“For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father).” Romans 8:15
A spiritual person will not make decisions based on the fear of men or of circumstances.
Isaiah 8:12-13 says, “Say ye not: A conspiracy: for all that this people speaketh, is a conspiracy: neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself: and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” or in more simpler terms "If you fear God, you need fear nothing else".
Let me share with you some of the truths that I've learned from the Lord on this matter of fear.
First of all, I've learned that fear is one of the main weapons in Satan's armory.
Secondly, I've learned that I don't need to feel condemned if feelings of fear come to me at times - because I'm still in the flesh. We must be realistic and honest about this. The apostle Paul was quite honest and admitted that he had "fears within" him, at certain times.
He says, “For also when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we suffered all tribulation; combats without, fears within.” (2 Corinthians 7:5).
The third thing I've learned is that even if I do have fears, I must never make a decision based on fear. My decisions must always be based on faith in God - the very opposite of fear.
In the Gospels, we see that 125 times Jesus says something as an imperative statement like, "Love Others." These 125 statements are on a number of different topics or themes. The number one theme, which is 21 times, is a variation of "Don't be afraid," "Fear not," "Have courage".
Jesus was always against fear. He told us to fear only God and no-one else (Matthew 10:28). This is a very important lesson for us to learn, because a spiritual person must never make any decision based on fear.
If you've a fear in your heart that someone will harm you in some way if you displease them, then you'll always try to please him and trying to please others all the time will wear you down. If ever you act on the basis of fear, you can be sure that it is the devil who is guiding you, and not God.
If we look back over our lives, we'll find that we've made many decisions in the past on the basis of fear. In all those decisions, we were not led by God. The consequences of some of those decisions may not have been serious. But we missed God's best.
It's natural for us to feel fear - because we're human. For example, if you suddenly saw a rattle snake in front of you where you're sitting right now, you'd naturally get a shock and jump up - and adrenalin would rush into your blood stream. That's natural. But you don't live in fear of finding a poisonous snake under every chair - everywhere you go!
We must not live in fear of anyone either.
We must never make a decision based on the fear of men or Satan. Every decision we take must be based on the fear of God and in total faith in our heavenly Father. Only then can we be sure that we're being led by the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 13:6 says that “ The Lord is my helper: I will not fear what man shall do to me.”
We must distinguish however, between being cautious and being afraid. We must be wise - as wise as serpents - in this world. But we don't have to fear any man or woman or demon or even Satan himself.
Jesus was cautious. When He heard that people were wanting to kill Him in Judea, He didn't go there (John 7:1). That was sensible. That was wise. But Jesus was never afraid of anyone.
If you were to go into a forest at night, you'd take a flashlight with you. That's caution - not fear. If people are trying to kill you somewhere, you shouldn't go there - unless God Himself tells you to go. Jesus did finally go to Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit led Him to - and He was killed. But that was in God's will and in God's time.
We're not afraid of any man. What harm can any man do to us if we're doing the will of God and living "in the protection of the God of Jacob"? (Psalm 91:1). The Bible asks, in I Peter 3:13, "who is he that can hurt you?" God is able to make all that people do to us, work together unto good (Romans 8:28). Since that is true, why should we ever fear?
If we believe this, it will bring such tremendous authority into our lives. A lot of our spiritual authority is taken away from us by Satan, because we fear men, or seek to please them or impress them, or justify ourselves before them. We must get rid of these attitudes totally.
But this is not easy. It's a constant battle. We've got to fight this battle faithfully until the very end. We must be constantly on the alert against this sin and battle it.
There are laity in the Church who pridefully say that they don't care for anybody's opinion. But that kind of person is not spiritual. They're just arrogant. The opinion of a godly priest or spiritual director can be very valuable. He will be able to tell you things that he sees in you that you can't see yourself. To respect and honor such a person and to be submissive to his authority can actually help us a lot. The important thing is to learn how to submit to a godly man, without becoming his slave.
It is because God is in control of everything on this earth that we don't fear anyone or anything.
In Matthew 28:18-19 it says. “All power (authority) is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost". These verses are specifically to his Apostles but it is also a commandment for us as well to fulfill the Great Commission under Apostolic Authority granted by Christ. For if you continue to verse 20 it says, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”. One of the things Jesus commands us to observe is the Great Commission. What ever our vocation in life is we all should be proclaiming the gospel and inviting others in to Christ Church. But it can be a fearful thing to share our faith. We could loose our job, we could face tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or the sword when we advance the Gospel. But according to verse 18, the Lord has all authority, all power in heaven and on earth, If we don't go forth to every nation and make disciples on that basis, we'll face problems wherever we go.
The word "therefore" is the most important word in the great commission in Matthew 28. Most the emphasis is put on the word "Go". That's good. But on what basis are we to go? On the basis of our Lord having total authority over all people on this earth and over all demons as well. If you don't really believe that, then it's better that you don't go anywhere!
There were fears within me - naturally. But I can't make my decision on the basis of those fears. I must base all that I do on the fact that Jesus has all power, all authority. Nothing happens in this world where God says “Uh Oh!” He is in control and desires what's best for us.
If you think there's some man somewhere (however powerful he may be), over whom our Lord doesn't have authority, then you'll have to live in fear of him always. Our Lord has authority over every single human being. Even King Nebuchadnezzar understood that - as we read in Daniel 4:35.
If there's some demon somewhere who was not conquered by our Lord on Calvary, but who somehow escaped defeat, then we must live in fear of that demon always. But there's no demon like that who was not defeated on the cross. Satan himself was defeated there - permanently. That's what delivers us from all fear of Satan and his demons, and gives us great boldness in our ministry.
So we go wherever God calls us to go. There may be risks in some places. But to the best of our knowledge, if we feel the Lord is leading us there, then we need not fear to go. The question is not whether there is persecution of Christians in a particular place or not. The only question is whether the Lord has asked us to go there or not. If He has, then His authority will back us up totally. We need have no fear whatsoever. But if God has not called us to go somewhere, then we should not go, no matter how much men may try and persuade us to go, or how much the spirit of adventure within us makes us want to go!
We must ask ourselves why we're going to a particular place. If we're going because we want to make disciples, and have no other ambition, then we can be certain that the Lord will be with us always - "even to the consummation of the world.", as He promised. If you fear God, you really need fear nothing else.
Fear is a weapon found only in Satan's armory. Jesus came to deliver man from fear.
It says in Hebrews 2:14 that Jesus "partook of the same things,(flesh and blood), that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,".
Romans 8:15 tells us that "For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons,".
Here Paul contrasts the Holy Spirit Who makes us sons of God with the spirit of slavery that makes us fear. Fear always brings slavery. People all over the world live in fear. Unfortunately, many Catholics also live in fear.
If a man can frighten you sufficiently, you will be his slave.
Under the old covenant, people served God out of fear. In Deuteronomy 28, the Israelites were warned that if they didn't obey God's commandments, they'd be punished with poverty, sickness, madness and other evils. So they obeyed God - out of fear. Malachi told the Israelites that they would be cursed if they didn't pay their tithes (Malachi 3:10). But that was under the Law.
Jesus came to deliver us from that kind of obedience. Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist prophesied of the new covenant age and said that we could now "serve God without fear" (Luke 1:74), in true reverence.
Is there anything in your life that you do out of fear? Do you read the Bible, pray your Rosary and have your different devotions because you fear that some calamity may strike you if you don't read it? That is called superstition. And God certainly does not want you to do the things in that superstitious way! He wants you to know His intense love for you and to be free from all fear. The reason why God has cleansed us in the most precious blood of Jesus is so that we might never feel condemned by Satan at any time.
Many believers claim to be filled with the Holy Spirit but they are still slaves to fear. How can a person be filled with the Holy Spirit and still be a slave to fear? We can never have confidence before God or boldness before Satan if we have any type of fear! If we fear God, we need never fear anything else.
Fear is the devil's weapon.
If you're a slave to any type of fear, that spirit of fear will come forth from you and defile others around you, and they will also be bound by that spirit of fear. That's just like it is in the human body: If you're a carrier of a sickness in your blood stream, you will transmit that sickness to your children. The same is happening in the Church. There is so much fear with in many in our parishes.
That's why it is important that we eliminate every fear from our life - fear of men, fear of Satan, fear of sickness, fear of death, fear of evil circumstances, fear of road-accidents, fear of poverty, fear that our children may not get a good education or good jobs, and many other fears like that.
The only thing that can drive out such fears from us, is the fear of God and faith in Him. If we fear God, we will not fear anything or anyone else.
If we trust in God, we know that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him and that He honors all who honor Him. When faith dwells in our hearts, fear cannot dwell there, even though we may have occasional moments of fear.
The important question is what dominates our thinking: Is it fear or faith?