You may have heard “Fear not!” is said 365 times in the Bible–one for every day of the year.
Fear is a stronghold. A stronghold is like an iceberg–the sea of our thoughts and emotions hide the majority of it. The ten percent we show to those around us is no indication of its depth and size.
Fear talks to us and for us, too! I hear fear in people when they say things like, “I’m not doing that!”, “I can’t do it!”, or “I won’t go there!”
God does not want us to live our life in fear. He wants us to be free!
For God did not give us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and a sound mind.2 Timothy 1:7
Why does this verse mention a sound mind? Because fear causes us to imagine everything bad that can happen to us. It messes with our thoughts and can make us irrational.
God gave us the power over fear through the Holy Spirit and the saving power of His blood. Jesus’ blood releases us from the bondage strongholds keep us in.
I admit, I have my share of strongholds. I am learning to be free by the truth of God’s Word and His Holy Spirit, reminding me of the lies of the deceiver.
Satan desires to keep us captive. But we need to come out of our cell.
[Jesus will] deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.Hebrews 2:15 ESV
Did you know Fear has friends? Their names are Control and Untrust. All three usually go together. Fear loves to control everyone and everything around it.
Fear does not trust.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.1 John 4:18 ESV
In order for us to truly love, we must not fear. Fear equals distrust. Love is trusting.
Trusting God for answers, for wisdom, for healing. for light in our darkness and confusion. When we trust God, we show how much we love Him.
Of course, I am not saying we have to trust everyone and if we don’t we have fear. That’s not what I mean.
Fear says, “Don’t trust anyone.”
Fear says, “I can only depend upon myself.”
When we think we are the only ones we can depend on or the only ones who have the answers, we are not trusting God. Our Father puts people into our lives to teach us.
We must be teachable. God lets nothing go to waste. If He can’t use it for our good, then it won’t happen.
Trust God with your day to day life–with your fears–your desire to control–and untrust.
He wants to free you.
Have you ever been in a difficult or dark time when you felt all alone?
Did it feel as though everyone you knew had forsaken you? Maybe it was a crisis in your family or marriage and your friends didn’t know how to handle it. A difference of beliefs or conviction can drive a wedge between people and leave us feeling heartbroken and isolated.
Jesus experienced dark days near the end of his life. The men he had spent three years of his life with abandoned him when trouble arrived.
Heavily armed guards sent by the chief priest and scribes arrested Jesus after He prayed all night preparing for the upcoming universal battle between life and death. His disciples saw Him walk on water, feed thousands of men, women, and children, heal the sick and give sight to the blind; they even saw Him raise the dead. Yet, they deserted Him.
Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’” Mark 14:27 (ESV).
Years ago, my husband and I shared a friendship with four other couples. We attended the same church, dined at each other’s home, shared life, worshipped and studied God’s Word together. I loved these people as though they were my flesh and blood.
I was preparing to teach a Revelation study I had written for our class. One day during prayer, the Lord warned my husband the Bible study would come under attack.
We prayed and asked our friends to pray for the study and us as well. Halfway into the study, a division within our ensemble of friends developed. The split was not because of the Bible study but resulted from one couple walking away from their faith and God. No one knew what to do, so they ignored it. As a result, it divided us.
Because I wanted to fix it, I reached out to my pastor for advice—my friends viewed that as disloyalty. I was a snitch.
Those once close friends now treated my husband and me as if we no longer existed. It was horrible. Not only had a great friend walked away from the church and God, but our other brothers and sisters ostracized us for seeking help outside our group.
I was miserable while I continued teaching my study without them. My family sat alone during Sunday services while the remaining three couples of our once tight-knit group filled a separate row.
God did not leave me; He moved in closer.
I experienced a more intimate relationship with Him than I had never known. God healed my hurt and my wounds as I forgave those friends. We no longer see each other, but I hold nothing against them and have told them as much.
Jesus forgave His disciples, too. He restored them and used them mightily in the days that followed. He never left them nor forsook them.
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14 (ESV)
Will you forgive those who have left or betrayed you? It doesn’t matter whether they are sorry or have asked you for forgiveness.
God knows your pain and can heal it.
He will free you, if you ask; I promise.
Jesus came to mend the brokenhearted.
[Jesus] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 (ESV)
We have all been in that occasional lousy relationship or had hurt feelings from a spouse, friend, or family member. You may have even been in an abusive relationship with a parent or spouse. These feelings can run deep with memories that replay over and over in our minds. Marooning us in time, they make us unable to move on or can serve as triggers in other relationships. Clinging to resentment, pain, offense, and bitterness can be similar to shackles that bind us and hold us captive, making it impossible to function as God designed us. There is a way out!
It’s called forgiveness.
First, let me tell you what forgiveness is not. It is not condoning wrong or evil, it is not blindly trusting, and it is not returning to an abusive relationship. On the other hand, it is letting go of a debt, leaving that person in the hands of God, and being free of all that keeps you captive. It is the way to healing! Being able to forgive is removing yourself from the Judge’s seat.
The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:14-15, that if we forgive what has been done to us, then God will forgive us for everything we have done as well.
Have you ever opened up a jewelry box to get out a necklace and found a tangled mess of chains, watches, and bracelets? This is the way our memories and emotions can get. Unforgiveness entangles our hearts, souls, and minds (or memories) with the person who has offended, hurt, or traumatized us. God, by our forgiveness of others, will untangle us and give us freedom. Through this freedom, we can now receive healing for our hearts, souls, and memories.
God is the only one who can separate our pain from our memories! Ask him, and he will do it. Once he does, there is healing!