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There are a lot of things which come against us over the course of our lives. Against the lost and the saved alike come the pressures of living, the threat of disease, the effects of aging, and many other things. One common denominator throughout the history of mankind has been fear. People have always had concerns about provision, health, security, and other such elements in life. It is not wrong to have such concerns. Also, you can expect to deal with a certain amount of fear if you are in combat as a soldier, if you’re a firefighter on a call, or if you are a police officer responding to a robbery, for example. What about those not in immediate danger? Those are the persons I am addressing here, and when fear passes the normal concern level and becomes inhibiting, there is a problem. And no, we do not have to look very far to find a superabundance of fear in these times that we are living in.


For two years now we have lived in the shadow of covid-19. Everything about the virus from its origins to safety protocols to treatment has become highly politicized. Regardless of what you believe personally about the coronavirus, it is undeniable that people have been scared to death because of covid. How many times have we been told that all the stuff being done—the lockdowns, the masks, the vaccines, the social distancing, and so on—is for our safety? How many times are we encouraged to stay safe? Fear is the common thread as well as the means of control, but it is in no way limited to covid-19.


Hyperinflated sex crime recidivism rates and the stereotyping of all sexual offenders as unredeemable monsters has resulted, since the 1990’s, in an entire bloc of laws and programs aimed at convicted sex offenders, including untenable (and very likely unconstitutional) registries and proximity laws, among other things. Why? Politicians tell us these laws are needed to keep us safe. Have you noticed that in the past decade or two, increasing numbers of surveillance cameras have been springing up all over the place like mushrooms on a soggy summer lawn? Keeping an eye on potential criminals is good for our safety. There is more. You need more home security in order to be safe. Those additional features on your car are to help you stay safe out on the road. On and on it goes. Fear, fear, and more fear. Be scared, stay scared. And it gets worse still. How? The Church has become just as scared as the world.


In her earliest days, the Church was a force to be reckoned with. People everywhere were astounded at the miracles performed, the healings, the deliverances, the sheer power of the message of the Gospel. Even her enemies recognized Christians as “these who have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). When the saints of the first couple of centuries bravely endured every torture that the ancient world could throw at a human being, their courage helped inspire others to convert to the faith. Over the course of time, though, something has happened. Although today there are still bold Christians out there witnessing, performing miracles, and even dying for the name of Jesus Christ, so many more are just as scared of the bad things in the world as the lost. Christians are demanding that other Christians be vaxxed and masked. Believers are just as terrified at the latest tornado warning as those who are without Jesus. Christians are scared to go to church! A little fear gets put into a believer and all of a sudden he or she is terrified of  going anywhere or doing anything. There is a veritable epidemic of fear in the body of Christ. Saints have forgotten who they are and Whose they are—if they were ever taught properly in the first place! The Church has forgotten that whenever the world says, “Be afraid,” the Word of God says, “Fear not.”


Bible scholars tell us there are 366 “fear nots” in the Word of God—enough for each day of the year even in leap years. If you are interested in that sort of thing you can go to a Christian outlet online such as LifeWay or Christianbook and order a calendar with these Scriptures on them. More immediately, though, what are some examples of this courageous way of living that Christians are called to?


One of my personal favorites, a Scripture I stand on in times of worry or fear, is this one:


2 Timothy 1:7:  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.


The Spirit of God lives in everyone who has been born again. By walking in His strength we can control ourselves, think clearly, and operate in His power. This becomes even more of a reality once you receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. There is no reason any Christian should be living in dread of every moment. It not only contradicts the verse we just read, it also clashes with the words of Christ:


Luke 12:4-5:  “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!


There are believers whom, through Bible illiteracy and tradition-bound preaching, have an unreasoning fear of the devil. I have actually heard Christians warn other believers to be careful about expressing their struggles aloud because Satan can hear them! Wow…What an insult to the One who died for them and gave them authority over the kingdom of darkness! Our battle is not directly against Satan, believe it or not, but against the demons under his command. It is God’s angelic host that directly engages Satan and the fallen angels in battle (Daniel 10:12-13, 20-21; Jude 1:9). And while we cannot be flippant or casual about spiritual warfare, because demons can be dangerous, we also are not to live in fear of them either but instead to walk in the authority that Christ gave us over these evil beings:


Matthew 10:1:  And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.


Luke 10:17-20: Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.


Are you unduly afraid of catching covid-19 or some other disease? It is not a sin to seek medical help for illnesses or to take preventative measures against getting sick. What is a problem is the failure of believers to remember that faith in God goes along with faith in medicine. Instead of being scared that you are going to catch every disease out there, stand on God’s Word:


Psalm 91:9-12:  Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.


Is that an automatic guarantee against all sickness? No. I have stood on this Scripture myself yet recently have had my own bout with covid. Understand that the promises in Psalms 91 are tied to obedience to God. They are not tied to the things that can befall us through living in a fallen world. We can avoid illnesses and other things brought on by disobedience to God but can still sometimes get sick because we are frail human beings. It happens, and even when it does—hear me well—that is no reason to quit standing on God’s Word in the future! I am still standing on Psalms 91 in spite of the bout with covid.


No matter how strong a believer you are, things can happen to you. As a resident of the South I have higher-than-average odds of having to contend with tornadoes, droughts, floods, heat waves, lightning strikes, and dangerous wildlife such as bees, wasps, hornets, mosquitoes, alligators, and snakes. If you live on the West Coast you are more likely to be dealing with earthquakes. Persons in Hawaii live near some very active volcanoes, and so on and so forth. Should we be scared to go outside? No! Live your life, especially if you are a Christian. If you are lost, my prayer is for you to be saved. If you are backslidden, come back home, you are no longer a part of the world. You cannot continue to live in open rebellion against your heavenly Father and expect to just dodge the fearsome things in life.


One more very pertinent area to address: Criminal activity. It does seem that crime is spiraling out of control, particularly in areas where authorities have taken a liberal, hands-off approach to it. No matter how much the mainstream media may spin the crime stories, facts are facts: Left to himself, man will devolve into anarchy sooner or later. Take reasonable precautions to defend yourself. Do not leave valuables unprotected, lock up when you leave home or leave your vehicle, park in well-lighted areas, and so on. It is not a sin to do these things; it is common sense. At the same time, do not let the fear of crime paralyze you into not living your life. As a believer you, of all people, should walk in confidence and boldness as a child of the King.


“Be afraid”—that is what the world says. Do that and you will never live as a bold witness for Christ. Furthermore, the greater your fear the more easily manipulated you are by the powers that be. A fearful Christian is also a much easier target for demons to attack. “Fear not”—that is what God and His Word say to us. Walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and the light of God’s Word. You will live with courage in this world fraught with fear, inspiring believers and unbelievers alike. Demons will take you seriously. When your feet hit the floor as you get up in the morning, does the kingdom of darkness know you are awake? If so, do the demons laugh, or do they tremble? No matter where you go, as a child of God always remember the words of our Lord and Savior:


John 16:33:  “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.