Over the last two years the level of fear in our world, and our own nation has jumped significantly. Apart from the normal daily fears that besiege humanity in a world under the curse of sin there are several new and/or heightened fears in our lives.
Here’s a list of increased fear-factors in our world:
A. Fear of world-wide plague.
B. Fear of not knowing where it came from, why it’s here, how to respond to its presence.
C. Fear of not being able to avoid its troubling and destructive effects.
D. Fear of social disorder.
E. Fear of injustice.
F. Fear of nefarious forces purposefully creating chaos in our nation.
G. Fear of the “greater evil” that leads us to cut deals with “lesser evil”.
H. Fear that we cannot see or predict the Father’s narrative clearly.
I. Fear of disunity in the body of Christ.
J. Fear of nefarious forces subterfuging our democratic order.
K. Fear of ceding ground/liberty/narrative to a world antiChrist system.
L. Fear of severe economic destabilization.
A couple of observations about these fear-factors:
1. These fear-factors have put increased pressure on our soul, our relationships, and our relationship with God. (This can be a good thing.)
2. Some of these fear-factors have specifically been released by God. Others are the result of our own small faith response to other fear factors.
3. The Lord isn’t necessarily interested in removing the fear-factors and the fear that they engender as He is in building a tower of strength in our minds and hearts (individually and collectively) that will be stronger than the “fear that’s on every side of us”.
4. The fear-factors on the earth are only going to increase in the days and years ahead. The “thlipsis” (greek for “trouble”) must come to the earth as the Lord transitions us from this present evil age to the age of the Lord’s reign. It must. There is no other way. Any other escape scenario is a fantasy. If we want to be faithful and “made ready” (filled with first-commandment love and the beatitudes of the heart) for the return of our Bridegroom King we will experience increased “trouble” AND, by inference, increased circumstances that will heighten “fear” all around us.
“We must, through much tribulation, enter into the Kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)
5. The Lord is actually using the increased “trouble” (even fear) to align our hearts and minds to His way of thinking, relating and living. This is the theme of Psalm 27. This is why both “trouble” and “strength” are such prominent themes in this chapter. Here’s a link to a teaching we’ve been drawing on re: Psalm 27 over the last two years.
Side note: After intimately teaching and praying this Psalm for more than 24 months now here are 4 important, premise/conclusions I’ve come to:
a.) There is more trouble/fear arrayed against us than we’ve acknowledged.
b.) We’ve overestimated our ability to “handle” the little trouble/fear that we do see.
c.) We see the trouble/fear in our world imperfectly. (This is why we need “the Lord to be our light” [Psalm 27:1])
d.) The Lord has far far more emotional, relational and strength of soul for us to appropriate in our lives than we have yet seen (This goes for ALL of us.)
6. The Lord Himself is the “strength” that He wants “increased” in our lives. The manifestation of Who He is is the strength that will prevail against the “fear on every side”. He Himself is meant to be our strong tower (Psalm 18:10) and the stronghold (Psalm 18:2).
7. Existential truth needs to become experienced truth. The Lord wants to build sufficient, holy fortresses in our heart and mind that have the ability to “take every fearful and dissuading thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5) to the truth of His glory. These are the “thoughts” that will prevail against the daily onslaught of fear-factors that are increasing in our world. These thoughts and visions will not magically manifest themselves in our attitudes and ways. They must be cultivated through lifestyles built on DOING Psalm 27:4. “One thing”.
There are many reasons for this. The most prominent reason is that the strength that we will need from the Lord in the coming seasons is a strength that can only come from having a history of intimately dialoguing with the Lord in the context of mounting trouble and fear. Before David could come against Goliath, he learned that the Lord was gloriously “with him to be strong” against the lion and the bear.
This is why it is so essential for the body of Christ to emphasize, learn (yes learn) and become “households of prayer” in this hour.
In an hour when fear on every side threatens to capture our hearts and minds the Lord is saying, “Let Me strengthen you with superior revelations of Myself – the awesome and mighty One.”
In Jeremiah 20 a man that the Lord renames “Magor-Missabib” (Hebrew: “Fear on every side”) captures and imprisons the prophet of God. But the Lord quickly brings Jeremiah out of the chains and then strengthens him to prophesy against “Fear on every side”.
It is certainly true that “Fear on every side” is no match for the Lord and the Word of the Lord.
If we look at Jeremiah’s life as an allegory, we can identify with the fact that there are many many “Magor-Missabibs” in this hour that want to bind up the prophetic people of the Lord.
I believe the Lord is speaking 3 things to those who’ve chosen to walk in His prophetic purposes. Just as He does to Jeremiah, the Lord wants to strengthen us in the context of whatever level of fear it is that surrounds us.
The Lord says to His people:
1. Although the fear-filled opposition arrayed against you (Jeremiah 20:7-9) has made you want to withhold the testimony that I have made you to be for this hour, I am intensifying My Words in you. I am refining them through an eternal fire in your bones, so that you have prevailing power to be My witnesses to your generation. I am not removing the fear from all around you. I’m giving you something much greater than the fear. I’m giving you My own Word – which is greater than the sum of all fears – to speak in the middle of the fear. My Word doesn’t remove the fear. It displays My superior strength and increases your strength to stand through an hour of increasing fear on the earth. (Can you see the difference beloved?)
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One Who is (by His Word) able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
2. As great as the calamity is all around you: COVID, threat of national collapse, anarchy, loss of civility, loss of freedoms and rights, loss of righteous order, vulnerability to evil forces etc. it is not My intent to remove these evils from your midst. It is My intent to give you a vision of Myself that is, in all respects, superior to the evils in your midst. What you mostly have need of is not “liberty from the evil” but “an increased understanding of Who I Am in the midst of an evil generation”. Give yourselves to the increase of these revelations; in prayer and long hours of meditation; and beholding Me. Establish a lifestyle of cultivating the revelations of My superior strength. Do it now so that you don’t suddenly have to attempt to do something abnormal to your lifestyle in the midst of great and terrible realities.
“For I heard many mocking: ‘Fear on every side!’ But the Lord is as a mighty, awesome One. The persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed. They will not prosper. Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord! For His power to deliver is greater than the hand of evildoers.” (Jeremiah 20:11 and 13)
3. I am judging you; testing you; refining you; and tempering you for your increased strength now, and for the future of what is coming.
“The Lord of hosts, You test the righteous, and see the mind and heart.” (Jeremiah 20:12)
Both your heart AND your mind have great need of being strengthened. This will not happen in a less “threatening” context. The gold I am producing in you must go through fire.
(See Revelation 3:18 and Hebrews 12:29)
I am strengthening you with My Son for my Son, so that you stand with Him in His might as His like-minded and like-hearted Bride. You are being brought from strength to strength as I perpetually bring you to weakness. It’s essential that you deeply give yourself to this process. Saturate your mind and your heart with visions and understanding of the prevailing grace and strength of My Son. Do not allow “fear on every side” to capture your hearts or minds by anything that will overtake your focus on My Son. Again, I say “This is vital” for you to stand in the hour that’s coming.
JSB • November, 2021