Archive for the ‘Fear’ Category

“11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”  Ephesians 6:11-18(ESV)

The Bible speaks of spiritual battles, but what does that actually mean in our lives today?  The Old Testament describes many physical battles.  I would like you to really consider that at that time weapons included swords; spears; slings; and, bow and arrow.  If you imagine for a moment what such warfare would have been like, it is actually a pretty graphic and frightening prospect.  The scenes of death following such a battle would probably to be too disturbing to broadcast if television had been invented at that time.  This is the kind of language the Bible uses to describe the battle we have with the evil forces that are at work in this world.  I believe the reason this language is used is to try and convey to us just how destructive spiritual attack is to us.  If we are not defended it is going to really harm us, as a sword would to your body. 

Where physical attacks cut and destroy our bodies, spiritual attack focuses on our mind and emotions.  There are many ways that our minds and emotions can be attacked.

How do you know if you are under spiritual attack?  Usually the attack will take one of three forms:  1. Deception.  It started in the garden and has continued since.  The devil makes something or situation to appear as it is not.  2.  Temptation.  Read in Matthew 4 about the temptation of Jesus.  Often the devil is not tempting us with some extreme sin, he is doing anything to distract and take us off God’s best path for our life (but remember what we said, this is very dangerous to us even if it does not immediately appear to be so).  3.  Accusation.  If we have committed some sin in the past, the devil, and never God, rubs our face in it.  He discourages us, and makes us feel like giving up.  He will do anything to get you down. 

How do you withstand attack?  With the armour listed in Ephesians.  The belt of truth, meditate on God’s word and get truth into your mind.  When some doubt or lie comes to mind, respond in the way Jesus did: quote the Bible and say out loud ‘it is written’, and the devil will flee.  The breastplate of righteousness, try to life a holy life, it belongs to God after all.  The sandals of peace.  Peace should be our default position.  Faith is our shield, when your mind or emotions are all over the place, head back to what God has said and take refuge in Him.  The Spirit is our sword; let him fight our battles for us.  Finally, put on the helmet of salvation: if you have decided to follow Jesus, you are saved for all eternity to spend your life in a beautiful place with your Father God.

If your mind or emotions are suffering today, take confidence in God.  In the 19th century the British army were very often successful because they could stand.  In the face of a terrifying enemy advancing towards them there is a long period where nothing can be done.  Rifles have a range that is much shorter than cannon.  So under attack they knew how to stand and not run.  You’re human so I have no doubt you can run or fight, but can you stand?  Take confidence in God no matter what your circumstances are today. 

 “and having done all, to stand firm”


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Fully obeying God

We have a tendency to ‘half do’ things for God.  Perhaps we are unsure if He has really asked us.  If that is the case we should go back and ask the Lord for clear direction.  Once we know the will of God we should not hesitate to fully commit to His work. A woman came to the prophet Elisha and begged for help as she had no money and a creditor was on his way to take her two children for slaves as payment.  His reply to her was to “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbours, empty vessels and not too few”  2 Kings 4, 3.  He then filled them with oil, miraculously, which she was able to sell and repay all her debts.  There are a few interesting things in this small story.  The woman did not have enough pots of her own.  She had to go out and ask neighbours who would be wondering why.  There was no hiding that she was doing something.  This required boldness.  God often asks us to work quietly and humbly.  But that does not mean that no one at all will see that we are doing something.  In fact very often the world will see that we are living differently, even if they do not know the details.  I often feel self-conscious when God asks me to do something.  Perhaps I’ll just request a few ‘vessels’, then it will be more low key I think to myself.  But think of the blessings this woman would have missed out on if she did not obey fully.  She went out and asked for every pot she could find, and God filled every one of them.  Partial obedience is disobedience.  When God asks us to do something, let us go all out to fully do what He has asked for.

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Fear of good things

“And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4, v41, ESV).  It is only natural to be fearful of things we don’t want, but how often we are fearful of what is good!  People are often scared of changing job, moving house, getting married, all sorts of things that they actualy want.  The disciples in Mark 4 were crossing the lake in a small boat.  A storm came up which threatened the boat, and their lives.  Naturally they would be fearful.  We know they had Jesus in the boat with them, and really there was no need for them to fear.  We have Jesus with us also, and likewise there is no need for us to be afraid of situations that would naturally cause fear.  But a remarkable thing happens after Jesus calms the storm.  Once the danger has passed we are told that they were ‘filled with great fear’.  They were afraid of Jesus calming the storm.  Perhaps it was the awesome reality that it was God they were standing in front of.  Such fearful respect is good.  But perhaps it was fear.  There is no reason for us taking such a position.  Let us rejoice that Jesus is the all powerful One, who is all we need in every circumstance.

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