Being afraid of the dark was never really a problem for me as a child. You see, a big streetlamp shone brightly into my bedroom window during the night. When I was 17, my mom and I visited the home of my future husband and in-laws. They lived on a country road with no streetlights for miles. Panic gripped us as we turned in for the night. With all the lights in the house switched off, we couldn’t see our hands in front of our own faces. We laugh about it now, but we were both a little fearful going to sleep that night.
Complete darkness may impress fear upon our hearts. The good news is this: we don’t need a full moon or streetlights to feel safe when darkness surrounds us in this life. Jesus is the light of the world!
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 ESV)
God’s word tells us He is the light; therefore, we need not fear. We can be strong and courageous because He goes with us. He will not leave or forsake us. He strengthens us, helps us, and upholds us with His righteous right hand. His perfect love casts out fear. He gave us a spirit, not of fear, but of power and love and self-control. Romans 8 reminds us—if God is for us, who can be against us?
So why do some yield to fear at times? Fear can influence our decisions, prevent us from moving forward in obedience to what God is calling us to do, or can hinder us from sharing the gospel with others. Sure, the world gives us plenty of reasons to be fearful—the year 2020 is a good example. But when we LIVE in fear, we aren’t fully grasping God’s love and provision for us.
The enemy, wanting to stop us from trusting God and obeying His commands, uses fear to steal, kill and destroy. A bondage such as fear, can enslave, steal freedom, and eliminate joy. This is called a stronghold in the New Testament. Other strongholds could be worry, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, insecurity, or pride. The defining mark of a stronghold is its recurring pattern. It literally has a “strong hold” on you, so you keep coming back to it. Jesus came to set us free from the bondage of sin and the strongholds that entrap us. Instead of being held by sin, we are held by Him. Romans 13:12 (ESV) tells us:
The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:4 that our weapons of warfare are not of the flesh. They have divine power to destroy strongholds! And in the Old Testament, we find this verse that refers to God as our stronghold:
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2 ESV)
The Word of God enlightens us to recognize the lies of the enemy and allows us to see God’s love, faithfulness, and care. God breaks the strongholds that bind us, and He becomes our stronghold instead. By the grace of Jesus, we have been brought from darkness into light. I pray we can walk in that freedom—fearlessly—and live abundantly in Him!
Holding Fast to Hope,