Most religions promote fear of the devil. But what you fear is what you worship. If you are afraid of the devil, he need only say, "X is evil!" and you will run from X. Obviously, he is going to make sure that what you run away from is exactly what you need to face.
The devil uses this strategy to frighten people every time God tries to speak. Notice how the first thing God must say is always, "Fear not!" Until you can overcome your panic when God speaks, you will never hear the rest of what he has to say.
By using this scare technique, Satan has more control over religious people than he has over atheists.
"Perfect love casts out all fear." (I John 4:18) To conquer fear, remember that it is impossible for the devil to permanently deceive anyone who has chosen to serve God above all else. (Matthew 24:24, II Thessalon-ians 5:4-5) Remember too, that a wise, loving, all-powerful God controls the universe... including the forces of evil. We need to be constantly reminded of this in order to overcome fear.
Satan is God's puppet. He is like a sparring partner for God's children, toughening us up. He has no power at all against us unless God chooses to give it to him. (Job 1:8-12)
Evil is very real and very awful, but we need only ask to be possessed by God's Spirit, and we will have his protection (Luke 11:13). But this, too, frightens people, so that they will often not ask God to possess them, for fear that they will be possessed by an evil spirit instead. (Luke 11:12)
"God has not given us the spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (II Timothy 1:7) Religion thrives on fear. But Christianity operates on faith. One is the antithesis of the other.
Martin Luther had many enemies. Some were prepared to kill him. One night he heard noises in his room. He lit a candle and checked to see if the doors were locked. As he turned, he saw the devil himself seated in a chair with a wicked smile on his face...
"Oh, it's only you," said Luther, who blew out the candle and returned to bed.
While physical enemies may need physical restraints, the only weapon against a spiritual opponent is a refusal to let fear enter your thoughts. Martin Luther knew that, and it is how he overcame the devil.
An elephant and a mouse walked together across a bridge. As they walked, the bridge shook from the weight. Fish dove deeper into the water and nearby animals raced for cover.
When they reached the other side, the mouse grinned up at the elephant: "Boy! We sure shook that bridge, didn't we?" he said.
When you are walking hand in hand with the Lord of the universe, you have nothing to fear. "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me!" (Philippians 4:13)
The devil and darkness have much in common. They both strike fear into the hearts of people the world over. But turn on the Light and they both disappear... almost as though they never existed!
(See also Fear Not!)
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