The power of fear
Imagine its Saturday, early evening, the weather is mild and the kids want you to come out and play some kickball. They’ve already set the bases, pumped the ball and recruited your spouse to the opposing team. Big belly laughs echo when they see you in action, running the bases as though it meant something. The unsympathetic cheering gives you a chuckle. A few feet from home plate your kid heaves the ball and misses you by an inch. “I still got it” you chant, grinning and realizing how wonderful your life is.
Now imagine you’re playing that game on the roof top of a skyscraper. Flat and square, the field and bases are the same. The players are the same – your family. There are no fences. Close your eyes and go there in your mind. What is your immediate reaction? What happens to you when you picture it? This is what the enemy does best. He takes joyful things and makes them scary. Playing kickball with your kids on top of a skyscraper brings absolutely nothing but fear to mind for any sane person. Even the image of it will increase your blood pressure. You certainly wouldn’t play a real game in that location but many of us do play the game in that CONDITION, AS IF the game were in that location – make sense? Either way the game is futile because your only goal is avoiding death. The lie is powerful when you believe it.
The showdown with fear
Let’s move from the hypothetical scenario above to a more tangible daily struggle with fear. There are many families whose bread winner is out of work. It’s been 18 months for us and it seems like a life time. The fear of poverty lingers with an inescapable heaviness like a miserable humidity -you’re always uncomfortably aware of it. Little things are acutely stressful and big things get avoided altogether.
Last night I nearly fell off my skyscraper! Actually I did step through the attic floor which doubles as our bathroom ceiling. The attic is where our AC unit lives and breathes. On occasion it sounds like its choking to death. Three days ago it conked out and the house became an oven; two days ago we paid for a new transformer to get the house cooled down; one day ago my wife noticed that our couch was soaked in rusty water. The AC condensation pan had rusted through and leaked orange water all the way downstairs and onto the couch. Ugh! I went up to stop the water and dry out the area. As I was using my right foot to gently towel off the attic floor, it gave way and pushed a flurry of soaked insulation and drywall chunks into the vanity below (her side). I held on to a beam and avoided the fall. Today we paid to replace that rusty pan avoiding further damage. Tomorrow, I’ll buy the drywall and paint to repair the ceiling; and two days from now we’ll be back where we started.
Okay, this is a typical problem for anyone with a 25 year old home- it goes with the territory- more frustrating than life altering. But when you have no income it is life altering, it changes the game. You don’t care about the frustration of it anymore, you just care that it took this months health insurance payment to cool the house. It puts you smack dab on top of that skyscraper (in your mind).
The enemy strikes hardest in these moments. When my foot crashed through the ceiling my wife was below in the bathroom looking up at me. Her face had a blank look as if she was transitioning from her “I give up” face, to her “I don’t care anymore” face. The emotional pendulum swings effortlessly between “hang- in- there” and “hopeless” in a moment; and it’s during this moment that you have to decide how you will react. This is the where the show down must take place.
What about rebuking the enemy?
When you know its spiritual warfare you should definitely rebuke the enemy. But honestly, when your skin touches the fire all your focus is on the pain and not the one who started the fire. But that’s okay because you have to be honest about the pain. Don’t try some kind of Zen move and pretend it doesn’t exist. The enemy is the father of lies. If you lie about it you only further his cause. Acknowledging that you’re in a painful struggle does not give him a victory. Rather, it takes his currency and makes it yours. What you do next that is even more critical!
You can credit the enemy and bow in defeat, but that won’t make him leave. It just gives him more foot- hold and places you at the doorstep of despair. The only real solution is to DISCREDIT the enemy by squaring your shoulders and standing up to him – in spite of the pain! Often our rebuke is like a yipping dog from an open window. It makes plenty of noise but poses no real threat to the passing stranger. This is different than just rebuking him. This is defeating him by your authority and God’s power.
Acknowledge Pain, Resist The Lie, Advance With Passion, Defeat The Enemy!
Let’s look at one of the great examples in scripture to illustrate the point. I’m a huge David fan because his life is filled with beautiful pictures of that warrior’s heart. He suffered and acknowledged his pain, yet passionately defended His God in spite of it. He advanced with zeal against the enemy and never lost a battle.
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and shield, my heart trusts in him and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song!
David’s faith and obedience:
1 Sam 17:48 “As the Philistine (Goliath) moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him”.
Absolutely awesome! Man, what a heart! This scrawny kid was literally facing his own death – just go there in your mind and imagine it. Goliath was a meaty 9 ft-plus and fearless. This is not Shrek, its Satan in a man suit -Scary stuff! The passage states that when Goliath began to advance on him, David sped up and went directly at him. Wow! And Wow! David ran toward the enemy! That is the answer! When you are under attack, get mad at the enemy, rebuke him and go on the offense. Take away his currency. He wants you to cower in fear and give up. But let’s follow David’s example and confront the enemy with zeal and passion, knowing that our heavenly Father will win the battle if we’ll step into it with faith. For encouragement, go back and read the story again in the context of this writing, it will bless your heart well beyond your time investment.(1 Samuel 17).
Fear is great the tool of the enemy. He creates it in us by reframing our perspective through painful circumstances. His goal is to kill our productivity and life’s work, steal our children and destroy our peace. But he cannot win if we acknowledge that pain and say “so what!” Then stand up and run at him with the authority of God‘s power just like David did. Rebuking is only a part of the battle plan. He will eventually flee when opposed by tough resistance, and then God will deliver your break through and your faith will soar. Today let’s recognize each other’s pain and help one another to be honest about it, but stand up together and RUN at the enemy in the name of our Mighty God! Get mad! And remember, we haven’t been given the spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love and a sound mind. The skyscraper is a lie – crush it!
Please alert me if I can be of some encouragement to you.
Kevin Adams contact: firstname.lastname@example.org