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FEARS AND OBSESSIONS COUNTER THE BIBLE MESSAGE AND PREVENT LIFE FROM BEING LIVED
Do you fear so many things in life that you don't have a life? For some, that's a serious question.
The other day a priest spoke about a woman he knew who was full of this kind of trepidation. She had a phobia about germs. Before she would visit friends, she would call to see if anyone in the house (or coming to a party) had any sort of cold or illness. She wouldn't let her kids eat lunch at school for fear of viruses or bacteria, and so would pick them up each lunchtime and take them home to feed them. When folks visited her house and touched the telephone, out would come the Lysol. And it wasn't just germs: she moved her bed from a window for fear an electrical line would fall down and through the glass electrifying her.
This is someone who not only didn't live life to the fullest but didn't live it at all. What she lived was not what God had for her. What she lived had been sent up by her flesh (or the devil). Indeed, one of Satan's greatest tools is fear (when we have fear we have faith in him).
That yields dark forces that feed energy into negativity.
Suddenly fears are realized.
It's a vicious cycle.
We imagine many dangers. While we are not to ignore real dangers, neither should we listen to those who peddle fear. “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it," says Isaiah 8:12.
There are all kinds of phobias. There are folks who won't leave their homes. There are people who scream at the sight of insects. There are those who have acute panic attacks over meeting new people.
We all have fear. Count me among those who are not thrilled with heights. And most are those who can't stand spiders -- let alone snakes. The most common fear is death.
But I'm speaking about cases that are extreme.
The devil tries to obsess us with many things and we see this in habits and addictions. If you beat one addiction, he is ready to offer you another. Life is a constant smörgảsbord of potential obsessions. Only through diligent, constant prayer -- and when we fast -- do we feel truly free. (This is why fasting is so potent.)
Fear is often the deepest part of us trying to nudge us into a truer sense of who we are. In Scripture, we are told time and again that the only fear we should have is of God -- a clean fear, a fear that brings blessings. "Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident," says Psalm 27:3.
What do you fear? Who do you fear? How much time do you spend thinking about things that make you afraid, or at least anxious? Do you watch your internal dialogue? Are you mindful of what the saints called the "interior life"? "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful," says John 14:27.
Sometimes, what you fear comes upon you. You give it energy. You don't want to do that. "What the wicked fears will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted," says Proverbs 10:24. Fear is the opposite of faith. It brings "anti-blessings." It is obsessive, and obsession knows no bounds. "Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand,'" says Isaiah 41:10.
On TV, we see shows about those who are addicted to food, or celebrity, or objects that they hoard to the point where they live in a squalor and can't even move. When we have pent-up fears, we have this clutter inside of us. We have hoarded fears. We're stymied. We're blocked. Is life too treacherous?
Or do you have Jesus? He is the remedy. "So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows," He said (Matthew 10:31). Be bold. In prayer, step out.
Knock down your affliction-addiction. Don't fear life. Live it. Live it to its fullest. Place all in the Hands of God. Your days will play out as they are meant to play out. With Him, all is good. There is nothing to fear, even death, when we are right in heart. Forsake the false terrors of the world. Cast out your various fears by name. Ask the Holy Spirit. He'll tell you how. The only thing we should fear, as a president once said, is fear itself.
--Michael H. Brown
[resources: Announcing Michael Brown retreat, Green Bay and Retreat in South Florida, January 28]
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