I used to let fear get the best of me, but now I know that God didn't give us a spirit of fear.
When I was a kid, I was afraid that monsters would eat me when I closed my eyes to go to sleep. My parents assured me that monsters weren’t real, but when the lights were turned off, the creepy sound of owls, night prowlers, and the creaking of my house made monsters appear real.
That's what fear does ... it appears to be real.
My mom realized that my fear of the dark was keeping me from sleeping at night, so she told me something that helped me to sleep better. She said, “Maggie, anytime you’re afraid, repeat these words: Jesus is protecting me and keeping me from all harm.”
I trusted Mommy, so I would always repeat those words until I fell asleep. And guess what? I was never eaten by monsters.
Even though I didn’t know the depth of "Jesus is protecting me and keeping me from all harm" as a kid, those words comforted me and gave me peace of mind.
Last year, I had a very interesting dream. I was sleeping in my bed and a demon was smothering me with its presence. It had no face, but I knew it was an evil spirit.
I began praying and affirming different scriptures over and over to make the demon go away. Lord, you said that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. You said that your grace is sufficient for me and that your strength is made perfect in weakness. I'm weak, Lord, help me!
And then I woke up.
At least, that's what I thought. I was still dreaming but didn't know it at the time.
While lying in my bed, I once again opened my eyes to an evil spirit on top of me. This time, I could barely breathe. I started repeating more scriptures, but the demon wouldn't go away.
After wrestling with the demon for what seemed like hours, I woke up.
Or so I thought…
Still dreaming, I woke up to the same scene. I attempted to cast the demon away a third time with even more conviction than I previously had, but the demon wouldn't leave me alone.
I was afraid, but I kept affirming scripture verses repeatedly until the demon eventually got restless and left.
As soon as it left, I immediately woke up covered in sweat. That nightmare seemed so real, and I was legitimately afraid to go back to sleep.
After calming myself down, I thought about what I did in the dream and said a scripture to comfort me. Lord, you said come to you all who are weary and burdened and you will give our soul rest. I need some rest. Please help me.
And at some point, I fell in a deep sleep until morning.
"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
There's only one way to completely drive out fear, and that's through the love of God. This doesn't mean you won't experience fear trying to get the best of you, you will. We are human and not perfect people, but with the perfect love of God, we can be victorious!
The weekend before that dream, I was having a conversation with a friend about prayer and the practical use of scripture. When you’re faced with tough situations, affirm scriptures to strengthen you.
There's tremendous power in the Word of God, use it! And with the help of God, victory is yours!
Did you enjoy today's message? As always, I'd love to hear from you. What's your "go-to" scripture when you need strength or feel afraid? Reply on the discussions page on the blog, and I look forward to chatting with you.
You were born to do great things. Don't let fear hold you back.