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Overcoming Fear

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good,
or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, 
for the tree is known my its fruit” (Matthew 12:33 ESV).

I came across this social media post from Tom Crandall. I think it perfectly captures how we can identify lies and the roots of our issues.

Tom’s post, focused on overcoming fear, is so simple yet breaks down the enemy’s attacks into actionable steps. Let’s go through each one now. (Note that these principles work for more than just fear. You can switch out fear for perversion, hatred, witchcraft, or many other issues.)

1. Recognize that fear is a demonic spirit. 

Fear is not your friend. And fear is not from God. The Apostle Paul reminds us, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV). Fear is not even an option for true believers in Christ (except the fear of the Lord). 

The first step to dealing with fear (anxiety, stress, or worry) is realizing that it comes from the enemy. No one wants to partner with evil, so call out fear as the demonic attack that it is and send it back.

Sample declaration: “I see you fear, and I do not partner with you. I send you back in Jesus’s Name.”

2. Understand that behind every fear is a lie

Fear is a complex issue. (So are issues like rage, depression, or perversion.) These often have underlying mindsets keeping them in place. When you feel fear, ask God, “Is there a lie I’m believing?” 

The goal is to become an expert at digging out the roots of each issue. Like the tree Jesus referred to in Matthew, we must search our beliefs. See if any mindsets are creating bad fruit (sin, unhealthy actions or habits) and renounce their hold. If there is bad fruit in your life, ask God to show you what lie is causing you to act in this way. 

Sample prayer: “Jesus, is there a lie I’m believing that’s causing me to partner with fear?”

3. Invite the Holy Spirit to disarm fear with truth

This is the most important step. Satan is the father of lies. Jesus is the source of all truth. When God reveals a lie to you, it’s your job to exchange it for heaven’s truth. 

In Sozo, we believe that spaces vacated by ungodly beliefs need to be filled by godly virtues. Otherwise the enemy will come back and exploit this newly exposed area (see Luke 11:24-26 ESV).

We encourage clients to meditate on Bible verses that speak to their area of healing. For someone newly freed from fear, they should read scriptures about courage and declare this virtue over their life.  

And that’s it!

Tom’s post shares such a powerful weapon we can use in times of warfare. It seems so simple, but it can bring radical breakthrough. If you want to go deeper in removing fear, check out my book, Overcoming Fear.

Here’s a quick prayer you can release over yourself this week: 

“Jesus, thank You that You are my deliverer. Please expose any unhealthy beliefs I am partnering with. Help me to discover any root issues so I can remove them and embrace God’s truth. I ask this all in Jesus’s Name, amen.

Trusting God

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 ESV).

These past few months have been difficult. Not only did a close family friend of my son and his wife pass away, but one of my spiritual mentors, Beni Johnson, graduated to heaven. Many of us worldwide were believing for her healing. The morning after she passed, I found myself traveling to teach on the importance of prayer. It was a hard but powerful trip.  

Losses like these can shake our faith. When our needs – physical, financial, or otherwise – don’t get resolved, doubt creeps in. We start to wonder if God even hears us at all, thinking, How do we trust God when our deepest disappointments get realized?

A wise man once said,”Those who love the most hurt the most.” We have the opportunity to love God with all of our hearts. While it might seem safe to close off and guard our hearts from disappointment, cynicism is not healthy. Jesus said: 

“Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up
and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart,
but believes that what he says will come to pass,
it will be done for him” (Mark 11:23 ESV).
 

Believers are called to intercede for the impossible. Jesus is the King of the impossible. When faced with hardships, disease, or temptation to sin, we are reminded that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV).

We must pray for the miraculous and believe in the Lord’s goodness no matter what. This is called faith. Pastor Bill said after Beni’s passing, “God is always good. I don’t have a right to accuse Him otherwise.”  

If you’re struggling with the pain of loss in this season, here are some promises from God to bring you comfort:  

1.  God works all things for good. 

Even if you lose something dear: a friend, a dream, or a family member, God promises to turn all things for good. This means that even the most painful situations can be turned around for your benefit. It’s a huge promise, and a beautiful one at that. Even in your darkest moments, God is crafting a plan of redemption:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28 ESV).

2.  God has a plan for your life.

Jeremiah saw more destruction than any other prophet during his life. Even in the midst of suffering, God promised that He had a plan for Israel, and it was good. Like Jeremiah, we can take comfort in the fact that God has a destiny for our lives: 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare
and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV).

3. God promises to comfort you.

The Bible promises us that we will be comforted, especially in our hardest moments. Grieving is a natural part of human life. Allow yourself to process your pain. Jesus will comfort you: 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4 ESV).

4. God is present in your situation.

The Names of God are a wonderful tool to rely on in seasons of discouragement. Ask God which part of His nature He wants to reveal to you — the Healer, the Provider, or the Protector — then lean into that aspect. There are so many Names in Scripture, and I cover some in my book, Warring with Wisdom. Check it out if you want to learn more about this powerful tool. 

And that’s it!

These are just a few promises we can rely on when we’re feeling discouraged. It can feel difficult to stay the course and not give in to doubt, but the Lord says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8 ESV).  We must not let disappointment steal our ability to stand firm knowing that God is in control.

If you need help processing any loss, Ray Leight has a wonderful book called Finding a New Normal. It has really helped me through this season of suffering.

Here’s a quick prayer you can release over yourself this week: 

“Jesus, thank You that You are our comforter. I release any pain from my life and ask You to step in and give me words of hope and encouragement. I ask this all in Jesus’s Name, amen.” 

Raising up Micaiahs

“As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me,
that I will speak” (1 Kings 22:14 ESV).

I recently read the story of Micaiah’s prophecy against Ahab. For those who aren’t familiar, the passage centers around the wicked king of Israel, Ahab, and his decision to war against Syria.

For some backstory, King Ahab asked Jehoshaphat of Judah to assist him in battle. Jehoshaphat said, “Inquire first for the word of the LORD” (verse 5).

Ahab assembled around 400 prophets and commanded them to reveal what the Lord was saying. The prophets declared, “Go forth, for the Lord will give it [the battle] into your hands” (6). 

King Ahab was satisfied, but Jehoshaphat wasn’t. He asked Ahab, “Is there not another prophet of the Lord of whom we may inquire”(7)?

Ahab admitted, “There is yet one man by whom we ay inquire of the Lord… but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil” (8).

Long story short, Micaiah was brought forth and spoke the Lord’s truth, declaring, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace’” (17).

In an interesting twist, it turns out God had given Israel’s prophets the wrong word so they would entice Ahab into battle (19-23). Micaiah was the only one who spoke truth.

It was a risky decision. After Micaiah was finished, King Ahab threw him in prison and ordered the guards to “give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely” (27).

It turns out Ahab was killed just as Micaiah prophesied. Interestingly, we don’t know what happened to Micaiah. Did God deliver him from prison? Or did he remain in captivity?

This story both inspires and humbles me. So many Christians, rather than speaking out, avoid hardship. They parrot whatever society tells them and start to resemble the world. This is a dangerous place to be since the world rarely follows what the Lord is truly saying.

In 2021, some of you may recall the Lord told me it would be a year of the power of peace. When I looked up peace in Matthew 5:9, I found “Blessed are the peacemakers.” My immediate thought was peace keepers: those who do not cause conflict. 

Upon researching the original definitions of the word, I found “peacemakers” comes from the cognate that means “to bravely declare God’s terms which makes someone whole” (cognate 1518 eirenopoios). So in this case, being a peacemaker is not staying silent but speaking the truth from the Lord, which brings wholeness.