Both fear and love will cause people to do crazy things. We hear stories all the time of miraculous things that parents do to save their children. Or the terrible things people do to avoid their fears. For everything good thing God has created the enemy creates a counterfeit. Fear is the counterfeit of Love and a direct opposition against Faith. Which is why scripture states: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” — 1 John 4:18
Fear of rejection. Fear of intimacy. Fear of failure. Fear of sickness. Fear of persecution. Fear of… name it and someone has dealt with it or is dealing with it right now. Fear cripples, especially in the Christian body, preventing us from entering into God’s promises, individually and as the body. The more we exercise fear the more influence it has in our decision. The same is true with love. The more we exercise love, the more influence/strength it has on our decisions. We must act and react with love and not fear.
The fear of insignificance has stifled “The Church Body.” Causing people to fight for position and allowing the spirit of entitlement to infect us. I was once told that character is how you react when your neighbor receives the things you are praying for yourself. Have you noticed that brand new believers are going from finding Jesus to prophesying, casting out demons and healing the sick, practically over night? The less the body cares about position and credit, the more growth we will see in the body. I personally love it! I have a heart to teach and a heart to see believers empowered quickly. Don’t let someone’s fear of insignificance talk you out of your faith. We are in a season of Matthew 20:1-16, a season of acceleration in all spiritual things, including the manifestation of God’s gifts. Just as the parable illustrated, God will pay the first workers the same as the last workers, He will give us all the same portion, regardless of age, experience or position. The different parts of the body should cheer and encourage the other parts. You are never going to see a hand jealous of a foot, they need each other.
- The Christian body needs to unite, if one part of the body fails, the whole body lacks, not just that one part.
- Christians are forgetting who the enemy is, and instead of defeating them, we’re fighting each other.
The enemy is not stupid and has nothing better to do than to plot their next attack. They know the bible and its stories too and are using them to try to defeat the very people the bible was created to guide.
For instance, the enemy knows that household divided against itself will not stand. Also, they are using confusion, as God did for Gideon army, on Christians, causing us to fight ourselves as the Midianites did.
In a united family, there is no room for jealousy, the bitter fruit of fear, in the body.
Recently, I rewatched Kung-fu Panda 2, two scenes grabbed my attention. First, the kung-fu master summoning Po, the Panda, to a cave to teach him his next lesson, a lesson that the master said will take hard work, discipline and potentially years to grasp… “Inner peace.”
The second scene was at the end of the movie, when Po found “inner peace,” and beat the enemy. It didn’t take years of practice, hard work or even discipline, he found it by overcoming his fear of the enemy through the immense love he had for his family. At the end, the master mumbled in aggravation, “You found inner peace… and at such a young age.” The master here represents the heart and wisdom of man. Man quantifies steps based of their own experience whereas God knowing the heart of men, promotes according to the heart.
Don’t allow someone else’s experiences with God limit your experiences and vice versa. A relationship is personal. Beyond love, faith and obedience, there is no formula to God’s ways
How many of you have fears? Are afraid of snakes? Roaches? Heights? Failure? Personally, I do not like roaches, they give me the Heebie-jeebies. Which a Biblical term for the fear of roaches. But of my fears, heights was by far my worst.
Fear, have you ever been so petrified with fear that the mere thought of that thing of situation, froze you, turned your legs to Jell-O or caused your heart to race?
I have. For about 25 years of my life, I had a fear of heights. More of a phobia.
Phobia is defined as a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.
No matter how you define it, irrational fears are 100% demonic.
FEAR ENTERS ME:
When I was 7 years old, while in Galveston, my uncle put me on some monkey bars and walk away. I initially laughed but as time passed and my fingers begin to lose grip and my arms begin to grow weak, fear revealed himself and I partnered with him, and the fear of heights infected me. Within seconds of hearing my screams, my uncle lifted me off the bars and I cried on his shoulders. Over the years, the fear heights grew, like a muscle, the more it was used, the stronger it got. It was so bad that when I met Olivia I couldn’t even stand on the second floor of the Galleria mall and look down at the ice skaters without my legs instantly turning into noodles, which is bad, even though, being Asian, I love noodles.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” — 1 John 4:18
Upon reading this, I thought… “What does love have to do with conquering my fears?”
A few years after my salvation my buddy DJ, knowing my fear of heights, invited me to the border of West Virginia and Kentucky to cliff jump, apparently there were two “safe” cliffs there, measuring about 35 and 80 feet deep. The entire drive there I was psyching myself up about cliffs, telling myself that I was going to conquer them and thus conquering my fear of heights. We show up to face my mortal enemy, “heights.” After seeing the cliffs, they might as well have been the Grand Canyon, because there was no way this Chinese guy was going jump into the water jumping from those cliffs. Odd how 35 feet looks like a mile when you’re filled with fear. To encourage me, DJ jumped first. He got a running start and jumped off, doing cartwheels all the way down, then splashing into the water in perfect form; disappearing into the murky water. I love him and consider him a brother but I turned to our two friends and said that if he didn’t come back up, he was on his own. Luckily for him, he survived and proceeded to jump a few more times, each time topping the last. Finally he tried convincing our other two friends to join him. Interesting enough, although the other two jumped these exact cliffs countless of times, my fear made them second guess taking the plunge. Fear is contagious. My experience on contagious fears reminds me of a story from the bible.
Joshua and Caleb Book of Numbers (13 & 14)
The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.” Moses sent one member, leaders, of each of the twelve tribes to scout out the Land of Canaan (The Promise Land) for 40 days, as the future home for the Israelites. Moses sought a breakdown of the land, geography, population… etc. Upon returning, 10 of the 12 members returned filled with doubt and fear, upon seeing fortified cities and giants. Their fear was contagious and quickly spread throughout the tribes.
“We seemed like grasshoppers…” — Numbers 13:33
That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” — Numbers 14:1-4
Don’t receive someone else’s fear and be persuaded away from a promise God has given you. As a result of partnering with the fear of the 10 members, the entire nation was made to wander in the desert for 40 years, until an entire generation died. However, Joshua and Caleb, two of the original 12 members, who did not succumb to fear and doubt but rather stood in faith, believing that with God they would succeed, were the only two from the generation to see the Promise Land.
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” — Numbers, 13:30
Joshua said: “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” — Numbers, 14:7-10
I bet you’re wondering if I jumped.
I did, but only after DJ pointed out that the girl in our group jumped and after horse flies began to bite me, like I was an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. I decided to “jump” to save my skin and my pride. I envisioned myself flying off the cliff, I took a few steps back and ran towards the edge… fell off because my legs were so weak from fear I couldn’t get any lift. With my eyes shut, an eternity passed before I made my big splash! I popped up and was shocked that I was still alive. About 15 minutes later, I tested my luck and jumped a second time, again through encouragement of the flesh eating flies. Twice was all I could do because I quickly found out that that the combination of fear, adrenaline and heat was great at helping people lose their lunch, as I did.
Did I conquer fear? No, I just decided death by water was better than death by flies. Sometimes fear of one thing can get you to compromise the fear of another.
In May of 2011, after asking God what I should do for Olivia’s birthday, God said, “a weekend in San Antonio, nice meals on the romantic river walk and a whole day at Fiesta Texas.” I was sure I was hearing the enemy. I asked God if He would allow me to spend more money than I would at Fiesta Texas and buy her something gold with diamonds instead. God answered me… “Do you love Olivia more than you fear heights?” Love vs Fear…
I thought this must be a trick question. I answered honestly with a “Yes, of course.” I added, “But Olivia loves enough to not make me go to Fiesta Texas.” God laughed at me as He constantly does as I gave in to Him as I constantly do. He must be up to something, I thought, or maybe He was ready to bring me home with a quick heart attack. I booked the weekend in San Antonio, purchased 2 tickets to the theme park and made reservations at an extremely nice restaurant that we could enjoy, or she could enjoy if died of a heart attack.
I told Olivia to pack for a weekend outdoor and bring a change of clothes for a nice restaurant and that I would pick her up directly after work. I picked her up and headed out to San Antonio. We check into the hotel and I handed her the gift. She opened it, seeing two tickets to Fiesta Texas, screamed in excitement and said… “Wait, you’re afraid of heights!”
I told her, that nothing has changed with fear of heights but this was God’s idea and that I’m trusting Him that my love for her was great enough to allow her to ride a few rides.
The next morning, we get an early start. As we drove in, God said, “You may omit one ride.”
“What!?!?!? One ride?” I thought to myself. We arrive at the park and I tell Olivia that I’m only allowed to omit one ride. Out of love for me, she said the fact that I was willing to come was enough for her and I didn’t have to ride anything I didn’t want to. When we entered the park, I saw the sling shot, pointed at it and screamed… “HECK NO! That’s the ride I’m omitting.”
Upon gathering my dignity, I told her that I will ride every ride she wants to ride at the park with her. Surely God was going to save me or I was going to die on the first few rides from heart attack.
Hours passed and we finally made it to the last ride, properly named “Scream!” because a lady before me got off screaming, “Oh no, oh no!” with tears rolling down her face. I decided I wasn’t going to let this woman’s fear infect me. It’s a 3 tier tower that takes you up to 200 feet and drops you straight down, then back up and back down, a few times. At 200 feet, I lift up my hands and extended my feet, forced my eyes to stay open and waited for the drop! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… When we hit the bottom of the first drop, I started screaming… “VICTORY!” repeatedly as joy filled my heart.
I defeated my fear by focusing on my love for Olivia and my trust in God!
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” — 2 Timothy 1:7, NLT
A few months later, while in bed, I awoke to a tickle on my ankle. I decided it must have been my imagination and fell back asleep, then suddenly I felt something crawling up my leg, my calf, my thigh almost into my boxers. So I did what any believer of Christ would… I levitated and brushed my leg as fast as I could. After a few minutes, I convinced myself that I was having a nightmare when I felt a tickle on my wrist followed by something crawling up my arm. I brush it off as fast as I could and jumped out of bed. Remembering that Olivia was worse than me with roaches, I quietly searched for the culprit. Olivia awoke and asked me what I was doing. I said, “Don’t freak out, I pretty sure a roach was attacking me, crawling up my let then up my arm.” Surprisingly she wasn’t worried and said, “Jonnathan, I’m sure it was just a dream.” As she got up to use the restroom.
I stood there wondering if she was right when I suddenly heard crawling above me. I looked up at the ceiling and the roach nose bombed me, landing on my forehead and ran down my body, jumping off of my knee. Naturally I screamed like a 12 year old girl, and ran out my room, which caused Olivia to run with me. We convened in the hallway where Olivia asked… “What are we going to do?” I said… “Sleep in the living room, the roach can have the room tonight.”
The next morning, I God asked me… “If you’re afraid of the same thing Olivia is afraid of who is going to protect Olivia?”
My first answer was, “Surely You are big enough to protect both of us Father. I don’t even know why you created those nasty things.” But the truth was, I understood His question and decided I will no longer be afraid of them because my love for Olivia was a little greater than my fear of roaches.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” — John 14:27
The truth is, Christians are becoming more and more subject to their fear. Especially the fear of persecution, insignificant or losing their position.
Believing that meekness is weakness.
“Meekness is strength under control.” — Havilah Cunnington
It is time for Christians to awake and raise the standards of our nation.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9
“Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” — Acts 18:9-10 (Paul was encouraged in Corinth while preaching to the gentiles.)
It is time we rise up and take back our promise land, starting with the taking back what fear has stolen from our lives! Starting with the strengthening of the body of Christ.