Friday, June 21, 2013

He That Feareth….

1 John 4:18 (KJV)  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

It’s probably been noticeable that my last several posts have been about fear.  I didn’t do that because it’s something I’m dealing with.  However, it’s one of Satan’s most used tools to get both the believer and the unbeliever alike to disbelieve God.  Think about what fear does to a human being.

Fear is the most counterproductive emotion there is.   It does a number of things to be that way.
  1. Fear takes our focus off the thoughts and experiences that could solve a problem.  Instead it places the focus on itself.
  2. Fear eliminates trust or at least makes us question what we can and should trust.
  3. It gets our mind flitting around like a small bird, so we never land on a thought long enough to use it.  Our thinking stays muddled.
When we’re in problem solving mode, we examine the situation, apply earthly or spiritual logic to it, and come to a conclusion.  Add fear to that equation and thoughts never stay long enough to let us form a conclusion.  Consider Ephesians 6:

Ephesians 6:13-18 (KJV)
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
That’s a whole package.  But each part of the armor has its own function.  Our loins (thoughts and emotions) are to be dressed in Truth.  But fear would have us focusing on appearances.  On fleeting thoughts that have no resemblance to Truth.  Satan wants to draw our attention to anything but the Truth of God.  He wants to eliminate that area of protection.
 
In verse 15, we see Godly footwear.  The promise of salvation has us walking in peace.  Satan, on the other hand has a different agenda.  Fear changes our focus and it steals our peace.  If our feet aren’t properly shod, our walk will at best be wobbly.  That peace has a requirement that we’ll look at as we talk about the next verse.
 
The shield of faith will quench the fiery darts, in verse 16.  Think about what faith is.  It’s trust in what we have faith in.  The two words have slight variances in definition.  But, in the real world, they become pretty much interchangeable.  That condition highlights a particular relationship of conditions.  Take a look at our starting verse. 
 
The word for love is agape, the kind of love that involves God, and the verse speaks of perfect (or completed) love.  It’s not phileo or eros.  There’s nothing wrong with either of those, in the right context.  But those can be held by man without God’s intervention.  Only completed agape has the capacity to block fear.
 
Lisa Buffaloe shared an interesting quote: “One of the most delightful qualities of divine love is its abiding character. The pillars of the earth may be moved out of their places, but the kindness and the covenant of our merciful Jehovah never depart from His people.” ~ C. H. Spurgeon.  Consider that in the light of what we’ve been saying about Ephesians 6 and particularly verse 16.  The reality is that, in order to have love approaching  God’s, we need faith and trust.  And it works both ways.  The less love we have, the more difficult it becomes to trust.  At the same time, the less trust we have will create a decrease in love.  In contrast, God knows we’re going to continually fail, but loves us with a perfect love, anyway.  And He has a commitment to us that the devil doesn’t want us to recognize.
 
Part of Satan’s goal is to squash either the love for God or the trust we have for God, because hurting either one will damage the other.  Which allows another form of attack, the fiery darts.  The fact that they are fiery speaks of burning, inflicting pain, and being filled with anger.  A dart painfully pierces us.  Lucifer is angry at both God and us.  For believers, his intent is to inflict pain, shift our focus away from God and the plan of God, have us lose our trust in and love for God.  And, for unbelievers, Satan wants them to share in his eternal misery.  Which takes us to verse 17.

Acceptance of God’s salvation gives us an eternal protection.  If we’re saved and don’t recognize that, the temporal battles can seem so much more than they really are.  And we lose some of our faith and love for God.  If we haven’t yet accepted the free gift of salvation, then those battles can get us to doubt God.  We’ve already highlighted what that does.

There’s one other thing that fear does.  Verses 17 and 18 mention using the sword of the Spirit (the Word) and prayer.  Think of those as two parts of our lines of communication with our spiritual HQ.  Satan knows that, if he can make us miserable enough, we tend to voluntarily put aside those weapons.  Both give us things to defeat the devil, so he wants us as far from praying and being in the Word as he can get us.

The verses we’ve discussed are things we can lose if we give in to the wiles of the devil.  At the same time, they’re tools God has given us to fight the demonic attack.  Tazein Mirza Saad shared a thought on Google Plus that I think applies, here.  “Negative people need drama like oxygen.  Stay positive, it will take their breath away.” If we keep thinking with God, Satan’s drama dissipates.  I know I’m not perfect at that, but it gets easier the more we live in being one with God.

What are you doing today to keep fear from harming you, your faith, and your love for God?

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