Casting out Fear

by Mike Ratliff

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:18-19 (NASB) 

As God draws us out of darkness into a Spirit-led walk, we can still become discouraged or fearful when the fires of tribulation, tests, or trials come upon us. The move from walking according to the flesh to walking according to the spirit breaks those self-forged chains of bondage to our flesh that kept us mired in spiritual blindness. That happens as we become Spirit-led. We become Spirit-led when we obey God by drawing near unto Him. God’s ways are not our ways. Submission to the Lordship of Christ brings us rest and freedom. Rebellion against His Lordship puts in bondage and darkness. The Spirit-led walk is one which has its mind on the things of God. The flesh-bound walk is one which has its mind on the things of Men. Therefore, the Spirit-led believer fears only God while the flesh-bound walk is full of fear. Fear of what? Isn’t it a fear of having to submit to others? The Spirit-led believer submits to others for Christ’s sake. The Spirit-led walk is one that is free of fear of the unknown while the flesh-bound walk is anxious about everything.

22 And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25 And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26 If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Luke 12:22-31 (NASB) 

The flesh-bound believer is anxious about all of these things on top of “losing” the battle to not to have to submit to others. However, the Spirit-led believer knows that life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. How? Part of this Spirit-led walk’s foundation is living in the Word of God. Where are the promises of God found? They are in the Bible. When the fires of tribulation come upon us, and they will, we turn to the promises of God found in His Word. When we seek our Lord based upon those promises, the Holy Spirit will work within our Spirit-led hearts to assuage our fears, replacing them with our Lord’s Peace and Joy. What about the flesh-bound? They become consumed with doubts and fear and can become bitter in their unrepentant anger towards God for allowing their problems to happen at all. These are the Christians who complain that the Yoke of Christ is neither easy or light. They say it is hard and wonder at believers who seem to be able to rejoice while even in the worst problems imaginable. On the other hand, the Spirit-led believer is able to not be anxious about the fires of tribulation because they are yoked up with Christ. They are resting in and abiding in Him. Their focus is on the things of God and, even in their suffering, they see His Sovereign hand working in and through them for His glory. How can they do this? They can’t do it by any trait in themselves. They can do it because the Holy Spirit has so permeated their hearts that they are empowered by Him and controlled by Him. They can suffer through their trials in their own personal Valley of Humiliation in humble submission to God’s will.

One of the biggest differences between a believer who is Spirit-led and one who is flesh-bound is how they perceive their needs and how they are met. The flesh-bound are focused on the temporal. Their hearts are hardened. They are spiritually blind. They see their needs as something they must have and will make compromises in their walk to make sure those needs are met and not threatened. On the other hand, the Spirit-led believer knows that all of their needs are in God’s hands and they trust Him. When doubts come and the fires of tribulation with them they turn to God in prayer, seeking His promises from the Word then they ask for wisdom from God, believing that their circumstances are for the best because God is Sovereign and He is glorified in and through them no matter what.

32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
33 “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:32-34 (NASB) 

From v32 we learn that genuine believers are a little flock. Why is it that so many pastors are bent on building earthly kingdoms with their Mega-Churches always looking at the numbers as a sign of success. The real Church is a little flock. It’s pastors are the shepherds God has placed in each local body of believers to disciple and lead them. The false shepherds of the Compromised Church believe they are building the Kingdom of God by building their huge churches. However, the Kingdom of God is to be given to the little flock not these individuals who are actually scattering the flock.

The Spirit-led know throughout their entire being that God is Sovereign and in complete control of all things. Because of that, they can give to the poor and give of themselves with no fear or regret because their treasure is in Heaven rather than on earth. They are mindful of the things of God rather than the things of Men. They are possessing the treasure now by having a godly vault of goodness in their hearts. They have treasure in Heaven that awaits as they continue to live for God’s glory alone rather than their own.

Those of you who are still struggling with besetting sins or doubt or fear with no end in sight, do not despair. God loves you and desires for you to come out of the darkness into the light. It is a work of God to do this.

Soli Deo Gloria!