Duane Vander Klok
The other day I started my morning by reading my devotions and spending time with God, as usual. When I had finished, I turned on the news and found that it was filled with the negativity, uncertainty, and fear of current events. What God had been saying and what the world had been saying about our future was very different. So many people have fallen into fear because they have chosen to listen to what the world says over what God says.
When we value the ideas of the world over the promises of God, it is easy to give into fear and doubt. But that is not what God has called us to. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed upon You, because he trusts in You.” Are you in perfect peace, or are you being motivated by fear?
The enemy will try to pull you away from God by making you fearful, but God tells us to be strong and courageous. Stay in the Word of God and choose faith over fear.
The Temptation of Fear
During these trying times, we are faced with the temptation to be afraid. The enemy can use circumstances, uncertainty, or adversity to try to make us fearful or doubt the Word of God. He will oppose our faith at every opportunity trying to separate us from God. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Your enemy the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” The enemy is always trying to destroy our faith and relationship with God, and he will often use fear and doubt to do it.
Fear is an evil spirit used by the enemy; it does not come from God. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” You were not meant to live a life of fear. God has called you to be strong and courageous and resist the temptations of the enemy. Do not fear!
When we do give in to fear, it invites the enemy into our lives. In Job 3:25, Job said, “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me. And what I dreaded has happened to me.” Notice that the thing he feared came upon him because fear is faith in reverse. Just like faith brings God into our situation, fear opens the door for the devil to come into our situation, and what Job feared came to him.
In fact, Jesus said in John 14:1 NLT “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me.” There is plenty of trouble in a lot of people’s hearts today. There’s turmoil, fear, and dread of what will happen in the future, but as Jesus said, “do not let your heart be troubled.” In other words, do not let fear, lies, or emotions take control because if you will sow God’s Word in your heart, He will keep you in perfect peace.
When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river, He received the Holy Spirit as He came out of the water. Immediately, He was led into the wilderness where the enemy tried to oppose and test His faith, but Jesus overcame him. How can we keep our faith in the midst of difficult circumstances, uncertainty, or adversity? Like Jesus in the wilderness, we need to stand on the Word of God and value what He says more than the temptation of fear.
In the Word
In order to resist the temptation to be afraid, we need to be equipped. We need to be sowing the Word of God deep into our hearts every day so that when we are met with fear, we can stand firmly on what God has said rather than the lies of the enemy.
When Jesus faced the devil in the wilderness, He was prepared. For each temptation that was thrown at Him, He said, “It is written…” He had the truth of God’s Word so deep in His heart that he could not fall for the lies of the enemy.
Your reaction to temptation and fear will be a reflection of what is in your heart. If you have sown fear into your heart, you will react in fear when faced with uncertainty or adversity. So, what are you meditating on and sowing into your heart?
When Joshua was called to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, God tells him four times in Joshua 1 to “be strong and courageous.” In between these four encouragements, God instructs, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success,” Joshua 1:8. God was telling Joshua to draw his strength from the Word. Like Joshua, be strong and courageous, resist fear, and sow God’s truth deep into your heart.
Before Joshua was leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, he had come out of Egypt and traveled through the desert with Moses and the Israelites to find the land that God had for them. When they reached the land, Moses sent out twelve spies to survey the land and bring back a report to the Israelites. When they returned, all twelve agreed that the land was plentiful, overflowing with milk and honey. However, ten of the spies let fear take over and said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” Numbers 13:31. The Bible says these men gave a bad report because they chose to value their fear over God’s Word. They had forgotten that God had already promised them victory.
Only two spies, Joshua and Caleb, believed what God said. They encouraged the people saying, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are able to overcome it,” Numbers 13:30. But the Israelites had decided to let fear into their hearts. Even knowing that God had said He would give them the land, they put more value on what they thought they could or could not accomplish by themselves than they did on His promise.
The Israelites had forgotten all of the promises that God had already fulfilled for them. He had delivered them from Pharaoh, led them to the Promised Land, and fed them in the desert with manna from heaven. In Romans 1:21 it says, “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” The hearts of the Israelites were darkened and fearful because they did not remember the faithfulness of God—they did not glorify Him. He had already proven His promises to be true, yet they let fear grab hold of their hearts instead of praising Him and standing on their testimonies. We can resist fear by remembering the goodness of God.
Because the Israelites were moved by fear, they disregarded God’s promises and were unable to enter the Promised Land with Joshua and Caleb. Certainly, there will be times when you are tempted to give into fear, but God has not called you to live a fear-filled life. Like the Israelites, you have a choice to make. Be encouraged to remember what God says. Resist fear from the enemy, and choose faith in God. Stand firm knowing that His Word carries power and it is true now and forever.
Matthew 10:1 tells us that Jesus “…gave His disciples power over unclean spirits, to cast them out and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.” This authority covers all the works of the enemy, so if you are tempted to fall into fear, turn to God and start with this prayer:
Father, thank you that You did not create me to live with a spirit of fear. Because I have received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I now walk in Your authority and have power, love, and a sound mind. I choose to be strong and courageous, remembering Your promises. Therefore, I resist fear, and I will not give in to a spirit of fear. Thank you that because my mind is focused on You, You will keep me in perfect peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version unless otherwise stated.