My middle school and high school days were the bomb. Especially when the end of October rolled around. I loved Halloween. Let me premise this and say I haven’t always been sanctified Brother Preacher John. I was really into Halloween. Trick or Treating, costumes, and all. When I started to grow out of all the costumes, I knew it was time for me to get a different “hustle” for the Halloween season. And I found one. The haunted house. Once I became “of age”, I looked forward to the annual trip to the haunted house. Looking back, what in the world was I thinking? I was paying folks to scare the mess out of me. Why did I pay to get scared? Here I was looking stupid…running from some random dude with a chainsaw in his hand. The truth is people pay every day to enter the annals of “haunted houses” in the spirit.
And spiritual “haunted houses” are triggered by one thing: Fear.
The enemy (devil, satan) is a tricky something. Since his fall from grace, he’s always tried to counterfeit everything that God has done. By counterfeit I mean he’s the ultimate perpetrator. For example, God has a kingdom…the devil has a kingdom (Ephesians 2:2). God has a son…the devil will have a son (1 John 2:18). God is the Father, satan is the “father of lies” (John 8:44). God has the Holy Spirit…satan has unholy spirits (Luke 11:24). Significantly, just as God has the Word, the devil has his own word.
In fact, the devil has been using his own word since the beginning of time. He tested Eve in the Garden and twisted the word of God to suit his needs (See Genesis 3:1-13). He tried the same thing with Jesus in the Gospels, but Jesus knew the Word and didn’t bend or break (See Matthew 4:1-11). For Christians, the one thing that he attacks the most is our faith. And he does so by using the polar opposite of faith. Fear. And how does that fear come about? Through the word of the enemy. Let me explain.
The Word of God declares: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). The NRSV says that “…faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ…” (Romans 10:17 NRSV). I submit the opposite works against us as believers. “(Fear) comes from what is heard, and what is heard (in fear) comes through the word of (the devil).” Now don’t go picking up stones on me for saying that. I have biblical support. The Bible states, “there is no fear in love (the love of Christ and His nature); but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment” (1 John 4:18). I don’t know about you, but worry and fear for me involves some level of torment. Think about it. Let’s say you pray about something, have the faith that it will happen, then someone just so happens to come by and ask you a question (albeit with good intentions). And that question begins to get you to thinking and doubting. That’s when fear comes in. You have ever had that happen? I know I have.
Personal example: I took the bar exam many years ago. When it was over, I had huge faith; unshakeable faith that could move mountains. This was my proclamation: I passed…in Jesus’ name. I was shouting, praising, and doing a little dance because I just knew I passed. A strange thing happened though. The closer I got to the date the scores were released, folks would just call me out of the blue. So you got your scores back yet? What if you didn’t pass? And what did the enemy do? He stepped right in and said,That’s my cue. A door has been opened for doubt. Forget walking through, time to kick the door in!
I began to doubt. I began to worry. The mail box was NOT my friend. Every time I went to open it those questions would rise up: “What if you didn’t pass?” By the time I finally got the scores, I was a nervous mess. Needless to say, I passed. It’s amazing how the enemy took that opportunity to interject worry and fear. God reassured me—I’m wasn’t alone. Those are similar questions the devil asked Jesus: If you are the Son of Man, why don’t you command these stones…, If you are the Son of Man, why don’t you jump off this cliff…” (See Matthew 4:1-11). All of them were asked to trigger fear. But Jesus was walking by faith and was hearing/using the Word of God.
Over the next three days I want to take you through three things I learned about faith and fear from the most unlikely of places…a haunted house!
Question: What kind of things trigger fear in your life?