When I first heard this song (being the smart arse that I am) I honestly thought they got the lyrics wrong, I didn’t understand why the singers sang:
“I am no longer a slave to fear”
I mean shouldn’t it have been ” I am no longer a slave to sin”, wouldn’t that be a more accurate portrayal of what is written in the bible, if you haven’t guessed I am a stickler for rules and regulations and although this is a good thing ( I think?) it does limit my understanding of God because I like things to fit in a box and God does not fit in a box, however, in this context I honestly thought that they miss-referenced Romans 6: 22 which says:
“But now, since you have been liberated from sin and become enslaved to God”
With the key phrase being “liberated from sin” which would go hand-in-hand with the phrase ” no longer a slave to sin”, but this was not the case. Despite my misgivings, I continued to listen and worship to the song, because the lyrics were pretty powerful but only now do I understand why these lyrics are powerful and why the writers did not get confused when they wrote: “I am no longer a slave to fear”.
As a 15-year-old I remember sitting in my bedroom making a poster of all the easy scriptures that I could memorise, I am glad I did that because a lot of the ones which I memorised then have remained even to this day and more specifically this scripture:
‘For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and sound judgement’2 Timothy 1:7 (HCSB)
I would proudly declare this scripture out-loud in my room in my attempts to memorise it, but I never actually sat down to think why God would not give us a spirit of fear, is it not fear that gives us the adrenaline to fight, isn’t fear the thing that makes us cautious of certain areas and allows us to avoid disaster, does it not say in the bible ‘fear the lord’? However, with time I came to understand fear as a paralysing illness that can render its subjects to complete disability.
YES: the Bible does instruct us to fear the lord, but this is a different kind of fear to the one I am talking about. Often because of translation some words and interpretations are not fully expressed, so when the bible says to fear the lord it can be understood as ‘revere or respect’ whilst the one mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:7 is understood to mean ‘timidness’ and other such connotations ( this information can be found in the ‘Strong’s Concordance’ or other reference bible’s).
As mentioned in ‘2018: My Spider Thread’, 2017/18 was a challenging year for me as I still had a lot of uncertainties about my future. I was now in my final year of university and still lost as to where God wanted to take me or how, every single direction seemed like the wrong one and the more I pressed in, in prayer the more silent God seemed to get regarding my circumstances which ultimately led to me throwing a tantrum with God that if He would not answer me than I would stop talking to Him. I was angry because God had been the one who had directed my steps to that university and I had followed His decision believing that he wouldn’t leave me stranded at the end, but here I was standing at cliff-edge staring at the vast barrenness in front of me; alone and afraid. I wasn’t coming from the position of a new believer, this wasn’t my first time not getting an answer and as I write this now I am still waiting for a response to a prayer I have given many times since infancy, I knew that God was operating and in many areas of my life God was responding daily — but why was He remaining silent in this area? As graduation day loomed, I was terrified, terrified of walking in the dark, terrified of everything. Many opportunities were available but I was so uncertain of which way was right and which way was wrong that I did nothing, and when I decided to no longer focus if this was the right path or not I still had a lot of doubt as to whether I was qualified or not and instead I went from dreaming big, to dreaming small to not dreaming at all.
I’ve only ever experienced one panic attack in my life and that was when I was learning how to drive and I couldn’t get the car up the hill, I was in tears, sweating and shaking and although I did overcome that hill that very day, the experience did leave me traumatised. I wasn’t born shy or afraid, in fact, I would say I am the complete opposite of that, that is why that experience was so surreal that despite going on to pass my driving test first time, I dared not drive a car ever again. A lot of people would be so grateful to receive a car for a graduation present but I wasn’t, because every time when I looked at that car I didn’t think about the day I casually passed the driving test, I thought about the time when I was a learner struggling to get up the hill, and I became even more terrified to drive that my mother had to push me into driving again. This same fear is what shrouded me all throughout last year and the beginning of this year, I felt paralysed in time – time was moving ahead of me whilst I remained stagnant.
There are so many scriptures in the bible where the Father speaks to His children telling them:
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”Isaiah 41: 10
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4: 6-7
“Have I not commanded you? Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go’.Joshua 1:9
Fear narrows your periphery, it makes it difficult to see anything past your nose, it is so loud that it overtakes all other thoughts. In the same manner it had paralysed me in the car, it had paralysed me in life, for instance as it was my penultimate year at university there was this year-long dissertation I had to complete but due to my fear of actually starting it, I really struggled with it and ended up submitting something which I wrote in such a short period, my assignments and other works which I had easily completed in previous years; I was finding it more difficult to balance. The unexplainable peace which I had had in previous years was nowhere to be seen. There is this passage in Mathew 6: 25-34, where Jesus is saying, aren’t you worth more than the flowers or the birds, but fear really did make me forget about my position as a Son of God, a Royal Priest, a Bride of Christ beautifully adorned.
Before last year I thought I was brave, bold, extrovert but last year really highlighted an area of my life which I hadn’t noticed ‘fear’. Going back a few paragraphs when I first read 2 Timothy 1:7, I thought what it was saying was that we shouldn’t feel afraid or intimidated by God like the Israelites of the wilderness or Naked Adam and Eve did, and instead know that God loves us and gives good gifts to His children like ‘power, love and sound-mind’. However, I missed something important which is this:
‘God does not give us a spirit of fear’
It is not saying do not be afraid of God, it is actually saying a few things which we can elaborate on
- There is a spirit that leads one to feel afraid
- That spirit of fear does not belong to God,
- If that spirit does not belong to God it belongs to the enemy
- As a new-born Christian with a new skin and a cleansed soul there should be nothing of the enemy within us including the ‘spirit of fear’
As such the spirit of fear is a weapon used by the devil to debilitate God’s people from not only hearing God’s voice, or remembering His promises but of also taking action. Now I am going to get a little bit deeper…
We as humans all have souls and our souls in simple terms are our thought process’, they are our minds, our emotions and so forth and so forth. But our souls are a bit like a filing folder with many segments and sections, what we watch say or do get filed away but not without attracting attention first. For instance, when we are in worship we attract the presence of God and that in itself is a blessing so not only is our moment of worship filed in our folder it is filed away with the blessing but when we spend time watching pornography we invite the spirit of sexual immorality, so not only is the image of pornography getting filed in our folder so is the spirit of sexual immorality. So when we chose to accept Christ as our Lord and saviour, the Holy Spirit erased all that was not of God within our folder, but as new believers, we can still choose what we want to entertain or not. As for myself, I had chosen to entertain fear and now I was literally a “slave to fear”. I remember one Sunday service our Pastor spoke and I had no idea what he was talking about all I knew was that it didn’t concern me so I zoned out , but then our Pastor began to encourage people who needed prayer in whatever area he had been talking about to come to the front ( in the middle of the service which is not the norm), but then he said something really quickly he said “if you have fear come to the front”, as soon as I heard this I got out of my seat I didn’t care that I was the only one heading to the front all that I knew was that ‘fear did not belong to God, therefore, it did not belong to me’.
The spirit of fear does not belong to God therefore, it does not belong to you. if this is an area in your life that you are facing challenges in join me in this prayer
‘Dear Father, I don’t know what your plans for me are but I know they are for good. Father, all my fears, anxiety and worries I place them down at the cross where your son died for me, with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead I remove all fear in me and ask Father that you invite your peace and love into my heart forevermore. Amen’