He was one of the most powerful men in the world. But he lived in total fear. He stayed deep in the inner recesses of a huge castle. He barricaded himself in a small, bombproof room, with walls made of concrete three feet thick. He allowed himself only one tiny window protected by thick, yellow glass. With only a few amenities each night, and a military cot for his bed, his self-imposed prison was his fortress within a fortress. He would sleep fitfully, then leap to his feet to check at the yellow glass, to make certain that the dark moving objects on the other side of the glass, his personal guards, were on duty protecting him. His name? Josef Stalin.
Needless to say, Uncle Joe, whose adopted name (Stalin) means – get this – “man of steel,” developed a spirit of fear. Needless also to say, he didn’t get it from God. Though he once was a seminary student. Anyway…
This isn’t about Stalin, but stealin’ – and how the enemy can steal your joy and confidence.
God made you to be afraid… be very afraid. Well, maybe not that skeered. But fear is a God-given emotion for the purpose of protecting you from something that can hurt you. In its good form, fear leads you to take action that protects you or those we care about from serious harm.
In its bad form, fear becomes an end in itself. Reverence (fear of God) and respect (fear of something potentially harmful) becomes a “spirit of fear.”
Nobody wants to admit they have a spirit of fear. But many people do. So how can you tell if you have it? Check out the following:
1. Do you often compare yourself with other people?
2. Are you easily irritated?
3. Do you find yourself negative and pessimistic about the future at times?
4. Do you have a tendency to insist on getting your own way?
5. Are you naturally suspicious or negative toward others?
6. Do other people accuse you of being rude?
7. Do you have a tendency to point out the faults and weaknesses of others?
8. Do you brag about your accomplishments in order to impress people?
9. Do you ever lie to protect yourself?
10. Do you have a tendency to be jealous?
11. Do you keep a long memory of the offenses of others?
12. Do your emotions ever keep you from ministering to certain people?
13. Do you have a tendency to give up and be discouraged in the face of pressure?
If you answered more than half of these as being true more than half the time, you have some exciting growth opportunities ahead! So what’s the solution?
“There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love” (1 John 4:18, The Message). More later….