“Take the offensive and attack with the power of the keys to defeat your adversary's devices and strategies! You cannot fail if you attack with the power of the keys.”
Attack Your Fears!
First published June 1972.
Fear!—We don't realize how much of it is subconscious until we analyze it and try to put it into words; yet we’re often afraid to talk about our fears, or even confess to ourselves that we're afraid, because that would expose our innermost selves.
But being afraid to talk about our fears is one of the worst fears of all, because fear is like a disease: We can't find the cure until we confess we have it and reveal the symptoms. And it often seems like a shameful disease, because if we're honest, we know our fears are often the result of our failures—past failures or possible future failures.
The fear of failure is probably one of the greatest fears people have—the fear of failure in life, love, labor and, for Christians, failing the Lord. For the Christian, the fear of failing God is perhaps second only to the fear of failing others, because we know that God will forgive us, but others sometimes find it hard to forgive. The fear of hurting others because of our failure, the fear of letting them down, disappointing them, disillusioning them, discouraging them—the fear that because of our failure, others will also fail—this is hardest to bear. The fear of failing ourselves is least of all. In a way, that is fear of the truth about ourselves: We don’t want to admit our limitations and shortcomings.
But whatever your fears are, it pays to face them. That's how you draw a line of distinction between the truth and the lie, between reality and the imaginary, between fact and fear..
It not only pays to face your fears, acknowledge and confess them, but to take a positive stand against them, especially in the power and Spirit of the Lord, claiming the promises from His Word. It doesn't pay to try and say there's no such thing as evil, sin, or sickness, and just try to ignore the facts. That would be like trying to ignore that you have a disease when you've really got it. As long as you try to hide it, you can't very well find the remedy.
You have to differentiate between reality and the imaginary, the truth and the lie. It doesn't do any good to just shut your eyes and hope the problem goes away, or hope that when you open your eyes again you'll find out it didn't exist, that it was just your imagination.
As any military strategist knows, it's impossible to win a war as long as you stay on the defensive. Defensive warfare is doomed to defeat. To win a war you have to launch an attack; you have to go on the offensive. You have to attack the enemy! You have to take the initiative! You have to be positive! You have to attack and invade and overpower! You can't just sit there and try to ward him off while he attacks and invades, or he'll eventually overpower you. A passive defense never won a war.
Attacking initiative is what wins a war. This is why commando and guerrilla warfare is so successful, even when greatly outnumbered and outgunned. By sudden surprise attacks in unexpected places and weak spots in the enemy's defenses, a few commandos can do a lot of damage. They can hit and run before the enemy even knows what happened, and before the enemy has a chance to retaliate.
It's like little David with Goliath: One little guerrilla defied a whole army (1 Samuel 17). Or like Gideon and his little band: A small bunch of guerrillas defied a whole army (Judges 7). Or like Jonathan and his armor bearer: Two more guerrillas defied a whole army (1 Samuel 14:1–14). If you've got God with you, you're unbeatable, no matter how small you are! God is not limited to save by many or by few (1 Samuel 14:6). Any military strategist knows that no matter how small his forces, if he takes the initiative and attacks first, if he goes on the offensive, he has a definite advantage over his enemy.
So it pays to face your fears, recognize they're there, decide between the real and the unreal, the truth and the lie, and then to go to the attack to dispel the vaporous fiction of the fairytale and to drive away the genuine reality of real threat!
Fear is the exact opposite of faith. Just as "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10), fear of Satan is really the beginning of death. The Hebrew word translated as “fear” in this verse is yirah, which means “reverence.” So to fear God is to give Him the respect He deserves. It’s a form of worshipping God. Therefore, to fear Satan and his devices is to give him just the kind of worship that he wants.
So you must rebuke that kind of fear just as Jesus did when the Devil tried to get Him to worship him on the mount of temptation. Jesus put the Devil in his place: "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve’" (Luke 4:8). The implied meaning from the original is: "You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you fear." You're only to fear God. When we’ve done something wrong, we should be afraid of God. But we're not to be afraid of the Devil, ever!
God's Word says about other kinds of fear that "fear involves torment" (1 John 4:18). Fear of the Devil will wear you down and wear you out. It is damaging and disastrous to you if you harbor it! Fear of the Devil is not of God, "for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). And, "You [God] will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You" (Isaiah 26:3).
The Lord promises "perfect peace" to those whose minds are fixed on Him, to those who trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3). So if you are troubled by a spirit of fear, put your trust in the Lord. Just tell Satan, "Begone, Devil! Get out of here! I'm putting my trust in God, in Jesus!" The Bible says that if you submit yourself to God and resist the Devil, he will flee from you (James 4:7).
God's Word makes it clear that we are in a spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:12), and that our weapons are not physical, but spiritual and mighty, to the tearing down of strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). This is a picture of Christians attacking the spiritual strongholds of the Devil and ripping them apart.
Jesus said of the Church, of which all true Christians are a part, "The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18 KJV). Some Bible teachers use that verse, and make it sound as though the Church was standing firm on the defensive. They pictured the Church as a church building, standing on a big rock, and though all Hell was pounding on its gates, Hell couldn't triumph over the Church. The fires of Hell lapped against its fortifications, but the Church was all bottled up in its little fortress, and the Devil and all the demons of Hell couldn't get in. And that's exactly the way many Christians act. Theirs is a hold-the-fort, purely defensive warfare—a battle for mere survival!
But this is not God's picture at all! In that verse, Jesus is referring to Peter's declaration that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior, the Son of God. Jesus told Peter, "Upon this Rock—the fact that I am Christ, the Savior, the only Foundation—will I build My Church!" He was literally saying, "Upon Me will I build My Church!"
But now notice the rest of the verse: "And the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it [the Church].” What this really means is that the gates of Hell will not be able to defend themselves against the Church. The gates of Hell itself, the Devil's territory, his fortresses, Satan's strongholds, his gates, will not be able to withstand the onslaughts of God's people. The gates of Hell shall not prevail. The gates of Hell will not be able to withstand our attacks!
It's a case of mistaken identity, due to people assigning the most common modern usage to the word “prevail”: to overcome, to triumph. What Jesus meant was closer to the meaning of the Latin word praevalere, from which “prevail” was derived: to be stronger. What He was saying was that the gates of Hell would not be able to be stronger than, or to stand strong against, the attacks of God’s people.
So the picture Jesus painted was not of the Church standing fast behind its closed doors while all Hell attacks, but of Hell trembling behind its closed doors, while the Church is in an all-out attack against Hell's gates, which are collapsing and crumbling under the weight of the power of God through His Church. The people of God are on the offensive. The people of God are invading Hell's gates.
Jesus said, "I give you authority [power] over all the power of the Enemy" (Luke 10:19). Through Jesus' name and authority, you have power over the Devil and can order him what to do. The demons and evil spirits are subject unto us; they have no free will of their own. They cannot do as they please (Luke 10:17,20). They have to do what we tell them to do in Jesus' name.
If you love God and know that He loves you, you know that He's going to take care of you; you know that everything is all right, because God loves you. So why should you be afraid? There's no reason to fear! His perfect love casts out all such fear (1 John 4:18).
So face the Devil! Attack him! Resist the Enemy and he'll flee from you! Face your fears in the power of God's Spirit, standing on the promises of His Word, and you cannot fail!