Summary: Many Christians are harangued by Satan’s exaggerated lies and it produces fear and worry whereas trusting in the victorious God gives courage to act.
The Paralysis of Fear*
Psalm 91 and Rev. 12:7-12
(Responsive reading From Psalm 91 provided at the end of the sermon)
Sermon Objective: Many Christians are harangued by Satan’s exaggerated lies and it produces fear and worry whereas trusting in the victorious God gives courage to act.
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (KJV)
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
7And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. 12Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
During the dark days of World War II the free world was on the edge of panic. Hitler seemed invincible. Through the blitzkrieg technique, he amassed victory after victory.
The blitzkrieg worked—not because the German bombers carried such a great load of potential destruction, nor because, as rumor had it, artillery shells would literally bounce off the German Panzer tanks. The blitzkrieg was effective because it was calculated to strike terror in the hearts of Germany's opponents.
It was a war of nerves. Special equipment had been attached to the otherwise slow Stuka dive-bombers to produce a bone-chilling shriek as they dropped from the clouds. Similar whistles were also attached to the bombs themselves. Upon hearing that sound, potential victims would tend to freeze rather than run for cover. Hitler's armies hit hard and fast in the most vulnerable and visible places, and the press was always on hand with movie cameras to show the disheartened prisoners, the decaying dead and the jovial, victorious Nazi legions.
As reassurance in the face of that demoralizing psychological warfare, a statement by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was quoted time and again. In his inaugural address in 1933 he had said, "…first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed effort to convert retreat into advance." That simple insight, which surely helped the Allies through the dark days of World War II, applies equally to the spiritual warfare of the Christian life.
Hitler might have learned the blitzkrieg technique from Satan himself. That's just the way Satan attacks God's people. He demoralizes us. He shows his hideous strength, our horrible inadequacies, and makes himself appear invincible. The Scriptures call Satan "the father of lies." He is the originator of the proverbial "snow job." His tactic is to produce a storm of lies that buries us to the neck in a drift of freezing fear. The flecks of fear fly in our faces and become flakes of worry. Quickly they pile up until we find ourselves immobilized in the blizzard. We are too paralyzed with fear to realize that it is all a cold mirage. We do not see that the storms of anxiety are illusions projected on the screens of our minds by the adversary to keep us from standing and acting on our foundation of faith.