In my own experience with fear, I have found that too often we spend our time, our energy and our resources dealing with the fruit of fear (panic, anxiety, stress). But, we don’t focus enough time on the root of fear. Every fear is rooted in something. It could be a traumatic event that is played over and over in our heads. It could be a something someone said that hurt us, and we still believe the lie today. It could be something our parents did or said to us. The key is finding out what is triggering the fear.
It’s like rats eating trash. We can spend our time, our energy, our resources on killing the rats, but if we never get rid of the trash, the rats will come back. The key is to clean up the trash in our lives, and then the rats won’t come back. There’s nothing for them to feed on.
According to 1 Thessalonians 5:23, we consists of three parts–body, soul and spirit. Our body is our flesh. Our soul is our mind, will and emotions. And our spirit is what comes alive when we receive Christ. We are spiritual “born again”.
Most of our battle takes place in the soul. It’s the battlefield of the mind. It’s where the enemy can confuse, distract, and lie to us. His strategy is simple–keep us trapped in lies and keep the truth hidden from us. If he can do those two things, we will remain in bondage to fear and anxiety. That’s why Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Recently, fear has been rearing its ugly head in my life. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I was a bit confused, because the panic attacks were gone. But for some reason, fear hit me a few weeks ago and it was intense. I quickly pushed into God to find out what was going on. And, through prayer, counsel and lots of time with God, I was shown some deep roots of fear that were still there. The fruit was gone–the rats were gone–but something was rooted in my soul.
I’ve recently been attending our church’s Freedom Ministry training program, and we’ve been learning about strongholds. Strongholds are areas of our soul that are wounded, and create problems in our lives like fear, addiction, anger, and other unwanted actions in our lives. Take a look at the following diagram:
This is the anatomy of a stronghold. Let me explain how strongholds work in our lives.
Event: The cycle typically starts with some sort of event that drives us to question the truth. For many, it’s a childhood event that was traumatic or painful. Maybe it’s something someone said to you, or did to you. Or, maybe it’s something you experienced.
Lie: After the event happens, the enemy knows we are vulnerable, and jumps on the chance to speak a lie into our mind. And he speaks it to us in the first person, as if it’s our own voice. “God is not with me. If he was, then this wouldn’t have happened to me.” Then the stronghold takes root when we agree with that lie.
Defense: Once we agree with the lie in our hearts, we start building a defense against more of those events. It could be a defense in our mind. “I will not let people hurt me like that again.” Or, it could be a physical defense. “I will avoid that person or that place.”
Response: Once the lie is at work through this defense, then we experience two kinds of responses–we now respond to the world differently, and others respond differently to us. And, because our responses are now based on a lie, this often triggers more events. And the cycle continues.
When you think of fear, addictions or any stronghold in this way, you will see how destructive they can be.
This week, I encourage you to spend some time praying and listening to God. Ask him to reveal any lies at work in your life that may be feeding this cycle. Or, ask him to show you any event where the lie came in and started causing you problems. Let the Holy Spirit guide you and teach you. John 16:13 says that the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth.
Prayer: “Father, show me if there are any lies at work in my life. And then through the counsel of the Holy Spirit, guide me into all truth so that the power of Christ can set me free.”