Excerpt from Anxious No More! by David Cerullo.
Set Free from Unhealthy Fear.
It’s crucial for you to discern the difference between healthy and unhealthy fear. For example, it’s a good fear that keeps us from driving 120 miles an hour down the freeway, from standing too near the edge of a cliff, or from placing our hand on a hot stove. This kind of fear is God-given and helps to protect us.
However, there’s another kind of fear that comes from Satan. Instead of bringing us wisdom and safety, it’s designed by the enemy to place us in bondage. Often this satanic kind of fear is completely irrational: “The lazy man says, ‘There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!’” (Proverbs 26:13). And the writer observed: “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1). How sad to be terrified when there’s no actual danger!
Paul described another dimension of fear when he wrote, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Notice that the Lord never sends us “a spirit of fear.” So where would such a spiritual atYes tack come from? From the devil and his minions!
Just as God sends His angels as ministering spirits for our benefit, so the enemy sends his demonic forces to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Instead of blessing our lives as the fear of the Lord does, this kind of fear only brings us bondage.
Ironically, when we have a healthy, God-given fear, it protects us from the demonically inspired fear that brings spiritual paralysis. The Father calls us to holiness and a hatred of evil. He wants us to have a holy respect that moves us to purity and obedience. Instead of leading us to bondage, this is God’s way of leading us to supernatural peace and freedom.
As a believer, you have been liberated – set free! As King David joyfully sang, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4). Isn’t that beautiful? As we draw near to the Lord and enter His awesome presence, we’re delivered from our fears!
How does our Heavenly Father dispel our fears? By showing us His love. The apostle John wrote about this process:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:18-19).
Are you experiencing this great love from your Heavenly Father today – the love that dispels all fear? If so, you can rejoice that your Daddy is constantly available to protect and comfort you. Instead of bondage, you can walk in glorious freedom: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15).
Don’t Give Satan a Foothold
Although Satan has no right to torment you in any way, it’s important for you to avoid opening the door to his attacks. Paul warned about this, saying you shouldn’t engage in attitudes or actions that give the devil a “foothold” (Ephesians 4:27 NIV).
There are three important reasons fear should have no place in your life:
Fear denies the truth of Scripture.
The moment you allow earthly anxiety to determine your behavior, you are in direct conflict with the Word of God. The writer of Hebrews pointed this out:
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV).
Because of His promise to faithfully be with you through every trial, you don’t have to be afraid of anything. Even if you must walk through “the valley of the shadow of death,” He has promised to be with you and give you His protection and comfort (Psalm 23:4).
Resolve today that you will replace fear with faith and anxiety with action. Believe God’s Word when it says Jesus has been given all power in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). Our God reigns (Isaiah 52:7, Revelation 19:6), and He desires only the best for you.
Fear harms the temple of God.
The instant you were born again, the Almighty miraculously took residence in your body: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). Since your body is now God’s temple, you must not permit anxiety and fear to invade.
Medical research has proven beyond doubt that worry can cause heart trouble, high blood pressure, ulcers, stomach disorders, and more. If fear is damaging your body, that means it’s also hindering God’s purpose for your life. It’s one of the “weights” you must cast off if you’re to run with endurance and fulfill your calling in the Lord (Hebrews 12:1).
Fear hinders your Christian testimony.
Jesus challenged His followers, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). When you allow fear and anxiety to gain a foothold, the light of Jesus is diminished in your life. Instead of seeing His glory and grace through you, the surrounding world just sees a worrier.
Never believe the devil’s lie that worry is inevitable. Nor should you fall for his common argument that anxiety is an inherited trait from your parents, something you have no control over. When your eyes are fixed on Jesus, you can experience great peace even amid the fierce storms of life.
Although it’s understandable that you would take every human precaution to shield your family from danger, never forget that God is your only true source of complete safety. His Word affirms that, through faith, you “are kept by the power of God” (1 Peter 1:5). In difficult times, you can declare with the psalmist, “He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5).
My friend, no matter what you’re going through today, your Heavenly Father wants to give you victory. In His great kindness, He stands ready to forgive your past, heal your troubled spirit, strengthen your faith, and cast out all fear.
No longer should fear or feelings of inadequacy rob you of your peace of mind. No longer must you remain paralyzed from stepping into God’s highest will for your life. As you learn to put your trust in Him each day, you will be shutting the door on anxiety once and for all.
In every situation, confidence can rise in your heart. However, this confidence won’t come from a reliance on your own ability, for the Bible says “we should not trust in ourselves but in God” (2 Corinthians 1:9). The only way to have unshakeable confidence is to trust in God’s faithfulness to carry out the promises in His Word. When everything is shaking around you, you’ll be able to rest secure that “we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28).
As the apostle Paul reminded us, we are sufficient because of HIS sufficiency: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). Isn’t that great news? Our sufficiency is never in doubt, because it comes from our all-sufficient God, the great I Am!
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David Cerullo is CEO of Inspiration Ministries, an international ministry he established over 20 years ago to impact people for Christ worldwide through media. He and his wife Barbara have been married for more than 30 years. Ordained for ministry since 1974, he is committed to helping believers strengthen their walk. More from David on Inspiration.org.