Thursday, January 8, 2009

DEAL WITH YOUR FEARS AND UNBELIEF

Israel had fallen into idolatry. But their root sin was still unbelief, resulting in all kinds of fears! And God sent them a prophet to expose their root sin.

The prophet told them in so many words, “Look at you—a bunch of wimps, hiding out, afraid to stand up and fight. You’ve already given up. But you have a history of God’s deliverance! He gave your fathers great victories when they trusted him. And he has promised to deliver you too—yet you don’t believe him!” (See Judges 6:7–10.)

Many Christians are terrified the devil is going to destroy them. They’re afraid they’ll make a mistake or go back to their sin, and the devil will have his way. But that’s a lie from the pit of hell! The Bible says you don’t have to be terrified as you walk through this life!

When you hold on to fear, it becomes contagious. Everybody around you catches it! When Gideon gathered his army, God told him to send home every fearful soldier: “Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart…. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand” (Judges 7:3).

God is speaking the same word to his church today. He is asking, “Why do you fear? Why do you sin by not trusting me to bring victory to your life? I have promised to defeat every demonic power that comes against you!”

Gideon’s father, Joash, had erected statues of Baal and the goddess Asherah, made from huge stones. His reasoning was, “Baal has given Midian power over us, so maybe if we worship their god, he’ll give us power.” People came from miles around to worship there, including Midianites and Moabites; it was a powerful, demonic stronghold in Israel!

God told Gideon, “I’m not going to deliver Israel until you get rid of this idol that stands between us. Lay it aside—cut it down!” So in the middle of the night Gideon “took ten men of his servants, and did as the Lord had said unto him” (Judges 6:27). He took an ox and used ropes to pull down Baal and Asherah!

God is giving his church today the same message he gave Gideon: “I want to help you—but I can’t when you don’t trust me. You’re full of fear. And before I bring deliverance, you’re going to have to pull down this stronghold, this besetting sin!” “Lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [you]” (Hebrews 12:1). We are to pull down all strongholds of fear and sin!

Gideon pulled down demonic strongholds using a strong ox. But we have been given weapons far more powerful than Gideon’s (see 2 Corinthians 10:4–5).

Victory comes by praying in faith. This doesn’t mean cold, empty prayer but prayer in the Spirit, prayer that believes God to answer: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18).