When I was a young teenager, I was really into reading these books for teens on spiritual warfare. The books followed the lives of a brother and sister who had spiritual encounters with the occult, the demonic, witchcraft, etc. They were written in a way that showed God always overcomes evil and the importance of the Armor of God, however, they scared me to death. So much of the book was written to help the readers see that the occult is nothing to delve into while the brother and sister and the power of God didn't overcome evil until the climax of the book - as every good suspense book is written. But as a young teenager, this made me VERY afraid of the devil.
I had read the scriptures and grown up in Bible-teaching churches and a Christian family. I knew the devil was out to kill, steal, and destroy. He is the accuser of God's people. He isn't someone to poke a stick at. After reading those books, I had nightmares. Terrible ones. I could tell you story after story of nights when I woke up paralyzed by fear, hardly having a voice to pray and ask for help. This waned for a time, but shortly after I moved to an area that was inundated with witchcraft the dreams came back. The overwhelming fear came back. The spiritual oppression came back full force. I would wake up and feel like my voice disappeared. I would wake up and feel a presence in my room. If my voice came back, I would just start worshipping and saying out loud, "Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord." I felt like the darkness was haunting and taunting me.
Listen. We are NOT meant to live this way. We are NOT meant to be afraid of the dark, afraid of the demonic, afraid of the enemy. We are NOT meant to hide and cower until he goes away and leaves us alone. We are NOT meant to look for the devil hiding behind every bush in every circumstance. Let's not give him that much credit. He doesn't have any power over us unless we hand it over to him.
I began to understand this about 8 years ago, but God has been showing me some new things about where I stand with the devil.
I have heard it said so many times by believers, "greater levels, greater devils." Maybe that's true, I can't say for sure. I don't see much of a biblical precedent for that, but circumstantially speaking, the statement seems to carry some weight. "Greater levels, greater devils" is a statement that implies that the closer we get to God, the more the enemy is going to attack us. The attacks will get greater and greater, harder and harder as we draw near to God and his plan.
I don't know that I fully subscribe to that statement. I think sometimes that may be true, but I don't know if that is a steadfast rule for every believer.
There is a verse in the New Testament (1 John 3:8) that says Jesus came to "destroy the works of the devil." So if I think about it beyond Jesus' 33 years on earth, I have to understand something very important. The devil is still prowling the earth looking for who he can devour, he is still the prince and power of the air, he hasn't been thrown into the lake of fire yet. Jesus ascended into heaven and gave us his Spirit who gives us access to ALL of God's power. ALL of it. Not just some of it, but ALL of it. Did we get that? The power that raised dead men to life, healed the sick, and made blind people see is LIVING INSIDE OF US. And we have FULL ACCESS to that. On top of that, we are made to walk in the footsteps of Christ, fulfilling the mission he has put before us. Our lives and paths may look different, but we are purposed and equipped to DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL, just like Jesus. We aren't on the defense y'all! We are offensive players. We are STALKING the darkness.
I think each time we submit more fully to God and begin to fulfill our purpose, we come up against a spiritual wall. We enter into enemy territory and we are purposed to DESTROY the enemy in that territory. That territory belongs to God and we are the ones to TAKE IT BACK for God. We walk in a constant state of victory because our brother, Jesus, extended all of his power to us. We have full access to the resources of heaven and perfect victory, but it's up to us to go to God and receive it.
We are not made to be afraid of the enemy. We are made new in Christ so that he is AFRAID OF US. We are made to stalk the darkness, take back territory, and reign as sons and daughters of the most powerful, most loving, most righteous, most holy, most gracious, MOST HIGH GOD. El Elyon.
We have nothing to fear for our God is with us. Emmanuel. He provides the resources to secure the victory. Jehovah-Jireh. We have ranking over the enemy because we belong to the Almighty God. El Shaddai.
So let's stop cowering in fear. Let's stop doing what keeps us safe and start doing what we were purposed to do:
STALK the darkness. DESTROY the works of the devil. TAKE BACK territory.
WRITTEN BY: Lyndsay Terry
Read more from Lyndsay @ www.lyndsayterry.com
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Okay, so when you think of fear, what comes to mind?
Public speaking, you say?
Oh great, so you're tracking with me here! Apparently we are in good company, according to statistics.
All joking aside.. the latest development in my journey of overcoming fear has come about as a result of public speaking.
It's been quite the journey, which funnily enough, began a few years ago with public speaking. The subject? '20 Seconds of Insane Courage'.
Yep, true story.
I have dealt with completely and utterly paralyzing fear surrounding public speaking. It has been crippling and frustrating.
It has also somehow become freeing, serving as an altar on which I can clearly recall and trace and see the Lord's goodness.
Several months ago, I made a commitment to begin making time in the evenings to write a few days a week. From that commitment to myself and to God came this completely unexpected and beautiful time with the Lord and this pouring out of words onto pages of a notebook that I had not a clue what to do with. I just began to write and waited to see what, if anything, would come of this writing.
One Sunday morning soon after, right in the middle of worship, I suddenly knew what I was to do next. And look, I was not thrilled.
I mustered up twenty seconds of insane courage to approach our Pastor after service and said something like, "Umm, hi, so I've been writing this thing. And I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to share it in a communion meditation but I'd really rather not. I mean, I will. I want to. To be obedient, that is. Not a communion meditation. But I will because God said so. So.. Yeah." (Please insert about a thousand "um's" and imagine a very red face for the sake of historical accuracy)
And you know this was completely and totally the LORD because our Pastor was so very encouraging after those tangled words fell out of my mouth.
I lost a good bit of sleep as the day of my communion meditation approached. My heart was constantly in my throat and I shook like a leaf all that morning. I wanted desperately to run and begged the Lord to sustain me as I felt incredibly physically and emotionally weak. After I somehow managed to get through what I had written without passing out, I returned to my seat and sobbed through the rest of worship, crying out to God, saying, "Lord, this is for You. This is all about You. Please don't let me make this about me or my performance or how I may be perceived or received. Please just let You be visible and glorified above all else."
(God, in all His extravagant goodness and graciousness, allowed this morning to be an unthinkably beautiful and emboldening time for me anyway. He's lavishly good like that.)
Moving forward, though, this became a somewhat regular cycle over the next few months. My stomach would drop when I learned the date of my next meditation and I would feel absolutely sick as the time approached, even though I was growing in intimacy with the Lord in the preparation, prayer and worship leading up to Sunday service. One Saturday evening, I had had enough and texted a couple of precious friends of mine, asking what was so heavily laid on my heart, "Please pray for me. I am so sick over this and I am so sick of this. I am praying for ALL fear to GO and for the FEAR OF THE LORD to be the only thing remaining. Please pray with me!"
I share all of this with you, sweet friend, so you will have an idea of how much of a burden this fear has been for me. And there were many times when I thought I surrendered this fear to the Lord and anticipated breakthrough in this area of my faith, only to be perplexed and momentarily defeated when I didn't see this unfolding quite as I expected.
This was so because my trust in the Lord only went but so far, as it turned out. I trusted Him enough to step out in obedience. I trusted Him enough to place on my heart what to say for a particular service. But I had drawn a line and I didn't yet trust enough that He would fill my mouth if I only opened it in expectation that His Holy Spirit would guide my words and fill my gaps. I just couldn't do it and I reasoned that, well, it wasn't that I didn't trust Him. I just didn't trust myself. I was the problem.
And that right there was exactly the problem. Too much hinged on my ability, or lack thereof. Instead of fixing my eyes on Jesus and keeping my eyes there, too often my gaze wavered and I wondered why in the world I was drowning in this fear.
"In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge." Proverbs 14:26
"Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!" Psalm 34:9
I laid down my fear but then ultimately snatched it right back up because of my own lack.
Lack of fear of the Lord.
Lack of confidence in Him.
Lack of belief.
Fear of the Lord means having "a deep respect, reverence and awe for God's power and authority." If I don't allow Him complete and total authority over my fear, trusting that He, in His sovereignty, will come through, even when I don't see a way, how then can His perfect love cast out fear? (1 John 4:18)
How can we have a deep and personal reverence and awe of Jesus if we are not willing to lay it all down, to risk it all?
How can our eyes be opened to the magnificence of His power and authority in our lives- and how can He be glorified- if we won't loosen our grip on the things we feel like we need to hold onto simply because we are afraid of what will happen when we let go?
Oh, friend. It's quite the journey to exchange your fear for the only fear that is pure (Psalm 19:9). He is able. There are no words for the relief and freedom there is when we can finally wholly surrender our fears to Jesus. His desire is for chains to break and for scales to fall as our eyes are opened to His glory.
I praise Him for His great mercy in this walk of allowing Him to loose the grip of fear in my life. I still am growing in this area but have seen such a transformation. There is still trembling but it is before Him. I have seen Him provide and sustain in new and unimaginable ways this year and can say to you with confidence: God's power and authority far outweigh any fear you find yourself up against. He wants it out of your grasp so that you can see just how glorious He is. I stand in awe of all that He has done with such debilitating fear! Him and Him alone!
Lord, we praise you. You alone are worthy. You are worthy of it all. And so, Lord, we lay down our fear to you today. We lay it all down and pray that even our mustard seed of faith in doing this results in such an abundance and covers our lack in such a way that is unfathomable and unimaginable and supernatural. Please forgive us for the fears we have not yet been able to leave at your feet, God. Let your fear reign over our hearts and let all our worldly fear fall off. You are able, Lord. We cry out for freedom from fear and for a boldness for you and for your kingdom. "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
WRITTEN BY: OLIVIA CALDWELL
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When the time came for me to really let her go and say goodbye at the airport, the tears came. How could I impart upon her all the things I hadn’t said? How could I make sure she was making good choices and being safe? How could I let my baby go to the other side of the country without me? She was so young! I was afraid for her. Afraid for things she had never even thought about. This precious gift that God had given me was leaving me and it was time for me to let go. This was me sending my oldest daughter off to Seattle, Washington. She was going to be fine. I knew that in my heart. But not seeing her every day and not hearing her singing in the house and her silly laughing with her little sisters was going to leave a hole.
The fact of the matter is that I am no good at letting things go. I am afraid. Fear gets a foothold in my heart and I can’t seem to release things to God like I am supposed to. Proverbs 3:5 says we are to trust God and not lean on our own understanding. Philippians 4:6 says we aren’t supposed to be anxious, but let request be known to God. Romans 8:28 promises that it will all work together for those that love God. So why is this so hard?
The enemy is smart and knows how much we like to be in control. He knows what kinds of things make us worry and anxious and fearful. He knows that letting go in faith is hard enough, but when you add a touch of fear, it makes it even harder.
We hold tight to so many things. So many of these things are meant to be left at Jesus’ feet. This includes our kids! Yes, we are supposed to take care of them, but there comes a time when we do let go. He loves our kids even more than we do! He loves us more than we can imagine! Sweet sisters, we have to learn to let him take over in so many areas of our life. That job you want? He’s got a plan for it. The spouse you were given? God has it under control. That worry for health issues? He already knows how it is going to work out. That worry in the back of your mind that keeps you up at night striking fear in your heart for it to work out? Already taken care of according to His plan.
The opposite of FEAR is FAITH (a strong form of trust). That is power in our hands! The power that lives in us is built on that faith.
2 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
We must rest on that promise. We are told we have POWER, LOVE, and SELF-CONTROL in the face of our fears.
I let a few tears flow that day I put my 18 year old daughter on a plane to Seattle. I am guilty of telling her that she can always come home. But I let her go. I left her in the hands of the Father that loves her even more than I do and knows that she was raised to be independent. What do you need to leave at the feet of Jesus today? I promise that you will be glad you did. Let your fears of letting go be the first things to go.
WRITTEN BY: ANGIE REESE
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There is something so very calming about walking along the beach. Feeling the gritty grains of sand on my bare feet, and the gentle breeze as it lifts my hair to fully expose my face to the bright rays of the sun. It calms my spirit and feeds my soul. As if in the overflow... God wants to fully reveal my inner spirit, the real me, to the world. And in that revelation, I feel His peace.
I revel in that peace. It is a balm to the inner wounds of my soul and spirit. I am walking out the process of being healed and made whole. In this healing, I am able to step forward into the ocean's waves...even as they begin to crash at my feet. He guides me, but I must keep moving forward into the depths of His love and grace.
There is freedom in this intentional forward movement...this dance with the waters, as they swirl around my knees. Oh, what freedom! I love the dance!
This is what I was created for...this freedom to walk into all He has purposed for my life.
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~C.S. Lewis
And so I continue to wade into the waters, feeling the waves lift me and carry me,
"As You carry me, LORD, I surrender to Your path for my life. I feel You guiding me deeper still."
Sometimes the waves get a little rough. They rise up and slap me fully in the face. Still, I move forward as I regain my footing and catch my breath. Sometimes there is a struggle in moving forward into God's will. In breathing again, I am thrilled with the wonder of all He has created. And it fills me and enables me to continue on.
I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. ~Psalm 42:7, NLT
And then it happens. A rogue wave rises out of nowhere and knocks me off my feet! As the waves sweep over me, I struggle to regain my footing...there...there is the sand again. I dig in my heels to steady my body to let the waves sweep past me. Calm is restored. But I cannot move forward. I'm afraid to keep moving.
So I stand there, waist-deep. There will be more waves.
"Can You carry me, Lord? I'm not strong enough for this!"
I dig my heels further into the sand and refuse to move out into the deeper waters. I know He is calling me, but I am paralyzed with fear. I want to move...but as I hesitate, I feel the sands lifting and resettling around my feet as they sink further and further down into the sand ...the sinking sand. And I am STUCK! Unable to move forward into all He is calling me to. Into the wonder, into His grace. I feel the disgrace of the fall ...the shame of being stuck in my tracks.
And yet He calls me deeper still. Out of disgrace into His grace. As I reach out to take His hand, He pulls me out of the sinking sands. I move forward leaving fear and doubt in the wake of His love and mercy. And I am in awe of this God who loves me so.
I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, 'Do not close your ear to my cry for help!'
You came near when I called on you; you said, 'Do not fear!'
You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life.
~ Lamentations 3:55-58
Unstuck ... I am free! Free to walk deeper still into this calling. Into His arms...His strength. Into His grace.
Does fear have you stuck? Let God take your hand and step forward into His grace. When you do ... those things that hold you back will begin to fall away. Leaving you free...free from fear. Unstuck! Free to walk into all He created you to be.
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