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Al Earley | Fear in the Hands of satan and God

By: Al Earley | www.lagrangepres.com

Late one night, a man went to a party and had too much to drink, so he decided it would be best to walk home. He found a shortcut through a poorly lit cemetery and, in the darkness, stumbled into an open grave. He tried to climb out but the walls were too slippery. Again and again he fell back into the grave. Finally, in exhaustion, he settled in a corner to wait for sunlight. A few minutes later, another man in the same condition was cutting through the cemetery and fell victim to the same grave. He, too, tried desperately to climb and claw his way out, and he was equally unsuccessful. Just as he was about to give up in hopeless resignation, he heard a voice from the darkness of the pit.

“You may as well give up, you’ll never get out of here,” the voice said. Thanks to the fear from being startled, the man made it out of the pit.

Fear is a powerful emotion. Satan uses it all the time to unravel the joy, peace, and victory God wants us to experience in life. On the night Jesus was arrested, the disciples were full of courage while Jesus was sharing their last supper.  When Jesus told them he would soon die, Peter confidently assured him, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.” (Matthew 26:35)  When the opportunity to show that courage came, Peter displayed nothing but fear as he denied Jesus three times. (Matthew 26:69-75)  Notice, when Peter pledged his allegiance, all the other disciples did the same, but they all ran when the temple police came to arrest Jesus. Also, notice these big powerful temple police came to arrest one man late in the night, equipped with weapons because they had learned to be afraid of the power he had. (Matthew 26:47)

There was a lot of fear surrounding the darkest time in human history, the arrest, mock trial, and crucifixion of the Son of God.

We can see the common signs of debilitating fear including worry, anxiety, cowardice, terror, weakness of mind, betrayal, and paralysis.  All this points to how satan uses fear against us.

 God uses fear as well.  The Bible tells us over and over, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. (Proverbs 1:7 to name a few) When we are full of awe and reverence for God, the fears that grow out of worry and anxiety will diminish greatly.  When we fear living our lives without God more than we fear anything else, then we will find we are full of the courage, wisdom, knowledge, and conviction to shatter satan’s cowardice, terror, betrayal, and paralysis.

The apostle John tells us in John 4:16-18 that God is love. He then develops this great news for our lives by proclaiming there is no fear in love.  Finally, the point we must always remember, when we face the terrors of life, “Perfect love drives out fear.”

If you are a fan of martial artist Jackie Chan’s movies, then you look forward to the unique and clever fight scenes.  Instead of just using karate chops and the like, he will use common everyday items, and create unbelievable fight scenes with them. In one scene, Chan fights off dozens of men with a step ladder. For me, just carrying a ladder around my house results in crashing against walls and chairs, so it’s pretty impressive to orchestrate such action using simple items in life.

In a sense, that’s what’s so amazing about God’s use of fear in our lives and His perfect love that casts out satan’s fear.  God’s plan for our salvation is through the birth of a boy, something that we see every day. To do this, Jesus takes a simple instrument of death, a cross, and transforms it into the symbol of life and hope around the world.  To share this message of love that casts out fear with the world, God has decided to use you and I, fallible people, because when the world sees us with faith to overcome fear, people will take notice.

What are you most afraid of?  How do you handle your fears, worries, and anxieties?  Are you better at wringing your hands while worrying, or folding your hands in prayer when life becomes frightening?  Have you ever had the experience of perfect love casting out fear?  If not, what is keeping you from exploring the promises of God in the Bible to help you live life courageously?

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles see, www.lagrangepres.com.