After Judas left the Passover table to betray Him, Jesus instructed His disciples about the days and years to come.
In John 14-17, we see Him telling them all the things they they will need to know during this intense time, and in doing so, He has encapsulated the most important things for us as well. He tells us about the indwelling Trinity—He, the Father and the Comforter would come and live within us. He tells us that anything we ask will be granted by the Father.
He gives us His glory, and explains the importance of abiding in Him. He reiterates the assurance of answered prayer, as if He knew that one would be the hardest for us to really believe.
He starts off by telling them "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God believe also in Me."
Later in the same chapter, He reiterates ‘do not let your heart be troubled’ and adds ‘nor let it be fearful.’ He is, in a way, clarifying what it means to have a troubled heart—fear.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it—your heart—be fearful.” [John 14:27]
The Greek word me is translated here as 'do not let' or, in the KJV 'Let not' is translated 33 times in the NT as 'never.' If we read the verse that way, it is "Never [let] your heart be troubled..." or better yet, "Never your heart be troubled..."
Never is one of those absolute words. No gray shades about it, never means never, not ever, no chance, period. What is He saying? In the words of David Crosby, don't give in an inch to fear. Don't let it start, don't let it grow, don't let it hang around.
A Spirit of Fear
We've seen in earlier posts that fear is a spirit. Job describes it perfectly...
"Now a word was brought to me stealthily, and my ear received a whisper of it. Amid disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, dread came upon me, and trembling, and made all my bones shake.
"Then a spirit passed by my face; the hair of my flesh bristled up. It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance; a form was before my eyes; there was silence, then I heard a voice..." [Job 4:12-16]
Of course, then, the spirit of fear goes on to tempt Job with lies about God.
It's interesting to notice that this spirit is not coming from within but from without. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us 'For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.' The KJV translates the Greek word dielia as fear...the NT Greek Lexicon translates it as timidity, fearfulness, cowardice.
Romans 8:15 calls it a spirit of slavery...
The Spirit given to us is the very Spirit of God...we are one Spirit with the Lord! [2 Corinthians 6:17] And we see that it is a Spirit of 1) power, 2) love and 3) discipline. Colossians 1:11 says that we are strengthened with all power...ALL POWER! Not just a little power, not just natural power, but ALL POWER!
If we experience any kind of fear—timidity, fearfulness, cowardice, any kind of anxiety or worry—we know that 1) it's not from God our Father and 2) it's not coming from within us but is the result of an external spirit of fear.
Don't Leave Yet...
Okay, I can hear the wacko alarms going off out there, but bear with me. Everything I've written so far is directly from the Word. And evil spirits are a Bible fact.
But there's good news! In Luke 10:19 Jesus told His disciples "Behold [look], I have given [past tense] you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you."
Authority over ALL the POWER of the ENEMY! And they weren't even reborn yet...we've got God inside and have been strengthened with ALL POWER!
In John 17:20, Jesus prayed for His disciples and all who would believe in Him through their word...He didn't give them one thing and us another! We have the authority in His Name—not as a talisman, or lucky coin, or rabbit's foot—we are ONE with Him, and wear His Name as His Body in the earth! We have authority because He has authority, and we wear and use His Name as a wife wears and uses the name of her husband...well, used to, in the olden days.
Jesus knew that the Holy Spirit was a Spirit of power, love and discipline. He knew what the fruits of the Spirit were, '...love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...'
And then there's 2 Timothy 1:7...
'For God has not given us a spirit of timidity [fearfulness, cowardice], but of POWER and LOVE and DISCIPLINE [self-control].'
So when He tell us to NEVER let our hearts be troubled, He knew that we would be capable of doing it. The disciples really didn't get it—when the soldiers took Jesus, they ran off and hid. Peter was the only one with enough nerve to go after Him...but he succumbed to fear, too. After Jesus died, some of the disciples went back to fishing! In the couple of days He was buried!
They didn't get it, just like we don't get it. Modern psychology has us so twisted in our thinking that we don't think we can control our emotions...we're not supposed to suppress them, that would be denial!
Live in Denial
I'm here to tell you, go ahead...live in denial! Deny the spirit of fear any place in your life. Deny it's every attempt to dominate you. Deny, or forbid, it to come near you.
Jesus has give us the keys of the kingdom. Whatever we bind, or forbid, on earth shall have been bound, or forbidden, in Heaven! And whatever we loose, or allow, shall have been allowed in Heaven. That's past tense spiritually—in Heaven, and present tense naturally—on earth...a quantum verse!
Forbid fear to exist in your life. Live in full blown denial...the denial of fear's right to exist anywhere near you. Don't allow it to start, don't allow it to grow, don't allow it to stay.
I asked the Lord, "That's great, but how exactly do I do that?"
Immediately James 3 came to mind...the NT treatise on the tongue. [The Old Testament treatise is, of course, the Book of Proverbs—read it through and write down all the verses pertaining to the mouth]
James 3:2 says '...If anyone does not stumble in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.' And he compares the tongue to the bit in a horse's mouth and the rudder of a great ship. The word 'perfect' is the Greek word teleios, meaning brought to its end, finished; wanting nothing necessary to completeness, that which is perfect. Kinda reminds you of shalom, doesn't it?
It doesn't really mean perfect, as we think of it...without blemish or error. It really means soteria—the Greek word for salvation—complete wholeness, redemption from all earthly ills.
I saw what He was saying...you deny fear just like you got saved. Believe in your heart and say it with your mouth. '...for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.' [Romans 10:10] Believing in the heart results in a spiritual state—righteousness, or right-standing with God; and confessing with the mouth brings it to pass in our lives—soteria!
So the 'how' is the same 'how' we access all spiritual blessing with...faith. Believe it and speak it, just as Jesus instructed in Mark 11:22,23.
'And Jesus answered saying to them, "Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him."'
Oh yeah...right. Faith. The way things really work in the universe...I get it...[cut to Jesus with His hand on His forehead, shaking His head, saying 'how many times do I have to tell these morons the same thing?' [My personal interpretation of Matthew 17:17]
Renew your mind so you can be transformed...changed! Changed to prove or demonstrate the will of God in your life—that which is GOOD and ACCEPTABLE and PERFECT! [Romans 12:1,2]
Take up the sword in your mouth. Deny fear it's right to dominate you. Do what Jesus told us to do in Matthew 10:8 and Mark 16:17,...cast it out!
Then believe that what you said happened and praise the Lord!