Which is Taken Captive - You, or Your Fears and Worries?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, October 1, 2014 0 comments

by Logan Ames

“We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict.” Some of you reading this post may understand these words from personal experience. The quote is attributed to Jim Morrison, the legendary lead singer of The Doors, who passed away at the young age of 27 years old in 1971 after a life filled with dysfunction and tragedy. He was heavily into drugs and alcohol and many believe his death was due to an overdose. According to Wikipedia, his own father did not approve of his work and told him that he had a lack of talent. In addition, his parents’ primary method of discipline was the military tradition known as “dressing down”, which meant they berated him for his mistakes until he was reduced to tears. Evidently, the result was that Morrison was held captive by his own fears and feelings all the way to his death.

In contrast, I heard a woman speak just last week who likewise had a rough childhood, but is allowing God to use her past to touch the lives of many rather than be held captive by her fears and feelings for even one more day. Barbara Freeman, who was honored last year as a member of YWCA’s Women of Achievement, is a survivor of human trafficking and drug addiction. Abandoned by her stepfather and placed in a homeless shelter by her mother at the age of 16, she turned to the streets to try to meet needs that were not met at home. She connected with the wrong guy, who got her hooked on crack cocaine and eventually forced her into prostitution. After 23 years as an addict, victim, and prostitute, God rescued Barbara. She admitted during her talk that she still deals with fears, but is willing to move forward anyway doing what God has called her to do in sharing her testimony.

The two responses to fear that I’ve outlined above are pretty much the only two options you have when you encounter something that scares you. You can either allow it to enslave you or you can accept that it is there and take it captive as you press on. But there is something else that is needed in order to take a fear or worrisome thought captive. You need something that is more powerful. I’ll get to that later. But first, I think we need to understand where fear comes from and why there is one fear that cannot be taken captive.

When man was first created, there was no fear because there was no reason to fear. Without sin, man was able to talk directly to the Lord, hear from him, and walk with him (Genesis 1-2). But once sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, their very next feeling was that of fear. Whereas before sin they could be with God and feel no shame or fear, after sin Adam himself said, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid” (Genesis 3:10). Think about it. There was no difference in what God did. He had placed man in the garden and spoken to him there before, and now he was talking to him again. The difference is in what man did. Before, he had obeyed God fully and knew ONLY good. Now that he disobeyed God, he had the knowledge of evil as well. Where do most of your fears come from? I’d be willing to bet that at least a good many of them come from your knowledge that evil exists, whether it be from personal experience, the stories of others, or tragic events you see through the media. If you lived in a world where people didn’t ever go against God, you’d have no concept of evil. God would still have that knowledge because of Satan’s rebellion, but without seeing the effects of it on earth, you’d have nothing to fear!

Once sin entered the world, the first fear Adam had was an appropriate one. He was afraid of God. We are often taught in the church that our fear of the Lord should be that of “reverence and awe”. While that is true, the implication is that we don’t have to really be “afraid” of God. I believe that, based on Scripture, our fear of the Lord is determined by whether we are walking with him and obeying him or not. Read Luke 12:4-7 on your own. These are the words of Jesus as he was teaching his disciples while many others were listening. He first tells them that, rather than fearing those who can only kill the body, they should fear the one who can destroy the body AND throw them into hell (v. 5). He’s talking about God, who is sovereign over this life and all of eternity. Yet, just a few verses later, he assures them that they need not be afraid because they are worth more than many sparrows, and not even the sparrows are forgotten by God (vv. 6-7). I believe that Jesus is teaching that based on the principle that we are sinners and the God who created us and can destroy us in a second is holy, we have reason to fear God. But at the same time, we can understand that God does not desire to destroy us. We have great worth in his eyes and if we walk with him, we will not be destroyed. Our fear of God is not like our fear of evil, because God is not evil. The fear of evil causes us to worry about evil, while the fear of the Lord motivates us to obedience and trust that he is truly sovereign over EVERYTHING. By trusting him, we go from the things that bring fear and worry to “the peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:6-7).

In order to have that peace, you must take your fears and worries captive. But since fears and worries are powerful, you need something that is more powerful. For this, we turn to Paul’s words to the Corinthians. I encourage you to read these words over and over until they sink in and apply to every area of your life that right now brings you fear: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). The more you walk with God, the more you KNOW him. And the more you have knowledge of him, the more ammunition you have against that which “sets itself up against” him.

If you are finding yourself paralyzed by fear and worry, get to know God. I’m not just talking about some kind of prayer and meditation. I’m talking about getting to know him by obeying him as your Creator. The more you choose to live as his Word commands, the more you realize how much he loves you and does not want to see you destroyed. Fear is a natural reaction that is in us because of sin, but getting to know God means having the power on your side that can take captive all sins, fears, and worries. They won’t completely go away until we are made perfect in heaven, but they will be CAPTIVE and you will be FREE instead of the other way around. God has power over you, but he loves you and wants to be on your side. Will you let him?