgement, where all we have done will be uncovered.
Consider the triumph in this unique declaration: "The blood of Jesus Christ... cleanses from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
Nothing else is able to deal fully with the fear of meeting God. And to be right with God and men spells peace, perfect peace, and deliverance from guilt-fears.
Symptoms: All human beings are basically selfish and self-centred. Because of this, there are varying degrees of fear at the thought of losing our possessions, or power, or will, or fulfilment of our desires. We hate anything which challenges our citadel of self.
Advancing years, with little or no prospect of marriage or security, can become so fearsome that it has often led to suicide.
A crippling sickness, such as creeping paralysis, which slowly extinguishes all hope of recovery or being able to paddle one's own canoe through life can wrap the sufferer in a dark pall of fear.
Diagnosis: Having tasted, though sometimes bitterly, our independence from God, we are surprisingly loathe to surrender to his will, little realising that God's will is the one thing that will really open up our lives and personality. We wrongly consider that to become submissive to the divine will is a form of imprisonment, instead of the first real knowledge of freedom.
Cure: What is needed is the Lordship of someone greater than us who can be trusted: someone who is faithful, selfless in their interest and powerful enough to manage our affairs without fault, failure or fraud.
Who else but Jesus could say - "Do not be worried about the food and drink you need to stay alive, or about clothes for your body ... Which one of you can live a few years more by worrying about it?" (Matt. 6:25-27). Who else dare recommend - "Do not save riches here on earth" (Matt. 6:19)? Which other leader dare demand of his followers - "None of you can be my disciple unless he gives up everything he has" (Luke 14:33)?
Millions have discovered that God's character has not changed towards those who put their trust in him. The resulting fearlessness is peace indeed - peace this world cannot give. Only the Christian can triumphantly say:
"I thank thee for every blowNobody is ever really free until they have been liberated from the consuming power of self. This, by the way, applies also to the fear of redundancy at any time of life.
That in sorrow laid me low,
But in beating made me grow
For the skies."
The above causes of fear are not comprehensive. They are representative! They reveal a pattern both of cause and deliverance. Fear can only take us prisoner when God is left out of the picture. Fear can be turned into faith as soon as God is allowed to take over the situation or the life.
Types of Fear
There are three types of fear -
This can become our friend or our enemy, depending on how we use it. Properly used it brings happiness and safety to our lives. For example, fear of having an accident causes us to observe safety precautions and thus saves our lives many times a day. It not only preserves us, but preserves precious family relationships as a result.
We take pains to develop a fear of traffic in our children so that they can cross busy thoroughfares unharmed. This may also be regarded as an instinct for self-preservation, requiring development.
Fear of the consequences of failing an exam can make us study diligently and so save us from the miseries of disappointment, demotion and depression.
Governments spend large sums of money in teaching this fear to drivers, miners, machinists, pedestrians, etc., and thereby spare countless lives from death, or from injuries and permanent disablement.
Manufacturers do much to warn housewives in particular about the hazards of using their articles wrongly. People are seldom careful until they develop a fear of harm or loss. As it is, carelessness involves a steadily mounting toll of road and kitchen deaths.
We could go on with other examples ....
The important thing to notice is this: no kind of natural fear, properly used, ever produces oppressive fear, maladjustment, or other bondage. In fact, we are glad to discover that natural fear is a very necessary part of our humanity, and but for the powerful reflex actions it produces, few of us would be alive today.
MISUSED NATURAL FEAR
Just as the healthy function of eating and drinking can be abused to our hurt, producing overweight and drunkenness, so this God-given part of our personality, natural fear, may be put to wrong use.
You would expect God to warn us in the Bible of such misuse, and he does! This will be seen particularly when treating of fear of man, sickness and death. Sadly enough, those who ignore the teaching of the Bible learn the consequences of such misuse by bitter experience. Because they refuse or ignore God's prescribed remedy, they enter upon a lifetime of torment and misery.
We shall consider some forms of misused natural fear:
The Fear of Darkness. This is very common and usually commences during childhood. Adults can do almost irreparable harm to timid children by locking them in dark rooms or making eery sounds to make them cry out with terror.
When a child or nervous adult has this fear, some people react to it with a cruel desire to tease them by placing them in darkness. They think it is funny. If only they realised the misery they were creating.
It is better to help a person afraid of the dark to learn courage and change their cowardice into bravery. This may be done by being with them and instilling confidence into them.
The most effective way of conquering this fear is for the sufferer to take hold of two great Bible promises and link them together with God's oft- repeated command - "Fear not!"
The first promise is - "Safety is of the Lord" (Proverbs 21:31). The second is - "A man's fears will prove a snare to him, but he who trusts in the Lord has a high tower of refuge" (Proverbs 29:25).
Have you ever felt, when in a dark place, as if someone or something was going to harm you? Ever felt "creepy" in a dark house when alone? It is good at such times to rebuke the anxiety and remind yourself of these two promises, saying them out aloud if necessary. A real trust in God's ability to keep those promises works!
The Fear of Man. It may be "instinctive" to fear other people, but the Bible warns us that "The fear of man brings a snare."
This fear not only makes cowards of some people, but produces an inferiority complex in others.
It can also make hypocrites of us and rob us of the very purpose for which we were born.
We should never fear either man or devil.
This fear turned Joseph of Arimathea into a secret disciple (John 19:38), but he was mercifully delivered from it by a simple act of faith in God and was able to step into history at a very vital moment to do God's will.
It forced Pilate to make one of the greatest mistakes of justice ever known and later to forfeit both his position and his life.
It imprisoned the disciples in a room after Christ's death (John 20:19), into which they had locked themselves! Fear of man creates a self-made prison every time. But Jesus walked right through their barriers and a few days later filled them with the Holy Spirit, after which they exhibited a most remarkable faith and fearlessness.
It made Peter deny his Master three times, even with oaths and curses. Only repentance loosed him from its power when he met Jesus.
It recorded an unfortunate blot on Peter's apostolic ministry when he changed his behaviour to please some Jewish believers (Gal. 2:12). Paul was able to help him by not fearing his seniority and rebuking his action.
To fear those who are stronger than we are, be it physically, intellectually or spiritually, can create endless misery within us. The same thing happens if we fear those who threaten us with dismissal, injury or even death. Fear not!
We are not to use fear in these hurtful ways, for it neither helps us nor glorifies God. The Psalmist anchored his faith in God and cried, "In God I have put my trust: I will not fear what flesh can do unto me!"
Perhaps the finest record of an example of this fear and how it was overcome is given in the story of Daniel's three young friends in Daniel, chapter three.
They found themselves facing the ultimate of man's threatening, namely, death. But that was not all; it was death in a superheated furnace which raged so furiously that the flames leapt out and slew their executioners as they hurled them into it.
The king had commanded them to commit idolatry and they were not prepared to do it, for they feared God more than him. His wild threats only made them more resolute, and their reply to his threats requires examination by us. They said, "We are not worried about what will happen to us. If we are thrown into the flaming furnace, our God is able to deliver us; and he will deliver us out of your hand, Your Majesty. But if he doesn't, please understand, sir, that even then we will never under any circumstance serve your gods or worship the golden statue you have erected" (Dan. 3:16-18).
Their passion was not for personal safety, but to obey God who has the power of life after death. Why should they fear when they had found the secret to overcoming the fear of death?
Observe three things about their reply to the king: first, they confessed what they believed - "Our God is able..." Second, they announced their faith - "He will deliver us..." Even if the furnace incinerated their bodies, their spirits were saved. There might be momentary suffering, but they could not lose because they knew the Author of Life. Third, they submitted themselves to the will of God with triumph - "But if he doesn't... we will never... serve your gods."
These three young men had found that path which would be established by Jesus, for whom was no deliverance from death, yet he "committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously" (1 Peter 2:23).
This was no psychological opiate to help Jesus face the cross. He refused to fear mere man, the extent of whose attack on him could only produce, at most, physical death.
After three days he rose from the dead and mightily turned the tables of fear on his murderers.
The Fear of Sickness. Though already discussed on page nine, we shall now look into the book of Job which throws further light upon this potent form of misused natural fear. Many know the power this fear possesses to produce both false and true symptoms and even the sickness itself. So did Job.
He says in Job 3:25, "Every terror that haunted me has caught up with me, and all that I feared has come upon me." The Hebrew rendering throws extra light on his statement - "I feared a fear and IT came upon me." He saw it as a separate entity.
When it took hold of him it resulted in his being covered from head to foot with boils. Both the fear and the boils persisted relentlessly until he won the spiritual battle of faith. The assault against him was about as great as any man will ever face, but eventually he emerged triumphantly, having kept his eyes on God throughout, even when he could not understand God and was even critical of God's silence!
Yes, fear plays a big part in sickness, especially in those who only have an amateur knowledge of symptoms. A sound medical check-up will often dispel such fears and even pains.
The most reliable anchor, however, is the command of Jesus - "Don't be worried and upset. Believe in God, and believe also in me" (John 14:1).
The Fear of Death. Many, understandably, regard this fear as the summit of all fear. We have already quoted Hebrews 2:14,15 in this booklet, which states that this fear keeps humanity in bondage all their lives. Indeed, it flavours our whole outlook on life.
Deliverance from it is easy enough if we can get an answer to death itself. What is death? It is the penalty to be paid for sin. More will be considered on this later in this section. Has it ever been permanently conquered?
Yes, Jesus Christ rose from the dead and has remained alive ever since. This cannot be said of any other person that ever lived on the earth. This is why we find no hope in any other.
He conquered death and declared, "Don't be afraid! I am the first and the last. I am the living one! I was dead, but look, I am alive for ever and ever. I have authority over death and the world of the dead" (Rev. 1:17,18).
His mighty declaration to the human race is - "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will NEVER die" (John 11:26).
What actually is death, then? Is it more than something physical?
It is infinitely more than becoming a lifeless corpse. If you will honestly listen, something inside us "tells" us that our existence does not end with physical death. The Bible confirms this several times.
Why should we pay attention to the Bible? Because its faultless ability to prophesy the future without a single error qualifies it to speak with authority on this subject which lies beyond the scope of human intellect. The Bible states, "Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God" (Heb. 9:27). It is that judgement which really puts the fear into death, for we are afraid to meet God without our sins having been dealt with.
The Bible speaks of two deaths: the first is when physical life ends. The body becomes lifeless, but if that person has not received eternal life, their spirit is immediately shut up in Hell. Hell, not just a lifeless corpse, is the first death. The second death takes place after the Great Day of Judgement, when every human being will appear before God at the "Great White Throne." For those who know Christ through salvation, "upon such the second death has no claim." (Rev. 20:6). The ungodly will be cast into the Lake of Fire - "This lake of fire is the second death; and into it were flung any whose names were not to be found in the roll of the living" (Rev. 20:15).
For the true believer (and by this is meant not just a transformed belief, but also a transformed life through the power of divine faith within them), there is neither the first nor the second death.
For them, physical death is merely the required release into a totally new experience, as they enter the glories of Christ's eternal kingdom.
It should be obvious, therefore, that the possession of eternal life will expel all fear of death. To be careless about the question is to show great folly. To be atheistic about it is only to engage in wishful thinking.
We call it unnatural because it is foreign to our own personality, and is NOT a natural part of it. This fear comes from outside. Paul wrote to timid Timothy about it in 2 Timothy 1:7 - "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear."
Some would regard this as a mere influence. Such a view only underestimates the cause of unnatural fear and hinders deliverance from it. This fear emanates from another personality, a demon spirit, and deliverance is only secured when the demon itself is expelled.
If a bank has a fraudulent employee, it is better to expel that employee. It would be foolish to go on replacing the stolen money. The only alternative would be to convert the thief from his ways. Demons cannot be changed. They are not convertible!
Demons of fear (or, that cause fear) bring people into severe bondage, causing them to do some irrational things. (See section on Compulsions) Paul instructed the Romans - "The (Holy) Spirit you have received is not a spirit of slavery leading you back into a life of fear, but a Spirit that makes us sons ..." (Romans 8:15).
One of Job's three "friends" relates his encounter one night with a spirit of fear, and says "Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face: the hair of my flesh stood up ..." (Job 4:14,15). It was a very real experience, even more dramatic than the story which starts this booklet, and was not an hallucination or schizophrenic disturbance.
The experiences nowadays of people who are attacked by the demon of fear vary in intensity. Some can be more violent than in Job's friend's case. Others are milder. Sometimes voices are heard and dark forms seen, accompanied by uncontrollable thoughts and threats which can become so oppressive that suicide is contemplated. The fear of insanity and possible committal to a mental institution haunts such people and makes them very lonely, for they become afraid to make their case known.
Compulsions. One psychiatrist has described this malady as psychiatry's worst problem. Compulsions manifest themselves in a variety of ways. A common variety is that of picking up papers. Sufferers cannot bear to see a piece of paper lying on the footpath and the reason behind the compulsion is an unreasonable fear that if the paper is not picked up, something will go wrong. Nothing does go wrong, however!
There are other kinds of compulsions, such as endless washing of the hands, or collecting milk bottles. In the case of the latter there is always the very humbling process of returning them. But always there is this fear that some catastrophe will result. Others are compelled to think certain thoughts through twice. For others there is the endless checking up, two or three times, that doors have been locked.
Is it just super sensitivity? Without doubt those who are sensitive can fall prey easier than others, but the problem is obedience to the nagging dictates of a spirit of fear.
It can come into Christian activity and affect believers who are sensitive about the lost condition of sinners without Christ. They become compelled to try and witness to everyone and usually end by witnessing to none. They can be driven out of their beds at early hours of the morning, compelled to go and give out tracts, thinking it is God's direction.
Most sufferers of compulsions are surprised when it is pointed out to them that it is demon activity. It is not possession, but could become so eventually. Some are convinced that they are pleasing God. No bondage pleases God.
It is well to realise that the Holy Spirit is never compulsive. Demons and men are compulsive. The true Shepherd leads his sheep; it is the butcher who drives them.
A milder form of compulsion can interfere with people seeking divine guidance. Suddenly one text after another appears, all seeming to say the same thing. While God is prepared to confirm what he shows, he never needs to compel us to do something out of fear.
What remedy is there to compulsions? In the first place, the sufferer must be prepared to acknowledge divine principles and firmly reject the "voice" which compels them on. They must take a stand of trust in God, refusing to listen to the threat that "something will go wrong" and understand that continuance in that way will lead them into frightful bondage and darkness. Secondly, when the compulsions are very severe and the sufferer is powerless to free themselves, they should be delivered through the help of one of God's anointed servants. They should then make sure that they become filled with the Holy Spirit, for HE has all power over compulsive spirits.
Superstition. This may not seem worthy of our consideration, but that is not true, for superstitions, though they begin in an almost imperceptible form, can bind the whole personality eventually with fear. We see this at its worst in such places as Africa, where parents mar the facial features of their children and bow to other malpractices invented by witch doctors, all because of superstition. These permanent disfigurements are supposed to keep away evil spirits, which is a totally unreasonable argument.
Many think it is harmless or even fashionable to hold superstitions about Friday the thirteenth, or having to touch wood, or not to walk under a ladder, or not pass someone on the staircase, or stop the car when a black cat scampers across the road and spit out of the window before resuming the journey. These are interpreted as being signs of good or bad luck. They are considered by the fearful as ill omens, or good omens by the "brave."
Superstitions, which are all unreasonable, illogical and cowardly, deny the promise of the protecting hand of God. They are all heathen in essence. If persisted in they become the beginning of unnecessary anxiety and compulsions. This is why the complaint is so prevalent in families where spiritism in any of its forms has been tampered with.
Little better than the machinations of the witch doctor are some of the rituals and unscriptural ceremonies in some Christian churches, especially when these are trusted in for salvation. These superstitious practices carefully avoid what God requires first, namely, repentance.
Parents will often be in great fear because their children have not been "baptised" while they have no thought of their own nor their children's repentance and new birth of the Holy Spirit which alone can save the soul.
Others put their trust in the Communion to save them, or at least acquire forgiveness for them. Of such superstition Jesus said, "We ate and drank with you... He will say again, I don't know where you come from. Get away from me all you evildoers." (Luke 13:26,27).
Paul told the Athenians in Acts 17:22, when he saw their fear of having omitted some god in their worship, "I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious." The Amplified Bible translates "superstitious" in that passage as "reverent to demons."
Stop and think for a moment and you will agree that this is what is at the root of all superstition, namely, the beginning of obedience to demon promptings.
Why should we fear a mere date on the calendar, a wooden ladder, a cat? Why are people so careful not to invoke "bad luck?." It is childish. It is unreasonable. It is demonic.
What is to be done to be free of the power of superstitions?
First, there needs to be knowledge. Knowledge of the truth makes people free. Lack of it is a destroyer, because we become easy prey to superstitions. Knowledge is like light. Turn on the light and the darkness disappears. Light is more powerful than darkness, but wherever light is absent, darkness reigns.
Second, armed with knowledge, plus faith in God (who is more powerful than any demon) the sufferer should renounce his fear and refuse to be intimidated any further.
Note the contrast in Romans 8:12-15, "So then... we have an obligation, but not to live as our human nature wants us to. For if you live according to your human nature you are going to die... Those who are led by God's Spirit are God's sons. For the Spirit that God has given you (if you are born again) does not make you a slave and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God's sons..."
Such people have no place for superstition, compulsions or unnatural fear. Their obedience to God and his Word lets them experience Proverbs 1:33, "But whoever listens to me shall live without a care, undisturbed by fear of misfortune."
Possession. The demon of fear can not only oppress and afflict sufferers through the bondages of superstitions and compulsions, but in some cases may take possession and exhibit uncontrollable periods of fear. A person is only possessed when they no longer have control of their mind or their actions.
Entrance is often gained into Mansoul through pornographic, obscene or other inciting literature (lustful or criminal). Many of us know how the murder story or the hot thriller sent us to bed, when we were children, trembling from head to foot. Often it led to terrifying nightmares.
Adults may scoff at the consequences, but the fact remains that when persisted in, this kind of practice opens the subconscious of many a child to fear, beginning as nightmares, but going on to possession in due course.
Once admitted, these demonic fears are not ejected by simply turning over a new leaf. The fact is that a demonic personality has gripped the controls of the sufferer and slowly increases that grip.
Perhaps you think the case is being overstated.
One of America's greatest authorities on the American Comic Book, who spent years in research, declared in the writer's hearing at Uppsala University (Sweden) that the Comic Book has nine stages in all. It begins with the simple animal cartoon and ends with the murder thriller. He said that their investigations had revealed that all nine varieties depended on exactly the same basic elements for success.
Parents should exercise more care about what their children imbibe, before serious or permanent damage is done.
Demonic fears may also be inherited, and so may compulsions.
Sometimes admission is gained into the human spirit through some great shock or exposure to evil, or evil attack in early (or later) years. Many girls have experienced this through sexual assault at a tender age, and the effect is seldom worse than when such is perpetrated by their own father.
Idols. Something should be said about the keeping of idols in the home in the shape of momentoes from foreign lands. These may include images of a variety of kinds, especially little Buddhas, and totem poles.
The image itself has no power and should not be feared.
Sometimes, however, demons have been brought into connection with these idols by witch doctors, priests and others. They will set up fear, strange problems, sicknesses, etc. in the home and family.
Deliverance is simple: destroy the idol and get rid of it, preferably by fire.
Poltergeists. These occur often these days and haunt houses with queer manifestations, noises, shifting of furniture, etc. They cause great fear because there is no love in them. Call in a true servant of God to expel them in Jesus' name.
Deliverance from Unnatural Fear. While there are many ways in which these fears assail people, the most important question is - how are they to be dealt with?
James directs us to the remedy in James 4:7,8, "Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Oppose the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God; and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, sinners! Cleanse your hearts, you hypocrites."
It is generally useless to try and resist or oppose the devil without first submitting to God. This is precisely where many turn to other remedies, for they rebel against submission to God.
How foolish! His commands are neither grievous nor burdensome, but are the path to lasting liberty. Submission to God does not mean subjugation. Submission means obedience to his way, and it is the way of Life.
Satanic forces only fear the power of God's Holy Spirit. Drugs may temporarily deaden or relieve our condition, often with unfortunate side- effects. Permanent deliverance is only effected through God's power.
Submission to God involves us in three things -
a) Renunciation of and cleansing from sins of the past.
b) Purifying of the defiled conscience and heart.
c) Faith in Jesus Christ, which means acting in obedience to his word.
These three things remove the handles the devil has been holding onto in the sub conscious. Some try to get rid of these handles through psychoanalysis, which can have unfortunate and damaging repercussions. There is no "treatment" to be compared with the cleansing and restoring work of the Holy Spirit.
Psychoanalysis stirs up all sorts of mud in an effort to find the cause, whereas the light of the Holy Spirit is able to speedily uncover the cause and bring deliverance.
Psychoanalysis takes a person to pieces, but is often impotent to put them together again. The Holy Spirit does not work that way, for he knows how to put his finger directly on the trouble. With him there is no danger of losing our self-respect, but the very happy prospect of being delivered from self and all is egoistic power.
Having submitted to God, it is then necessary to stand up to and directly oppose the satanic spirit. God is truth, whereas Satan specialises in lies about superstitions, illicit sex, and the rest. Once we stand for the Truth, the lie will give way and Satan will flee.
Remember that temptation is not sin. But beware, for temptation becomes sin when it is yielded to. The power of temptation is not just the appeal it presents to our lower nature, but the lie it presents about the consequences.
Submission to God's commands is easy - thou shalt not!
If, after applying the above rules, the demon still does not depart, do not be discouraged, for discouragement is one of Satan's strongest weapons. Seek help from an anointed servant of God.
THE FEAR OF THE LORD
This is a marvellous kind of fear and it contains nothing in it which could ever be hurtful. Its attributes are fantastic and those wishing to be delivered from hurtful forms of fear (and remain free) need to know and experience them.
The Fear of the Lord is not something which makes us frightened, but knowing great power and dread of God produces a deep reverence and respect for God.
When a husband fears to upset a beautiful relationship with his wife, it does not mean he is frightened of her. He is probably stronger than her anyway. But because he puts such a high value on the relationship, he treats her with the utmost respect.
The Fear of the Lord is like that, yet far grander, for -
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever (Psalm 19:9)St. Luke, the beloved physician, tells us that this fear caused men to glorify God (Luke 7:16). Again, Dr. Luke informs us that it was this fear that delivered the Early Church from the cancerous working of covetousness (Acts 5:5). Covetousness is showing itself to be a personal, national and universal destroyer in this 20th Century.
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil (Proverbs 8:13)
The fear of the Lord is the principal part of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10)
In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence and his children shall have a place of refuge (Proverbs 14:26)
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life (Proverbs 14:27)
Paul told the Ephesians (5:21) that it took the Fear of the Lord to provide a lasting and effective way for church elders to work together, giving them the only sound basis by which they could submit themselves to each other without producing a dictatorship!
Why should the Fear of the Lord enjoy such success and yield such dividends?
It is because of God's character of LOVE. Fearing others has unfortunate results because of their character, and the worse they are (especially demons) the worse the result of fearing them.
Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God the Father are all LOVE.
The Fear of the Lord is not only harmless, but also healthful, because it has had all the fear removed from it!
John explains - "There is no room for fear in love; perfect love banishes fear. For fear brings with it the pains of judgement, and anyone who is afraid has not attained to love in its perfection" (1 John 4:18).
Why should fear rob us of perfect or complete love?
Because when fear is rooted in self, or in circumstances, or idols, or the demon of fear, none of these has perfect love in them. All are out of tune with God. All come far short of his perfection. They cannot provide us with the security that we so desperately need as dependent human beings.
The course should therefore be clear - man must be cleansed from sin, purified in his heart, turned to trust the Living God and be filled with God's Love.
The power of God's transforming love is in his Son Jesus Christ. Once he is admitted to the place of Lordship in our lives, God "pours out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us" (Romans 5:5).
When this Gift is received, we are born into God's eternal kingdom. Here is the place where we can find rest and security.
The secret of continuing in the liberty God gives is found in John 14:15, "If you love me, you will obey my commandments." The fear of the Lord, which is to hate evil, supplies the enablement for that!
The conclusion of Solomon after his vast search for satisfaction, was - "Fear God, and keep his commandments: this is the whole duty of man" (Eccl. 12:13). The Psalmist echoes - "Peace is the reward of those who love thy law; no pitfalls beset their path" (Psalm 119:165).
Yes, "Happy is the man who fears the Lord and finds great joy in his commandments. His descendants shall be the mightiest in the land, a blessed generation of good men" (Psalm 112:1,2).
Denis G. Clark.
Computerised version by R H Johnston © D G Clark (about 1970)
(Reproduced by permission of Mrs E Clark)
This paper may only be copied in its entirety for private non-commercial use. All other usage requires the written permission of R H Johnston email.