A study on Life Controlling Fears
- 8:35-37, NKJV
Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed. Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.
The people in and surrounding the region of the Gadarenes were afraid, despite the fact that Jesus had just healed the man who had been possessed for several years by many demons. They could clearly see that he was now completely well and sitting at the feet of Jesus, fully in his right mind. Unfortunately, instead of rejoicing and being able to see the beauty of this man fully renewed and restored to the person God had created him to be, all these people could focus upon was their fear and lack of understanding; they refused to try to see beyond what they already knew. And what they knew was that Jesus’ actions had caused a herd of pigs to stampede violently down a steep cliff and to be drowned in a lake. Why, they did not know, and they did not wish to wait to have their ears and their eyes opened so that they, too, could be healed of the darkness that led them to ask the Saviour of the world to leave their community. With the recipient of one His miraculous healings – a living testimony of Christ’s power and ability to give life to each and every one of them – sitting right before their very eyes, they rejected the Messiah in their midst and asked Hope to leave them in favour of despair.
Can you relate to this? I know that I can. For years I lived with life-controlling fears making my decisions for me. Daily, I awakened with a deep sense of dread and dealt with it by not dealing with it.
I would try to force myself back into sleep by self-medicating. If this failed, I would do almost anything to occupy my mind with vain attempts to distract myself from the tormenting anxiety that was twisting my stomach into tortuous knots and leading me to feel that I could not face another moment. Never during this time did I actually confront the fears with which I was dealing. Instead, like the people of the Gadarenes, I kept pushing them down, attempting to block them out of the forefront of my mind; but those attempts failed repeatedly until, finally, I responded to the call of Christ in Matthew 11:28:
- Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls] . Amplified Bible
I had been believing the lie that, if I turned to Jesus, He would ask me to do things that were far beyond my abilities, especially since I had felt so inept and incapacitated by my fears for many years. Yet, the very first Truth that the Lord revealed to me from His Word was that which I most needed to hear:
- I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. Philippians 4:13, Amplified Bible
The enemy of my soul, Satan, wanted to keep me from the Word of Truth. However, Jesus wanted me to know Him and His Truth about who I am as His child. Like the demon-possessed man in the Gadarenes, Jesus wanted to heal me of the lies that were holding me captive to the darkness of my own false beliefs and the shame they were leading me to feel about myself. The moment I surrendered my fears into His hands, Jesus began His healing work in my heart. Then, as I started to renew my mind in His Word of Truth, the shackles that had been tightening on my wrists and ankles over a period of decades began to loosen, and after a time, fall off completely, as the Truth of Christ continued to set me free.
Jesus desires that all of us know this Truth that He has demonstrated to me and the demon-possessed man who dwelt in the region of the Gadarenes:
- If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you John 15:7, Amplified Bible.
The man who was healed and restored so wonderfully by Jesus desperately yearned to leave the Gadarenes and to travel and dwell with Jesus and His disciples. However, the Lord needed him to remain in his hometown to be His instrument – the lone witness to the wonderful goodness of God; for, amongst the people of the Gadarenes, only he knew and understood that Jesus had come to set the captives free:
- The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed. Luke 4:18, NKJV
This man gratefully and willingly obeyed the Lord of his salvation. Like him, we are the ones in our community who know Jesus, who can speak to those around us who are still lost in their worlds of fear and darkness, unaware that they have a Saviour who loves them and waits to pour His Spirit into their hearts if they will just open themselves up to Him and invite Him into their lives. They cannot escape the chains caused by their lack of knowledge unless others are willing to share how Jesus unlocked the doors to their prison cells – unless we are willing to share our stories. Will you talk with someone today about how Jesus set you free?
Do you remember when you first made the decision to place your trust in Jesus? Who first talked to you about their faith in Christ? Who was there to take you by the hand and help you begin to walk your faith journey? What makes you hesitate to do the same for someone who is lost and hurting and needing to see the face of Jesus in their life today?
May God richly bless you as you reach out and take Him by the hand and walk with Him obediently, moment-by-moment, day-by day. Amen.