Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fear as a Foe

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" Romans 8:15

As we continue our brief look at fear and its influence on our lives we acknowledge that fear can be healthy or unhealthy.  As a protector and motivator it serves us.  But when we are captured by a spirit of fear we serve it.  As a foe, fear works against us internally to sabotage healthy living.  When we’re assailed by threats from the outside, we sometimes disable ourselves with fears from within that can turn obsessive.

This sabotaging fear distorts our perception of ourselves and the reality of the dangers we face.  It erodes confidence that we can handle a particular threatening relationship or situation and come out of it intact.  This form of anxiety undermines even the best of plans with insecurity, inadequacy, and self-doubt, which leads to a loss of heart that is crippling, and increases our vulnerability to danger.
Insecurity is tied to our core longing for love and acceptance. We desire to love others, but the frightening reality is that there is no guarantee that anyone will love us in return. Ultimately, insecurity leads to a fear of intimacy and results in withdrawal.

Inadequacy taps into our desire to make a significant difference in life—to know that we matter. We want to know that our life has meaning and purpose.  But past failures in our performance undermine our confidence that we will ever make the kind of difference in life that we dream of.

Self-doubt grows out of our feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. Upbringing, especially the impact of parents, goes a long way to shape our self-confidence. Doubters are paralyzed by “what if’s.”  Often, underneath a perfectionist’s flurry of activity is fear—the fear of failure (“I’ll never be able to measure up and be enough”) and the fear of success (“If I do succeed, I’ll never be able to keep it going”). Doubters fear trying, so they quit.

We must learn to conquer and even use our fear.
Many people choose safe lives in which failure (and therefore, real success) is highly unlikely. They never take risks, and they never fail; but they also die without any real service. They may never make a mistake, but they’ll also never make a difference.  Fear that strips us of vitality and zeal to live well must be dismantled.  But we must be careful not to handle fear in a way that aggravates instead of reduces the problem.

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The definition of courage is to act confidently in the face of fear.  God has provided His Spirit and His promises for us to walk in courage.  May we walk with boldness being aware of danger but confident in God’s care.

Scripture to Claim:
Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, But He will save you."  Isaiah 35:4   

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