21. FEAR: A ROADBLOCK TO HEAVEN
By Felix Ngunjiri Gichuri
When Man Fears Fear
Fear is one of the biggest road blocks that the devil has put up against us to stop us from going to heaven. The words “Fear not” are mentioned in the Bible 365 times. This means that we should never fear anything or anybody at any single time. Fear is a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat or danger. It is a basic human response to perceived threats or danger that either prompts one to flee from the danger or it prompts one to defend oneself from the impending danger as a survival tactic.
There is Fear of God and Fear of the Things of This World
There are two types of fear: earthly fear which makes people fear things of this world and Godly fear which is bestowed upon us by God so that we fear Him with awe and humble ourselves unto Him, fearing to offend Him or others. “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” (Ps 33:6-9 [KJV])
Fear of God is the Beginning of Wisdom
No wonder the word of God says that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10) and that knowledge of who He is helps us to understand how to walk in His ways so that we do not offend Him, telling us not to walk in the ways of sinners. In the words of Charles Bridges, “the fear of the Lord is that affectionate reverence, by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law so as not to offend Him for him or her to continue experiencing the goodness of the Lord.” And if you happen to offend Him, quickly repent as you humble yourself before Him. That is what wisdom will lead you to: humility, loving God with awe and pleasing Him in all ways.
What is Adamic Fear?
Earthly fear or the Adamic fear makes one to fear impending or advancing or imagined danger or even things that are not there. It starts in the mind when you see or hear something that is interpreted to be a danger or distress signal. Upon receiving the danger signal, cells within the nervous system then send a chemical signal to a part of the brain known as the hypothalamus gland commanding it to set in motion a series of chemical reactions using the pituitary and adrenal glands. These glands then release adrenaline chemical and other chemicals into the bloodstream to help the body repel the threat. Adrenaline chemical increases heart rate to pump blood to the muscles, legs and hands to prepare you to either fight the enemy or run away from the enemy in what is known to psychologists as a fight-or-flight response. The command also has a rider in that the blood vessels are supposed to be constricted so that the blood is forced through the vessels to help increase the blood pressure. The rationale behind that move is to charge the whole body in readiness for flight or fight. The aftermath of that action is that all the blood is drained from the face, stomach and brain and pumped to the hands and the feet. But the environment is not always conducive to wars or fights and there may be nowhere to run away to. The body then gets frustrated and unable to manage that supercharge. The blood pressure might continue being that high as the body might be unable to adjust to the changed situation. Prolonged instances of such uncontrolled supercharges in the body result in conditions of high blood pressure, brain damage, stroke and death. Continued draining of blood from the stomach walls reduces the mucous membrane that protects the stomach wall from being eaten up by the digestive juices and acids. Prolonged exposure of the stomach walls to the digestive juices causes stomach ulcers which bring needless pains, high medical bills and death.
Fear Can Destroy You
On the other hand, fear is self destructive. The Bible says that “fear has torment” (1 John 4:18). Fear leads a person into trouble and needless suffering. Fear makes one to fight or flee while terror (extreme fear) hinders, limits, grips and paralyzes. Persistent fear leads to panic, hysteria and panic disorders. Persistent fear brings with it feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and powerlessness (leading to suicidal ideation, quitting jobs, poor academic grades and poor job performance). Worry brings with it sadness which if prolonged leads to anxiety, stress and depression. God is telling us “Fear Not”.
The devil seduced the woman in the Garden of Eden to disobey God. And man started fearing.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Gen 3:6-10 [KJV])
The Spirit of Fear is a Form of Bondage
Fear is a form of bondage where the victim is enslaved and gripped by anticipation of impending danger. In his letters to the Romans, Paul told them that “…you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). When one is in bondage or in prison, there is constant fear that the worst, including death, is likely to happen. But when God calls you, you will receive the Spirit of adoption, it does not matter whether you are in bondage or free. He will call you from there and adopt you as his son. God chose Israel, reached out to the Israelites who were enslaved in Egypt, introduced Himself to them and adopted them as His sons. “And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt; To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day. Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” (Deut 4:37-39 [KJV])
God Can Set You Free From the Grip of Fear
Some inmates do not want to be released from prison fearing that the society might not accept them back. They also fear life inside prison. The life inside prison is full of uncertainties – unhygienic conditions, contagious diseases and the fear of the unknown. There are fights among the inmates, the guards might be cruel to the inmates, and the sentence meted on them might range from hard labour to life sentence or death sentence. But there is an assurance that when you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, you will receive the Holy Spirit who will adopt you as an heir in the kingdom of God. “Listen, my dear brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of this world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised to them that love him?” (James 2:5) Paul says that “…if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29) “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:17). Jesus is well able to set you free, and when He sets you free, you are free indeed. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36 [KJV])
God can Visit You in Prison, Touch You, Break the Chains and Set You Free
“And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he said unto him, Cast your garment around yourself, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; he did not know that what took place through the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came unto the iron gate that leads unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and has delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.” (Acts 12:6-11 [KJV])
Fear and Faith
In the book of Matthew 8:26, Jesus rebuked his disciples who were fearing that their ship was to be swallowed by the storms and He asked them “… Why are you fearful, you of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” If you have faith in God, He will encourage you and rebuke the storms of life you are going through and you will experience a great calm in your life. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Fear is diametrically opposed to faith. When you do not have faith in a chair that you want to sit on, you will start fearing that it will not support your weight and it will make you fall down when you sit on it. The faith that we have for chairs or people or God was given to us by God. God installed in us all the spiritual ingredients that are required for us to have faith in Him. God created in man the spiritual infrastructure that will enable us to have faith in Him. He has created in us a thirst for Him, a vacuum in our hearts that can only be filled by a superior being whom all human beings refer to as God. He created in us the thirst for God so that we are able to seek and trust in Him. The more the faith we have in God, the more we believe and love Him. That is the role of the faith infrastructure installed in our hearts. He did all that before we knew Him because He loved us before we loved Him. “But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God has faith in us and that is why He gave each one of us a measure of faith so that we can also have faith in Him. Paul urged his fellow brethren in Rome to “think of themselves with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given them” (Romans 12:3).
The Wicked Flee When no Man Pursues
A story is told of Undo Woga, in short U. Woga, who was a qualified, jobless young man. He had worn out shoes as a result of walking up and down fruitlessly looking for a job. He had knocked on almost all office doors in town. But one day, he read an advertisement for a job in a zoo. He applied for the job and was invited to attend the interview on a specified day. His application was successful and he was employed to be acting as a chimpanzee to replace a chimpanzee that had ran away recently from the zoo. He was then given a mask and coached on how to act and behave like a chimpanzee and was put in a cage to be entertaining tourists as a chimpanzee. He used to amuse tourists who paid money to watch him jump as he swung from one overhanging branch to the other, growling and beating his chest to the excitement of the guests who would throw to him sweets and bananas for him to eat. One day, a branch he was holding onto and swinging from broke by accident and that momentum threw him into the neighboring lion’s cage. On coming face to face with the menacing lion, he was gripped by fear and cried out loud in panic for help but the “lion” whispered to him to keep quiet “or we might both lose our jobs.”
The above illustration paints a picture that the things we fear are usually bogus and non-existent. The Bible says that “The wicked flee when no man pursues: but the righteous are as bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1). We fear scarecrows, Goliaths, shadows, toothless dogs and powerless demons forgetting that Satan is a defeated enemy: “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject to us through your name. And he said to them, I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this, rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:17-20) [KJV].
Jonah on the Run
Fear makes one try to run away from God. But how can you run away from the all-knowing God? Psalm 147:4-5 tells us that “God determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”
“Remember what I accomplished in antiquity! Truly I am God, I have no peer; I am God, and there is none like me, who announces the end from the beginning and reveals beforehand what has not yet occurred, who says, ‘My plan will be realized, I will accomplish what I desire,’ (Isa 46:9-10 [NET2])
Jonah tried to run away from the presence of God as narrated in the book of Jonah chapter one and he lived to tell the story. He thought God only knew about Nineveh and that He did not know where Tarshish was. He was very wrong. He found a ship bound for Tarshish, paid the fare and then fled from the presence of God. But God threw him out of that ship into the sea right into the open mouth of a hungry man eating fish where he was buried alive as a meal inside the intestines of the giant fish for three days. He was in a dark abyss and did not know where he was or whether he was alive or dead. I can imagine what it was when he felt pain in his body as if he was being eaten up by something that he realized that he was not dead yet. He opened his eyes and discovered that he was inside the stomach of a huge strange animal. He felt as if he was already in hell. He was in great pain as the digestive juices of the giant fish tried to digest him causing him much affliction and bodily harm. He prayed to the Lord God Almighty and said, “I cried by reason of my affliction to the Lord, and He heard me; out of the belly of hell I cried, and you heard me” (Jonah 2:2). And because ‘God is ever merciful’ (Psalm 37:26), He “spoke to the fish and it vomited him upon dry land” (Jonah 2:10). Why fear when God’s mercies are from everlasting to everlasting. You fear “your adversary the devil who, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8) yet when a servant of God proposes that you try Jesus to save you from the fire of hell, you fear to get saved. Earthly fear makes one to be foolish in both worldly and heavenly matters. That is what is called carnal foolishness and spiritual stupidity.
Adam Went into Hiding
When Adam disobeyed God by eating of the tree that God had commanded him not to eat, he started fearing the same God that he was used to walking with in the Garden of Eden. The Bible says in Genesis 3:7-10 that when they ate the fruit, “the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” When they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called Adam and asked him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself.” He was gripped by fear and he ran away from God, hiding from God. By simply obeying the devil, Adam got infected by the foolishness of Satan. Imagine Adam shouting from his hiding place. From whom was he hiding? From the omniscient God? From the moment Adam disobeyed God and decided to obey Satan, he lost all the wisdom, fellowship and the warm relationship that he had been enjoying in his daily walk with God in the Garden of Eden. “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” (Gen 3:22-24 [KJV])
God could no longer be reached and was not available to him face to face as He used to be. Sin had separated him and his God. The Bible says in the book of Isaiah that “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not short that it cannot save, nor His ear deaf that it cannot save; But your iniquities have separated you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).
When we Confess Fear, we Possess Fear
The Bible says that Job “was the greatest man of all the men of the east. And his sons went and feasted in their houses, and called their sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of feasting were over, Job went and sanctified them, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, it may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. And it was his regular custom” (Job 1: 3-5). Job said perhaps his sons may have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. Job was worried that his children might have done wrong therefore he decided to offer sacrifices to God to appease Him for the probable sins.
What most people do not see is that deep in Job’s heart was fear that he would lose his children due to their lavish lifestyle. If you fear that the disease that you have is going to kill you, it will definitely kill you. Job feared for his children. The more he feared for his children, the more he attracted Satan onto the scene, and Satan came and camped in his compound with his demolition squad of demons. Fear brings the enemy called Satan who brings destruction and death. Satan not only wanted to destroy Job’s donkeys, sheep, camels and his children but even Job himself. That is why he planned to destroy all of them together in one day so that the shocking news of their death would overwhelm Job and make him collapse and die. What you fear will eventually come upon you. Job had actually confessed fear when he said that “… the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me” (Job 3:25). What Job did not know was that we are not supposed to fear for anybody. We are not supposed to confess fear. Job confessed fear and possessed fear because what you confess, you possess. In other words, we possess what we confess. Job feared that the sins of his children might bring disaster to the whole family. And they did bring. And because he was anticipating that the worst might come upon his family, that became an open door for the devil to get in and destroy him and his family. What he feared eventually came upon him. Words like “perhaps”, “maybe”, or “what if ” demonstrate our doubts and expectations of evil coming our way. Jesus said in Mark 11:23 that “… verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says.” Job confessed doom and it came upon him. He confessed fear and the consequences of fear came upon him. Whatever you fear will surely come upon you. You fear to fail and you will end up failing. But fear starts with the word “may be” or “perhaps”. You say that:
… Perhaps so and so hates me, therefore I will hate him too. … Perhaps I will fail in examinations because we all fail in examinations in our family. And because perhaps I will fail in the forthcoming examination; therefore I will cheat. …Perhaps I will die poor, therefore I better steal
… perhaps I will catch a cold going by the way I am sneezing; therefore I will buy drugs in advance. …Perhaps I am bewitched; therefore I will consult a witch doctor. …Perhaps God is against me; therefore I don’t care whether I go to hell or not.
God Has not Given us the Spirit of Fear but of Power
Fear is an open invitation to the devil to get into our lives and execute the negative thoughts that we are expecting for our lives. Instead of expecting that something bad would happen to our family members, we should pray for them and claim them for salvation in the name of Jesus. People say that you ‘mention the devil and he comes along.’ When faith comes in through the door, fear goes out through the window. And when fear knocks on the door and faith answers, there is no one out there. Fear and faith are opposite forces. They are diametrically opposed to each other. Cowards are barred from heaven. The Bible says that cowards will never enter heaven. Jesus told John that “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that thirsts of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be His God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.’ (Revelation 21:6-8) [KJV]. It is chilling to hear that a few lies here and there or allowing fear to grip you every now and then makes God to group you with whoremongers and sorcerers and condemn you forever to the lake which burns with fire. “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). God has given us power and boldness to preach the gospel in a world that is full of evil and all manner of dangers and when we preach the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, no evil shall come upon us. The power to preach Christ is available to whoever steps out of fear of being judged, criticized, or ignored and decides to boldly preach the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead and is set down at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. Believers are given the power over all the intimidating powers of the enemy. “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19 [KJV])
“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.” (Deuteronomy 28:7 )
“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matt 10:7-8 [KJV])
People require miracles to believe that there is God. They have been fed with lots of lies such that they cannot believe unless they see the power of God. That is why God has equipped his servants with the Holy Spirit so that the gospel of Jesus Christ can be preached to the ungodly with boldness and with sign and wonders. Only then will they believe that Jesus Christ is the Word of God and is truly God, the creator of heaven and earth.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.” (John 1:1-3 [NET2])
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 [KJV])
“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:10-13 [KJV])
God has Given us Power of the Holy Spirit, Love , and Sound Mind
The creator of heaven and earth came in the flesh and dwelt amongst His people and they did not receive Him. But as many as have received Him in their heart, He has made them to be called sons of God. Because we do not fear demons, we have been given power over every power of the enemy by the creator of heaven and earth who dwells in us. Christ in me, is my hope of glory (Col. 1:27). The power of God dwelling in me is my hope of experiencing the glory of God. Power to tread on the devil. The devil is at last under the soles of our feet just as that giant called Goliath fell and was trampled under the soles of tiny David’s feet. Let us face our Goliaths with boldness and power “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2Tim 1:7 [KJV])
And after God has conquered our enemies for us and given us victory, we should sing praises unto Him the way Israelites sang and praised Him for triumphing over their enemies who were pursuing them when they were crossing the Red Sea. Sing like the Israelites unto the Lord this song, saying, “I will sing unto the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously: the horse (the forces the devil used trying to destroy you) and his rider (the devil himself or his agents) has He thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is His name. Pharaoh’s chariots (the enemy the devil and his chariots of war) and his host has He cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Your right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: Your right hand, O LORD, has dashed in pieces the enemy.” (Exod 15:1-6 [KJV])