When I first become a Christian, I was still struggling with fear and panic attacks. In fact, I expected God to instantly step in and deliver me from all the fears. After all, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). But, freedom seemed so elusive.
I quickly came to the conclusion that God has given me this “thorn in the flesh” to build my character, to teach me how to depend on him. It was my “cross to bear”.Â Now, 20 years later (and 20 years wiser), I no longer believe those conclusions. God does not give us things like fear and panic attacks to teach us something or to build our character. Yes, that can be a result of the experience, but God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).
“What about Romans 8:28, that God works together all things for our good?”Â Yes, I believe that! I believe God can take the struggles and bad situations in our life and use them for good, but that doesn’t mean he causes them to happen. He simply knows how to use them in our favorâ€”to build our character and to teach us how to depend on him.
My theology is very simple. God is good. The devil is bad. Jesus explains it this way in John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”Â If panic attacks, fear, anxiety and depression are taking things away from youâ€”like joy, peace, sleep, and abundant lifeâ€”then the devil is at work. He’s the source of your problems, not God.
I fully believe that God is for me, not against me. His desires for me (and for all of you) is peace and freedom. God wants you completely free more than you do. He’s working hard on your behalf to help you find freedom.
You may ask, “So, how can I find this freedom?”
It starts with agreement. You must agree with God that he wants you living a life of peace and freedom. He is on your side. He is for you. He is waging war against the enemy of your soul, the devil. He is fighting for you. You must agree with that.
Next, you must break those wrong agreements with the enemy. If you have settled in your heart that God is the source of your fear and panic, then you must disagree with that. Remember, the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Do you see fear, anxiety, torment, sleeplessness, dread, terror or depression listed there? No. That’s because God is for you, not against you!
This week, take a long, hard look at what you have believed about your struggles with fear. If you have believed this condition is from God, then you are believing a lie. The enemy is trying to confuse you. He wants you to believe this is from God so that you will remain trapped in fear the rest of your life. Don’t believe it. God is on your side! And, who the Son sets free is free indeed! (John 8:36).
Prayer: Father, please help me know that you are for me, not against me. Show me how to agree with you and your plans, and how to break all of the wrong agreements I have made that are keeping me trapped in this situation.