Will God Deliver Me From Fear?
by Fred Pruitt
(This is a response to someone whose testimony is that they have been walking for years in sin and rebellion against the Lord, after having had a born-again experience before that time, when they felt “close” to God. This person wondered if God was rejecting him since he had not walked with the Lord for years. He wanted his “salvation” back, and to feel close to God like before, but “cannot find Him.” – Adapted (edited/expanded) from previous articles posted in 2012, “A Prodigal Returns 1 & 2.”)
Thanks for sharing some of your life with me. I have a few things to say that might give you some help.
It strikes me that you are right now in God’s perfect place, a place of weakness and helplessness. When you begin to grasp the fact that your whole life belongs to God, and has always belonged to God and will continue to belong to God; and that He has brought you on the way that you have gone, to experience everything you have experienced, whether sin and its consequences or any other thing, that by all this you might come to a perfect knowledge of Him, then things begin to make better sense.
Now before you object, I am not saying God is the author of sin or has led you into sin, but that He knows all things beforehand, including the end and consummation of all things. Since this is the case, His plan from the beginning has always been to use all those things which He knew and foresaw, whatever experiences we have whether positive or negative, to “fashion” us according to His own glory, which because He is Love, ends up being our glory as well.
What does Peter say?
“… though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet 6, 7).
He has not withdrawn His hand from your life, even though you may feel you have withdrawn from Him. Let’s understand the power and tenacity of God’s love and BELIEVE it! We hear far and wide in the Christian world how God hates sin and will turn His back on us if we turn ours against Him. They sow fear in God’s precious young children by making them think it’s the easiest thing in the world to “slide off” the path into the dangers lurking on every side.
How often some of those folks misinterpret what is going on in someone’s inner life. It is true, there are dangers. It is also true, that the One Whom you received, is greater than the one who tempts us today. It is also true, that the Same One Whom you received, promised He would never leave you nor forsake you. He has also promised that if, out of a hundred sheep and one is missing, He will leave the 99 in the fold and go out and search until He finds His one lost sheep. And of course when He does, He scoops them up into His Loving Arms and speaks loving things to His precious lost sheep.
Therefore, for whatever reason you had resolved in your own mind when you felt like you left Him and went into rebellion, His purposes were already at work in you. He had seen your path from afar off and knew your heart was bound irrevocably with His. He “let you go,” not to punish you or destroy you, but for you to find out for yourself the strength of that bond IN YOU, and by that to restore you not only to the inner place from which you left, but to far higher meadows as yet unseen.
The purpose in the current moment is to realize who you are. All the past sins, etc., are gone. As far as the east is from the west. They do not separate you from God, because He does not see them. They worked a work in you, and that work was to beat you up thoroughly (sounds harsh doesn’t it?), not so that you could get more “gung-ho” and aggressive and “on fire” for the Lord, but that you would come to the end of your self-efforts, self-focus and self-reliance, with which we are all saddled from our natural birth onward. The only way to do that is to exhaust them to death. What is happening with you is the difference between the Peter who swore that he would never desert Jesus, operating on his own enthusiasm as his strength, and we see he could not do it. His bravado was just that, bravado, but empty of anything else, so he denied the Lord three times.
And yet the Lord had said that Satan would sift him, and Jesus was clearly expecting Peter to “strengthen” the brethren when He was gone. Did Jesus reject Peter because Peter had denied Him that night? No, He later commissioned Him personally to “feed my sheep.”
How could He trust mere Peter to do that? Of course He knew the Spirit would come and make Peter and all of them into “different” people, and the Peter who stood up and preached on the Day of Pentecost is a completely different Peter, not one hiding and cowering in fear for his life, but Peter the mouthpiece of God, whatever the consequences. This was, by the way, an “act” of God, and not something Peter had “earned.”
So the first thing to know, ____, is that you are not rejected, but instead expected! By that I mean the Lord has been expecting you to show up and knock on the door again, which you have been doing. In fact, He is the One Who has instigated you to come back and seek Him again!
But as I said above, this time I think He wants to move you farther than the last time. This isn’t about good or bad behavior. This is about who we are in our innermost selves, and where God is.
Do you know that when you were born again as you said, the Spirit of God moved into you? And not just the Spirit, but according to John 17, actually the whole Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reside in you. But they also reside in Heaven. So therefore the Spirit lives in heaven in you. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.”
Slowly we begin to see that Christ is the Author of our lives, and not we ourselves. We are walking out His life in us. He created you, you, to contain His Life and express it in the world, which is Christ coming again into the world in you and in me, and in all who name His Name.
And it is not up to our efforts to make that happen.
We all go through a season where we discover our helplessness and utter weakness in the Lord. Everyone comes to it by difficulty of one sort or another. The reason we all go through that, is because once we have realized our own complete lack of sufficiency (and we discover this by trying to live our “own” lives, whether trying to do “godly” things, or trying to avoid “ungodly” things – either way we find ourselves fully insufficient.)
Praise GOD! That is the beginning, the door into the fullness of who you are. (2 Cor 3:5,6). You are now ready to see who you really are, that you are not just you, living alone, trying or not trying, sinning or not sinning, but you have been inwardly joined to the Lord and you are inwardly one person with Him. “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Cor 6:17). And since God is Spirit and God is Self, “I AM,” then we are joined with Him inwardly in His Divine Personhood in our human personhood.
The reason is that it has always been God’s plan and intent to bring us, you and me, into son-ship.
You must see that your life has been all to that purpose, whether your experiences were positive or negative, all that serves to bring you into Himself as He “forms” Himself in you. (Gal 4:17).
The key to our whole lives, is found in Galatians 2:20.
“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”
This is what has happened to you, as a result of Jesus’ shed blood and dead body, and His resurrection, that you have died in Him in His crucifixion, and you have resurrected in Him unto newness of Life. It is no longer your own life you live. We were living the devil’s life, and his works of sin were ours to do. But now, One Who is greater than all has taken up residence within you, by your invitation, and when He moved into you, He kicked out the old deceiver who had deceived us all our lives, and then He became in you as a river of living water flowing out of you.
But you haven’t known that, because you thought it was all up to you. But it is no longer “you” who is in charge, in fact, the old “you,” the sinful you, your “you” tied to Satan, died in the Cross. Now a new you has risen, but it is not just you, alone, but you rise as Christ in you. He has become your life, and now, as it says in Isaiah 9:6, “And the government shall be upon His shoulders.” What government? The government of your life.
Now notice I am not saying that you must somehow “make” Him the Governor of your life, like people say we have to “make Him Lord,” after we find Him as our Savior. But there is no need to do that, since He has already made Himself “Governor” of our lives. He already IS LORD! It is something we realize in faith that He has already done!
The best thing I can tell you is to begin to meditate and look to God regarding what I am telling you. He has not brought you back to consciousness of Himself only to reject you! He has brought you back into consciousness of Him in order to bring you to the fullness of His Life in you, so that you would see that your very life lived in this world is Christ manifesting Himself in this world disguised as you. Yes, it is still you, but it is not “just” you, but Christ in you who now is the Author and Finisher of your faith, which just basically means He is the Author and Finisher of everything.
It (He) is already within you. Galatians 2:20 is as true for you as it was for Paul who first penned it down. He wrote it about himself that we might know it about ourselves, because it is the key to the whole Christian life.
I think that would be a good place to start, ____. Churn over this a bit and let me know how you are doing.
Thank you so much Fred, there are many powerful truths to your way of seeing it! I agree with all of what you said, however, my biggest concern now is that I don’t seem to have the fire to want to witness because of my fear of man and what others think of me. Shouldn’t that desire be there, causing me to want to share his salvation to the world? I don’t have any trouble sharing if someone asks me a question regarding the Lord but that is so rare. My life doesn’t bear the fruit of the spirit, ( at least, not at my place of work) so as to draw others to me in order to witness. Jesus said if anyone is ashamed of me and my words that He would be ashamed of him when He comes into the Father’s glory. It scares me that the great command we were commissioned to do, I am failing him. Can we lose our salvation because of this?
(From Fred) Dear ______,
I am really glad you wrote me back and that you see a little bit about what I wrote you.
Now let me tell you what I think about your predicament you have written about, when you said you are afraid of being cast out if you aren’t out evangelizing.
Sometimes it takes an observer to point out to us something we are not seeing about ourselves. I don’t think you realize the bondage of fear you are writing from. This “fear” seems to be uppermost in your mind, and knowing fear as I do (since I’ve had quite a bit of experience with it myself), it tends to escalate and get worse, not better.
Where is this fear coming from? Do you think being so scared of losing your salvation as a motivation to “good works” is truly from the Lord? Is God that kind of Master? Do you think the Lord wants you out there working His work, cowering in fear yourself, doing it because of that fear, all while you are attempting to draw people into the grace of God? Can you see the contradiction here?
What life would you be inviting people into by witnessing to them? Would you not tend to spread the same fear that has so overtaken you? I’m speaking from personal experience, as I said above. For a time I lived overcome with fear. I could not break it; it seemed to rule everything, not just my “spiritual” life. And I asked myself the same question I’m asking you during my time with fear. I asked, “Why would I want to bring anybody else into this misery?”
My spiritual life, which really means the whole of my life, was stuck in fear from which I could not escape. I “tried” not to fear. Of course that didn’t work. I prayed, got people to pray for me, etc. Still it persisted.
I quoted scriptures, especially 1 Jn 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
There it is, in plain language. I would quote it, stand on it, and wait for a deliverance from fear. Still it persisted.
Now let me tell you, as “miserable” as I was during those days, I am thankful for them. Because it was not the Lord’s intent to leave me there! Instead, as I have come to know since then, it was the Lord’s intent that in my “walking in the valley of the shadow of death,” I would find the True Shepherd of my soul and spirit, no longer knowing an outer Jesus separate from us, but would find an “upholding” underneath me (when I had exhausted all my own strength and had no more strength left to go on), that I had not known was there.
You see, we all go through these negative times. For you it is fear. Others face different issues. It doesn’t really matter whose “fault” it is, whether something from without heaped onto us by circumstance, man or devil, or something inward in us that is “blocking” the fullness of our understanding for which we might blame ourselves. None of that matters. The Lord is not looking for someone to blame, or, if He was, He’d say, “Blame me, the buck stops here!”
What matters is what the Lord is doing, and His planned “end” (of this issue) for you is to build you up and show you not only Who He is, in you, but also who you are, in Him. It is glory you have yet to see, but you are at the brink and will soon see it.
This “evangelism” thing, and whether you have the proper urgency to “save souls,” etc., is not really the issue before you. Jesus plainly said, “Seek first the kingdom.” In other words, get that straight, and all the rest will fall into place.
And the answer is right there in 1 John, just before the “fear” passages:
“And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” (1 Jn 4:14-17).
The passages talking about fear come immediately after the above. The key to it all is the last phrase above. “Because as He is, so are WE in this world.” The phrase starts with “because.” It is saying that BECAUSE it is the truth that as He is, so are WE in this world, BECAUSE of that, we may have BOLDNESS in the day of judgment!!!
Why? How can we possibly have this “boldness” before the Living God??? Because we are not trusting in our own righteousness, or our own works, or any other thing about ourselves. If we place our trust in those things, we can only fear, because we cannot produce works of righteousness. You mentioned that you were not showing the “fruit of the Spirit” where you work. Do you realize it is not “your” fruit? It is the Spirit’s fruit, and, since it is His and not “yours,” it is His job to bear His own fruit. When we “try” to manifest the fruit of the Spirit, it comes out stunted and incomplete, because it is not ours to “act like.” Ours is to “be,” not to play-act. Man has his ideas as to what the “fruit of the Spirit” should look like, and we mostly go by that, and “try to act like that.” But God has different ways from us, and we learn to relax in Him and let Him manifest the fruit as He pleases.
Likewise, we are not accepted nor rejected by the Lord on the basis of our “works.” Those who come to Him give up their own righteousness, as non-existent, and trust only in God through Jesus Christ, and receive His imputed righteousness as our daily walk. We are righteous as He is righteous. Without Him I can do nothing! So said Jesus of the Father. If the Son of God/Son of Man could “do nothing of Himself,” what do you think we can do?
I was going for this in the first email I sent you, that you might see that, “because as He is, so are you in this world.” This is your and my central truth, and the central truth of all of us who are His. We are not just our separate human selves, trying to produce God’s life, which is an impossibility, but we are He in us, and He has said He works the works in us (1 Thes 5:24). We have His mind (1 Cor 2:16). He has made Himself one with you (1 Cor 6:17; Jn 17:11, 20-23). He has forgiven all your sins from the Eternal. He has made you accepted in the Beloved (Eph 1:5). He says you are complete in Him (Col 2:10). He says you are beloved and many many more wonderful things. He says that when you are walking around in the world it is He walking around in the world in and AS you!
The whole key is here. And it is “enacted,” you might say, by our faith, or acceptance and agreement with, the truth God has told us. You have no ability to do anything except receive. God does the rest (and He even does that in us, since it says, “No man can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” The confession is in a very great sense, the proof of itself.)
Forget all that fear. That’s not the Lord. His intent is to lift you up, to say, “Friend, come up higher.”
What did David say in the dark valley?
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
Brother, this is you! This is your life in the Lord! Read it and believe it!
First things first! Find Him in you. Find the liberty of His grace, and be done with the bondage of fear, since it is no longer who you are. And the only way to “find” is through faith, which is not “mental belief” as much as it is simple agreement with the Lord, just as Abraham believed God, and God counted Abraham’s faith as true righteousness. And that is the righteousness you want, and that you ARE, because He is the righteousness within you.
You might say something like, “Lord, I cannot do anything about this fear. But I trust you, and I know now that you are one person with me, and the life I am now living in the world is you living it, in the world as me. I do not understand it but I accept it because You have said it.”
Or something like that. It helps to verbalize your faith – it gives it its solidity to speak from the mouth what God has shown you in your heart.
Find your rest and peace there, and then the works will flow in ease and right loving desire, free from fear. But we can talk more about the “work” later. I think for right now, let God show you His rest.
I hope this helps.
Much love …..