CHAPTER 2 FEAR
THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN
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All rights Reserved
CHAPTER 2 FEAR
You were a Christian when it happened and should have known
better. What makes it worse is the fact that you are now in the
ministry full time as a pastor. You have secretly cried buckets of
tears, you have confessed it over and over again until you were sick
of thinking about it, and you have even fasted hoping that would help.
You would cut off your right arm if that would make the pain go away
in your heart. You can't share it with anyone because you are the
pastor. If anyone knew, you would never have been voted the pastor of
any of the churches you have already served. Your wife doesn't even
know and if she did, she would surely leave you. It just isn't fair.
With all your Biblical knowledge, and training, for some reason you
aren't able to get free of the horrible memory of your sin that has
tortured you spiritually for the past 25 years. Although you have
only been with this present congregation for three years, your logic
dictates only one course of action left so you resign. After all, you
reason, moving and beginning over again with another congregation is
the only think that has ever helped diminish the pain. Three months
later, you are pastoring another church.
A year passes and the memories remain semi-dormant. Preaching
familiar sermons feels good again and a measure of joy returns to
your life. You have discovered that winning people to Christ brings
honest genuine spiritual joy so you structure your entire life around
winning as many people to Christ as possible. Night after night you
leave the house to spend your evenings witnessing and bringing people
to Christ. As your family life begins to suffer from your perpetual
absence, your church begins to grow. Furthermore, your youth ministry
begins to expand since so many new families have begun attending your
church. You decide to start a Christian school and the ministry
mushrooms. Within two years, a new building has to be built and you
plunge into a building program. You have been working eighty hour
weeks for nearly three years and without vacations. This way of
living makes it impossible to think about anything but the ministry.
The voices are faint now in your mind and any time, they come around,
you confess Scriptures by the dozens. Nothing is going to stop you
now. You are on the victory road. God is on your side and He is
One day, one of your church members is sitting in your office and
pouring out her heart. You never liked personal counseling before
but never understood why. As you think about it, partially listening
to the crying woman on the other side of your new large oak pastoral
desk, you suddenly discover the reason for having no interest in
counseling. Listening to other people's problems triggers the
emotions which you don't like facing because they lead you back to
memories you don't like remembering. So you shove at those emotions;
trying to force them to the back of your mind. In this case, you feel
obligated to counsel with this hurting church member because her
husband is a very influential man in both your church and the
community. Besides, he donated nearly all the money to build the new
church facilities. You still wonder why no one has ever shown any
interest in your own pain. Of course, you realize, no body knows the
burden you have carried alone all these years because you have never
told anyone and you know you can't.
Suddenly you are jerked back to the present. The woman in your
office is telling you that she has discovered her husband is having an
affair with another woman in your church. Something triggers deep
inside of you and you flush with such tremendous heat, it feels like
you have been spot lighted with the brilliance of the noon day sun.
The odd thing is, you are ice cold. Without warning, the emotions of
your own woundedness slam through into your conscious thoughts with
such Titanic force, you almost lose control. You sway in your seat
from the sudden dizziness and nearly fall out of your chair. The
woman's voice to which you are listening grows faint. "What is wrong
with me?" you hear yourself screaming in your mind. It was so loud
in your thoughts, you almost think you screamed out loud. Quickly you
find a way of terminating the counseling session; forgetting even to
pray with her before she leaves.
One she has left, you lock the door and you sit in your pastoral
office and cry as you have never cried before. The amorphous weight
you have carried around in your mind for all these years takes on a
vocal personification and that scares and frightens you even more.
You are the pastor and things like this don't happen to pastors. You
hold your breath as you hear it say, "You are living a lie. No one
like you should be in the ministry. You can't help people when you
hurt someone yourself." You pound your desk with your fists until the
pain in your hands quiets the evil accusing voices in your head.
Going home, you wait till everyone is in bed and taking your
Bible, you study and read all night. When morning comes, you have
dedicated yourself to walking in victory because you have been
forgiven and you are right with God and you have been called to
pastor God's people. You have spent the night listing all the good
things God has done in the past three years in your ministry. Life
seems renewed and you can't wait to preach your next sermon.
Saturday night, you look over your sermon notes and smile with
confidence that the Holy Spirit has really given you an excellent
message for the Lord's day. You pray silently and thank the Lord for
all His wonderful blessings. You determine in your mind that you are
going to come to your church the next day and join in with the
worship as never before. Nothing is going to hold you back because
you are walking in victory.
Then the voices speak again. "It isn't gone. It will never be
gone. It will happen again. We will destroy you."
You are so startled, you leap to your feet; knocking your chair
over. The voice was so real and so strong, it sounded like whatever
it was had to have been right in the room close to you. A cold clammy
feeling creeps over you and your skin ripples with goose flesh. You
stand frozen in place; your eyes darting around the room for any
little movement. Holding your breath, you listen for the slightest of
sounds. Then you hear it. It is soft and quiet at first but it is
there. You clinch your hands into fists as you feel the fear rising.
The room seems to fill with air as cold and clammy as a tomb. Out of
the corner of one eye, you think you see a shadow and your head jerks
sideways to see but it is gone. You feel paralyzed from the fear;
afraid to even move. You know something is in the room. You try to
open your mouth to pray but the fear seizes your throat; cutting off
Suddenly the entire room explodes into hideous mocking laughter
and blocks out all other sound. You scream and this time you can
hear your own terrified voice.
Sunday morning, standing behind your pulpit and holding on to it
with both hands for support, you resign.
COMMENTS ON FEAR
Fear is so common in the lives of Christians, you could almost
call it the common cold of the church. I have heard the definition of
a "disease" referred to as "dis" "ease." That certainly is true when
it comes to fear. Most Christians struggle with some type of dis-ease
(unease) in their walk with the Lord and it generally is rooted in
some sort of fear based thinking.
THE FEAR OF ALARM
I was out one night visiting people who had come to the church.
My friend and I, in the dark, pulled into an apartment complex and
drove around and around the buildings until we found the one we were
looking for. They all looked identical.
Getting out of the car, we eventually found the ground floor
apartment we wanted. We actually had to step down a couple of short
steps to get to the front door of the apartment. We both heard a low
growl which emanated from the depths of the biggest dog I had ever
heard. Now that I think of it, he sounded more like a grizzly bear
than a dog but you know how your imagination kicks in when something
like this happens. He was hiding in the shadows of the front of the
apartment. We froze. The dog came closer and dragging a chain that
sounded like it could hold an elephant from charging. I am not afraid
of dogs, nor was my friend, but we both thought the same thing at the
same time; "How long is that chain." Fortunately, we didn't have to
find out, although we both were poised to run, because the dog's owner
was seated at his dinning room table and at the sound of his dog's low
growl, he looked up and saw us through the picture window. We were
let in without incident.
This type of fear I call the "Fear Of Alarm." We were justified
in being concerned about our well being but never did I feel we were
in much danger. Why? Because we heard the dog was chained and,
besides, we both knew we could run for it if it came down to it.
Concerning fear in the life of a Believer, we have two choices.
We either freeze or run. Most of us run from our fear because it is
easier than standing our ground and facing the truth. The problem is,
however, this fear of alarm is always there. We are afraid the chain
might be so long, he can get to us or that we might not be able to get
away. In such cases, we remain in a sustained attitude of alarm. It
is a lie, however, that the chain might be too long. Satan knows this
but he banks on the idea that we don't know the chain is too short to
allow any harm to come to us as God's children. In short, we really
don't know who we are in Christ so the chain, in our imagination, is
long; way too long.
In the story you have just read, the pastor ran from his fear.
In his case, however, his fear was rooted in a sin which had occurred
many years ago. He had been forgiven but fear was the catalyst. Fear
can take on so many forms in our lives, it would take a book to
describe them all. Even then, something would be overlooked.
I can well remember a time in my life when we were so broke, I
was afraid of my own mailbox. It seemed as if ever time I went to get
the mail, there was something in it that I needed to pay but had no
money to do so. I was afraid of being broke. I capitalized upon my
fear as often as I could by thinking up how bad things could get. I
could be forced out of the home we were renting. My family wouldn't
have enough food. We didn't have food much of the time so that just
confirmed my fear was valid. I eventually got around to considering
the fact I was a failure and didn't deserve a thing from God. I got
what I thought; nothing. Fear drove my fear and made for fertile soil
for a perfect plays for demons to plant even more lies in my thinking.
I was, in other words, always spiritually alarmed something bad was
about to happen. Something bad always seemed to happen, too, because
I was always looking for it. Now I know why.
There is the fear generated by fright. This is normally
something which happens suddenly without forewarning. I call this
"Amplified Fear." I can recall this happening at least two times to
me. Our home was broken into by a burglar. Just as we walked in the
front door, he slipped out the back. We lost very little but our
entire apartment was tossed and things lay everywhere. Fear became
very real to my wife and me at that time. The fear was strong at
first but it amplified the more we considered the possibilities.
Since we are both totally blind, and at this time we had no children,
every little noise made us jump. Our fear amplified the sounds until
we were nearly sick of harm and danger.
Let me ask you this question. Do you think it is possible that
Satan might use this opportunity to create an unholy fear in a
person's life? The answer is amazingly obvious. Does Satan use such
opportunities? If you don't believe he does, you have already been
THE FEAR OF APPREHENSION
Another form of fear is the fear of apprehension. This fear works on
guess work, creativity, inventiveness, originality, and the general
attitude of "Nothing is ever going to work out for me." We don't need
any demon assistance in manufacturing apprehensive fear but they love
to assist us in every way possible.
Years ago I was an assistant pastor in a wonderful little town
with a wonderful group of people and a wonderful pastor in western
Colorado. It was our first time owning our own home. It was also
brand new with a huge fireplace and the valley was filled with my
favorite song bird; the meadowlark. We had humming birds in our
backyard, a clear view of the mountains out our front picture window,
which didn't help two blind people all that much, but our guests
thought it was nice, and we could brag about it to our friends. In
short, I was about the happiest I had ever been. The pastor taught me
a great deal and to this day, he is one of my spiritual heroes. The
problem was, I didn't make much money. I traveled and received some
offerings but I always believe what I had been told and that was,
preachers are supposed to be poor. Not poor preachers concerning
their Sunday morning sermon delivery but financially. So we were,
poor. I was always apprehensive about paying our bills. I didn't
care about food because everyone in the church hunted and either lived
on farms or had huge gardens. So food was never a problem and our
freezer was always full of deer and elk stakes and garden vegetables.
I especially remember praying one night by myself; begging God
for 200 dollars to complete what I needed to make my house payment.
It was just a couple of days away. I promised God all sorts of
things. The main thing I promised was never to doubt Him again if he
would come up with this 200 dollars. "So, did He?" Of course. A
friend, who had been supporting me 100 dollars a month, had extra
money from his business so he sent me 200 dollars. Like a dummy,
thinking he had surely made a mistake and it was an oversight on his
behalf, I called him to check. No, it wasn't a mistake. He just felt
led to send me 200 dollars that month.
Now, you are probably asking, "Did you keep your promise?" No, I
didn't. Why? Because I was apprehensive that God wouldn't keep His
promises. Because of who I was, and perhaps wasn't in His sight, I
was afraid and the devil always reminded me I was afraid as well. In
short, lie based thinking caused me to doubt the Word of god and His
personal promises to me.
In my earlier fictitious story in one of the chapters, the pastor
moved from church to church and buried himself in the ministry to keep
from being afraid. The fear became so real, demonic manifestations
occurred. There isn't a pastor you know that would admit to such a
thing in his own life but it is common and if it is common among
pastors, what about the rest of us? We all run from fear by over
eating, exercising, exercising at eating, dieting, perhaps memorizing
hundreds of Scripture verses, reading the Bible, buying every book and
tape we hear about concerning the success in the Christian life,
sometimes, but not very often, fasting for up to an hour, buying and
wearing Christian T shirts with good catchy slogans, being certain we
have a Bible plaque with some powerful Bible verse engraved on it
hanging in every room of the house, or even wearing a bracelet that
has the letters WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) on it. We run by changing
churches every six months to a year or by visiting several churches
without ever joining one. What do pastors do to run? When I was an
assistant pastor, I heard that most pastors in our denomination
changed churches every 2.5 years. Running, running, running.
Any type of fear, gives the devil a perfect opportunity to plant
his own ideas in our thoughts. He can amplify such things by
including his own feelings and putting them on top of ours. This
isn't a book on angels and demons but if you have trouble believing
demons have feelings and can use their thoughts against us, either
keep reading this book or run as fast as you can. It won't help but
you will probably be deceived into thinking it does; if you haven't
been deceived already, that is.
Go To: Chapter 3 - Rejection
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