Life was good for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It was a true paradise until Satan slithered into their lives. They went into hiding after they had offended their Creator. “Then the Lord God called to the man and said to him, where are you?” Its not like God didn’t know where they were, it was a preparation question by which God was about to reveal himself to them. Adam replied, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Adam and Eve then revealed the sin in their hearts by participating in a blame game.
Fear can be paralyzing. The sound of God’s movement in the garden was incapacitating. It was heart stopping. John Haggai said, “For many, fear has grown like a tree until it over shadows them from morning till night.” Fear is probably the most destructive force of mankind. Satan tempted Adam and Eve with the sin of pride and then the assaulted them with fear.
Fear is a leading health problem among Americans. Fear and depression are like destructive twin sisters. They can spawn ulcers, heart problems, liver and kidney disease in their wake. Fear and worry are probably responsible for more deaths than all the wars combined. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) If fear doesn’t come from God it must originate with Satan. Satan unleashes fear upon us and then he “prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) A.W. Tozer said, “Fear is of the flesh and panic is of the Devil.”
I am a Kentucky basketball fan and I recently enjoyed watching Kentucky plow to a national championship. I noticed their intensity increased dramatically as they neared the end of each game they played. I think Satan’s activity is increasing dramatically as the endgame draws near. “But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (Revelation 12:12)
There are numerous verses in the Bible that admonish us to fear God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 11:10) There is not a single verse in the Bible that tells us to fear Satan. When we have a reverential respect for the all-powerful God, our fear of Satan is erased like black marks on a dry erase board.
Fear is indelibly woven into the fabric of our culture. We fear unemployment. We fear poverty. We fear an empty bank account. We fear foreclosure. Our anemic economy has generated a great fear that Medicare, Medicaid and our Social Security will one day be no longer available. This spirit of fear is an evil spirit, it hounds us and torments us and it is born in hell.
I was very discouraged when I looked at the bottom line on this year’s tax return. I owed the federal government a sizeable amount of money. I owe money to the mortgage company but it doesn’t give rise to any fear. I owe money to the dentist, I owe money to the Medical Center but these debts stir in me no fear. For some reason, owing money to the U.S. Government produced a dreadful fear in me. I began to imagine people pulling up in my driveway in black limousines, jumping out in Colombo style overcoats to serve me papers with Barack Obama’s name on them. I painted a house during Spring Break to pay off our taxes and I’m relieved to say, “I don’t owe the U.S. Government one red cent.”
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