Understand the Dynamics
Satan is attacking our world on both a personal and global scale right now; there is mounting pressure at both the micro and macro levels. I want to expose the enemy’s plan, which is to bring destabilization through fear, stress, and anxiety. In the days ahead, it will be beneficial to understand these dynamics and make spiritual sense of them.
At the same time, God has given us a message to overcome, and He has provided help for us in His Word. He has gone to great lengths to provide solutions because He loves us. He has presented us with a roadmap to His mind. When we have His mind, we have something that can anchor us. Let us look at a few definitions that God has given us in His Word because they will help us to be overcomers.
Definitions that Help Us
There are stressors, and then there is the actual verb of stressing. The Bible calls stressors “troubles,” and they are the situations that trouble us. We can find a lot of scriptures that talk about troubles. The verb stressing means to worry or be anxious; the Bible calls stressing “taking thought for tomorrow.” When we study this phrase in the original language, it means to be careful or take care, which means to be anxious or have anxiety. There are also a lot of verses in the Old and New Testament that mention taking thought for tomorrow or being anxious.
Another definition of stress is having a conflict or conflicts, but not having the resources to deal with them. Something is troubling us, but we do not immediately have the resources to deal with it. That is why we need God because He is our source.
When Troubles Become Sin
Just because we have troubles does not mean we have sinned. Circumstances may have been thrown at us, but that does not mean we have participated with them. We may be tempted to be dragged into these situations and respond to them, but that does not mean we have become one with them.
When the circumstance or thought becomes something that we participate and agree with and get into anxiety—that is when it becomes sin to us. It is sin when we are consumed by stress or make it our master. When we are driven by worry and take on the action of these thoughts, this is where it becomes sin. This is why it is crucial to understand the difference between stress and a stressor and to separate the two. The Bible exhorts us and provides a way to keep these stresses from becoming sin to us by going into stressing or being anxious. When we sin, we get to repent and turn away.
We are not the Source
If we study the phrase “taking thought,” the root word in the original language means to dis-unite, to divide, or be divided. Divided from what? Our faith! Taking thought means to be divided from our faith and joined to something else. What are we being joined to? A devil or spirit of fear.
Devils are stressors. They talk to us and want us to buy into their natures. Just because we hear them does not mean that we have agreed with them. God said that everyone has a measure of faith, and if we agree with the stressful thought, we are divided from our faith and joined to a spirit of anxiety, fear, or dread. So taking thought means that we are being divided from our faith. We are leaving what God intended for us to enjoy and becoming bound to a spirit of fear.
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3 KJV
Devils may try to drag us down, but the good news is: we are not the source. And if the source is something other than us, we can do something about it. So we are not anxiety, and we are not the enemy! This is very encouraging because it will help us become free in our journey if we can be on a path to allow a solution to come. Our parents, our job, our circumstances, and even our biological makeup are not the source of our anxiety. We can call them troubles, but they are still not the original source. We are separate from the source of anxiety.
Lucifer, the Original Source
So who or what is the original source of anxiety? Lucifer. Isaiah 14 talks about his mindset and what happened before he got kicked out of heaven.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Isaiah 14:12-14 KJV
Lucifer thought he would be able to do wonderful things and be like the most High God. But the conclusion was that he was brought down to hell to the sides of the pit. That was not where he thought he was going. Fear and dread came in after he got kicked out of heaven. And in my opinion, it has never let up since then for however many years it has been. Satan is the most fragmented being of all, on all levels. He agonizes over every moment of his eternal future and the state that he will be in. He has been agonizing for a long time, and the torment is all pent up.
Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. Revelation 12:12 KJV
Satan is the original source of anxiety because it is all stored up in him, and he propagates it down into his kingdom. We, as humans, are just experiencing a tiny fraction of Satan’s original torment. He is the most tormented being ever because of the level of disobedience. But this is exciting because we do not have to continue thinking that it is us, our feelings, or our situations. We can know who to blame and who to glorify so that we can be anchored to the correct things.
Knowing this does not make it any easier, but it should make us want to come away from what he experiences and do something about it. His kingdom is called the Kingdom of Sin. The anxiety we sometimes experience is just the Kingdom of Sin. The spirits who serve Satan are master manipulators. They work in our world and perpetuate a pattern in our lives. They do it repeatedly in every generation, which is our inherited iniquity. But we have options, and we can do something about it.
We have spent some time looking at micro fears—the anxieties, stressors, and troubles that the enemy wants to bring on the individual level. But macro fears, or stressors, are also coming at us on a global scale. In the past few years, there have been plenty of macro stressors. We have seen global health concerns, lack of food, cycles of financial control and collapse, wars, and all other kinds of evil. The news is a stressor, too, because “if it bleeds, it leads.” These are big-picture things that directly affect us, but we have very little ability to impact or stop them. All of these things can create anxieties within us as individuals.
Why is this happening? 2 Timothy gives us the answer. Satan is trying to use evil rulers and seducers. These could be people in different parts of society or political rulers. These could be icons or agendas; they all intend to muster up global fear. We are going to see these things more and more.
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3:13 KJV
Lucifer plans to generate more and more anxiety on the earth because it converts as power to him. Destabilization brings him more control and more power. He is setting up irritation in the world because he is playing the long game with all of this anxiety. It is going to end up in direct worship of him—not out of force, but through deception. If he can create a colossal fear environment on earth through multiple things, he can step in and be the false savior and supposedly alleviate these things. So if he can build up this chaos, he can come in as an angel of light to fix things.
Fear is used as a tool to bring deception. Satan is a complete con man. He wants to undermine, but he is no substitute for the Lord. It is hard to imagine how Satan could deceive us, but Jesus warns us not to be deceived several times. He said it was even possible that the elect could be deceived. Something is coming that will bring on such an intense state of anxiety that deception is possible. This is how rough it will be with all of Satan’s pent-up fear and wrath.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24 KJV
In the coming days, there will be a lot of deception on the earth, and it will be a global sort of occultism. Satan is hoping that everyone, including believers, will turn to him for help. Jesus knew what He was talking about; He warned believers not to be deceived, and the Bible gives us plenty of tools to be overcomers.
Casting Down a Spirit of Fear
2 Timothy says that we have not been given a spirit of fear. This word for fear means cowardice, being timid, and retracting. This is not a full-on phobia or chaos out of control. This is the kind of fear that is constantly checking, always trying to manage or control. Fear in all its forms is bad, and we should resist it. God tells us that it is not from Him and has given us solutions.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
God knows about troubles and stressors, but He’s not going to cohabitate with them— nor should we. We must cast all of our cares upon God because He cares for us. Casting means to throw away, throw it off, get it off us. Cares are the anxieties. We must throw off the anxieties that the devil wants to put on us. This is how we participate with the Lord by not giving in to fear.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 6-8 KJV
More Tools for Overcoming
Proverbs 29 says that fear brings a snare. Fear is a snare, a trap. The enemy is trying to trap us into serving him out of our own will, in deception. So what do we do? We put our trust in the Lord so that we can be safe. This is a change of mindset.
The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25 KJV
There is additional wisdom in Luke 12. This chapter discusses specific areas where a spirit of anxiety may show up: what we eat, what we wear, and what we drink. But being anxious or taking thoughts for our lives does not add anything to our lives. Verse 29 says that we should not be of “doubtful mind;” this means to fluctuate or be anxious.
And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Luke 12:22-31 KJV
The antidote to anxiety is this: seek first the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is what God has prepared for us. If we have anxiety, we should repent and seek the Kingdom of God instead. Is there a particular anxious thing that we have? Which spirit of anxiety do we want to be forgiven of participating with? We get to repent! We can change our minds; this is the option that the Scriptures give us.
The other thing we must do is tell anxiety that it does not rule our life. We can do something about it and gain back what territory or damage the enemy stole. We can be on the offensive side in the Kingdom of God and tell anxiety to go.
Another key is to not go into bitterness against people trying to bring about fear or bringing policies into our lives that we do not enjoy. We should not be surprised; the Scriptures say these people are already here. They are here, and they are growing more. Rather than being bitter against them, we need to pray.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 2: 1 KJV
Instead of being bitter against people we do not like running our lives, we should pray for them.
A Different Response
An example of someone who honored the life of his leader was David. David was anointed as king, but he was still under the authority of King Saul. However, King Saul had an evil spirit, and it caused him to try to kill David. So David was under a lot of pressure, and his life was in jeopardy three times. He could have tried to kill Saul in self-defense, but he did not. He submitted to his leader every time. That is a difficult response, and most of us have never been asked to do something like this.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:1-5 KJV
God is asking us to do the exact opposite of what a spirit of fear is trying to get us to do. When we feel most anxious, we pray and glory in our tribulations.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; Romans 5:3 KJV
He will Bless Us
In conclusion, let us look at Psalm 67 because this is a good insight into the heart and mind behind what God has in store for us when we yield to Him. Here is what happens when we say that anxiety is not going to control us, and instead, do something about it. This is a picture of not serving Lucifer’s nature and the original torment he projected onto us.
God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him. Psalm 67:107 KJV
I leave you with these thoughts on what God says when we choose His ways: He shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him. We need to respect the Lord and separate ourselves from the things that have joined us to create an inordinate fear about the things that are just created anyway. We serve the God who has made heaven and earth.
Pastor John Shales
This message comes from a session of our Finding Hope in a World Full of Fear, Conflict, and Viruses Conference, which was filmed in August 2022 and can still be found on YouTube.
If you would like to read more:
How to Overcome Fear, Stress, and Anxiety: https://www.beinhealth.com/fear-of-the-future-and-dread/
Overcoming fear, which brought healing: https://www.beinhealth.com/delivered-from-fear/