"Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
Surely I'm not the only one who has noticed that Christians tend to be an easily frightened bunch. Spirits of fear are in high demand in churches from coast to coast. Why is this? People take on these demonic spirits of fear because they very successfully masquerade as spirits of wisdom. The more afraid we are of anything that presents a threat, the more careful we will be and the safer we will be—or so goes the logic.
In this article, I want to offer a completely different method of confronting threats. Believe me, taking on a devilish anointing is not part of the plan. We can absolutely can live every moment of our lives without a troubled or afraid heart. The Bible tells me so!
Too many simply reject biblical truth as unrealistic, and fear is an all-too-familiar friend that can help with overcoming faith falters.
In fact, the carnal, unsaved people of the earth seem to exhibit more bold fearlessness than we see among those who have the most powerful, attentive and loving person that has ever lived on their side: Jesus.
The "No Fear" mantra that took off years ago still emblazons T-shirts and bumper stickers across the land. Fearlessness is understood by those who don't know God. But what about those who carry the immeasurable force of the universe within? What's up with Christians who live in fear and worry every day of their lives?
Motorcycles, Guns, Diet Soda and Other Scary Stuff
"Worry shows God you are paying attention." ~Frankie Heck, The Middle
God bless all of you who love me! I mean that with all sincerity. Being in church settings my entire life has provided me a never-ending stream of suggestions and concerns delivered through some of the most wonderful people in the world. The more people love me, the more they worry. This is true for anybody. Frankie Heck (played by Patricia Heaton) revealed the wisdom, in humorous fashion, that many loved ones employ. They worry, hoping it will suffice as intercession. The truth is that worry is atheism. Worry decrees that there is no God. It's evidence that we doubt any supernatural covering, provision or help is truly reliable.
One of the riskiest things any Christian can do is drink a diet soda in the foyer of the church when the resident essential oil/practitioner of health/organic foods promoter might be lurking. In fact, many years ago someone in the church I was leading jabbed me with a quick comment as I was drinking a diet soda. He said, "I hope you enjoy your brain cancer."
I gave him a sharp, loving rebuke. I rejected his curse and made it quite clear that he might never say that again. He apologized, and all was well. You see, I didn't fear soda then, and I don't fear soda now.
Today we are experiencing an increase in evil in America as mass shootings are becoming bigger and more devastating. Just as with the attacks on 9/11, the goal of the enemy is to instill fear. Of course, he's out to steal, kill and destroy, but an even more effective strategy is to cause people to fear that he will steal, kill and destroy. That paralyzes us so he can finish the job.
So, the cry of many is to eliminate guns. Many Christians are saying the same thing. Instead of dealing directly with the spirit of fear while standing in our authority, we presume that dealing with the natural threat is the prime answer. It is not. If guns were done away with, fear would visit us in even more horrifying ways. The enemy would be sure of that.
Let's see, so far, I've dealt with diet sodas and guns. Oh yeah, we can't forget the motorcycles.
Many years ago as a teenager, I owned a motorcycle, and I had a blast riding through the hills of Arkansas and Missouri. I'm 48 years old now, and I've wanted to buy another bike since my youth.
My wife was nervous about the idea, as many wives would understandably be, and we had many discussions. I was not winning any of our friendly arguments.
On a Saturday, God spoke very clearly to me. He said, "Tomorrow morning at church, I'm going to speak to your wife through the message. You will own a motorcycle on Monday."
I was unable to be at church that day. My wife went, and God did speak to her quite remarkably.
She told me the message was breaking off a spirit of fear and entrusting your life and the lives of others into God's hands. The time of our death or their death is up to him and we can rest in that.
I was stunned. The next day, we drove to a motorcycle dealer in Ozark, Missouri, and I bought a 2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS. Now, admittedly, my wife is still not in love with the idea of me on a bike, but we both agree to trust God with the lives of our family members and others we love.
Many other people have reacted to my purchase in love, but also in fear. Now, if you are one who shared your concern, you are off the hook. I appreciate your love. But I just couldn't hold back in dealing with an issue of fear that is devastating the church and keeping people both in bondage and with a very dangerous false sense of safety.
While there are natural cautions that we can take when dealing with risky endeavors, fear cannot be a part of that strategy. Fear does not protect, it exposes us for attack.
Of course, if you own a gun, keep it locked up. If you drink diet soda, don't overdo it. If you own a motorcycle, wear a helmet, a riding jacket, gloves, boots and riding pants every single trip. Take a safety course. Don't speed. If you drive a car, wear a seatbelt. Don't drink and drive. If you go boating, wear a life vest. You get the idea. But don't be afraid! Don't allow yourself to be possessed by a demonic spirit of fear. It will feel good for a while as the enemy deceives you into a false sense of security, but worry and anxiety will certainly overtake your life. The Holy Spirit will not have access, and the Prince of Peace will not be felt. God has truly called us to be at peace always.
Remember, the enemy wants to masquerade as a spirit of wisdom. He wants us to be so concerned about life that tragedy is a certainty unless we cower and lock ourselves into our homes as we nervously nibble on our fingernails.
The Right Response
"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Mat. 16:19).
Instead of predicting a crash, instead of sharing horror stories of other motorcyclists who have died, instead of decreeing that I'm going to develop brain cancer because I drink diet sodas, instead of projecting spirits of fear on everyone who takes risk, a right Christian response would be to decree life. We have the keys of the kingdom of heaven. We bind. We loose. We have authority. We decree protection and believe it will come.
Someone in a motorcycle video I watched mentioned people ask him how in the world he could ride a bike if he wants to live. His response (as a non-Christian, mind you) was "I want to live, which is why I ride my bike!"
I've met a lot of Spirit-filled Christians who won't go on mission trips to dangerous or third-world nations because of fear. Others fear death right here in America. Fear has imprisoned millions of Christians, people who have a good, good Father. Everybody, fear must go. The right response is to stare fear in the face and to decree that we will not be stopped.
An overcautious life is not the answer. The Bible is filled with truth that we should apply instead of holding to demonic wisdom of self-protection.
"You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day" (Ps. 91:5).
Instead of decreeing devastation out of fear, we should command life. We are blood-bought believers. We have supernatural power burning within. As we intercede and declare protection as friends and family are living every day in a risky world, we will celebrate with them and rejoice that they have nothing to fear.
"Strengthen the weak hands, and support the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, 'Be strong, fear not. Your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; He will come and save you'" (Isa. 35:3-4).
We must wholeheartedly reject any reaction that is tainted by fear. If we consider the tragic possibilities, and that information drives our emotions, we can know that fear has gripped us.
Instead of fear, we must stand in authority. We command safety. We intercede. We exhibit the power and confidence and great faith that God has called us to function in.
"Look, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19).
I propose powerfully declaring Psalm 91 as a powerful method of encouragement and intercession for us and those we love:
For He shall give His angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, and I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation (Ps. 91:11-16).
No fear. Long life. That, friend, is our decree.
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored ten books, is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. A large and growing library of audio and video teachings, articles, books and other resources can be found on his website at www.burton.tv. John, his wife Amy and their five children live in Branson, Missouri.