Poverty, Prisoners of war. Death and destruction. These are the products of war.
When the enemy captures someone, they throw their hostage into prison, torture them, and even use them as slave labor. Captors manipulate the hostage with propaganda or lies producing confusion, fear, and uncertainty. As the Allies roll in to vanquish the enemy, the abductors flee, surrender or are killed. They don’t release their prisoners even knowing they are about to be overtaken. Once the enemy is defeated, it is the liberators who open the prison doors of those taken captive. To be free, the prisoner of war must walk out of his jail. Until he does, he remains incarcerated.
This is where we are spiritually.
We are caught in the middle of a universal war. We are the prisoners, and Jesus is our Liberator. Just because Satan lost doesn’t mean he set us free. Don’t be mistaken – Satan DID lose. Jesus stands at the open door of our prison, but we may not yet realize we are free to leave our cell. Satan uses fear to control and keep us captive.We are caught in the middle of a universal war. We are the prisoners, and Jesus is our Liberator. @DPavlantos Click To Tweet
Fear makes us slaves.
Romans 8:15 (ESV) says, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’”
Fear controls us and keeps us from doing God’s will, stepping out in faith, or enjoying day-to-day life. Fear involves more than heights, snakes or spiders. It causes us to react instead of respond. Reacting is instinctive. It is protecting ourselves from something or someone who threatens us.
In fear, we don’t think–we react.
Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “…that through death, [Jesus] might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” Jesus has freed us from the fear of death. Fear is rooted in the death of someone or something.
I have a close friend who, for years, avoided bridges and overpasses at all costs. God had freed her from addictions and illnesses, but this fear held her captive. She drove nowhere unless she was sure she did not have to use a highway overpass or bridge. She didn’t travel at night for fear of not knowing if she was on a bridge and needed her husband to drive most places. Satan’s lies convinced her the car could go over the side of the bridge, and she would have no control over her vehicle. She thought she might die.
When her son asked her to go on a trip out west, fear tried to persuade her not to go. The places they intended to visit had bridges and many overpasses. She trembled with fear as she thought of going on this trip. Anxiety kept her awake at night.
Jesus wanted to show her she was sitting in a cell of bondage. He wanted her free. He used this trip to reveal this prison to her. The door was unlocked and opened, the enemy defeated. Jesus conquered fear. She needed to believe it and walk out of the cell. This did not happen overnight, but one step at a time.
First, my friend repented for believing Satan’s lies and cooperating with this spirit of fear.
She rebuked the spirit of fear and sent it to the Cross.
Then, accepting the truth of God’s Word, she copied and displayed verses dealing with overcoming fear and the Lord’s power over it.
Lastly, receiving God’s forgiveness and love and determining to walk in the opposite spirit, she prayed for peace, power, and love every day.
In addition to all of this, she had a group of people interceding for her in prayer.
2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV) tells us, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power, love, and self-control” (Emphasis mine). The King James Version uses the phrase sound mind instead of self-control. This seems to be more accurate since fear causes our imaginations to go wild and destroys our sound mind. We need to distinguish truth from Satan’s lies. Fear does not come from God. He is the source of love, power, and a sound mind.
After a few short weeks, following counsel to take someone with her for support, my friend drove over her first overpass. She did it. She called me with such excitement and praise for the Lord. Within another week she was driving with a friend over a bridge. She had setbacks along the way, and fear threatened to take back the ground it had previously occupied, but she is now more confident than she has been in years. She is free.
She is taking that trip out west soon and wants to be a testimony of God’s work and freedom to others on this vacation.
1 John 4:18 (ESV) says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
What does this mean? Fear is equivalent to a lack of trust. Love equals trust. When we trust God with all things, there will be no reason to fear.
There is freedom over fear. Jesus has won the war. The freedom is yours to receive. Focus your eyes on His victory and get out of that cell.
Stephanie Pavlantos has been teaching Bible studies for 15 years. Passionate about getting people into the Word, she has written many of her own studies which cover the books of Revelation, Daniel, and Ephesians/Spiritual warfare. She is currently working on her next study: Yeshua, God’s Son, our Treasure: A Quest through the Book of Hebrews. She also has a blog at stephaniepavlantos.com.
She is very involved with the prayer ministry at her church, where she seeks to get people free from the strongholds of fear, rejection, pride, and self-hate among others. Recently, she became licensed in the ministry of the Gospel through Messenger Fellowship and will be ordained next March.
She and her husband, Mike, have been married for 26 years and have three college students, Matthew, Alexandria, and Michael. They live on a small homestead in Stow, OH raising goats, chickens, ducks and two dogs, Sophie and Mia.