After listening to a great sermon on God's "Agape" love casting out fear, which you can view and listen to here: River Church // 3385 - Fear vs. Love I was inspired to write my own testimony of overcoming fear.
I used to fear, and I thought in order to overcome my fear I would have to do it myself, or just face the fear.....boy was I wrong (THANKFULLY!!) My deliverer faced my fear for me and brought me out of the muck, the terrifying and crippling cage. So glad Jesus is still my deliverer, every day, He is my savior.
I used to live in a cage of fear, I am a stay at home mom and I would worry every day that someone would come to my house while my husband was gone and hurt me and my kids. When someone was at the door I would cringe EVERY TIME! I used to think that someone would break in, in the middle of the night as I would lie awake listening for the noise of glass breaking from a killer entering my home. I used to fear that if I shared my faith I would get made fun of, lose friends, be thought of as a "Jesus Freak-o". That I would get persecuted for my beliefs and be a loser. I USED TO FEAR those things.
Peter had his fears, as the pastor shared in the sermon, but he mentioned something that happened to him in the beginning of Acts that changed him. The gift of of God was poured into his heart and he was filled (Strongs concordance defines it as "filled to the max capacity") with the breath of God. When He was overwhelmed with His presence, He immediately was bold in His faith and life. What a transformation!! It only took one encounter with God.
I became a believer at the age of 16, confessed Jesus as my Lord and recieved forgiveness of my sins and always had the Holy Spirit (for we are sealed with him the moment we become believers) leading me, guiding me into all truth....but those fears were still there. I loved Jesus as much as I could in my own strength, served Him and every once in a while I would share with somebody my faith, if they asked. Or I would plug a little "Well praise God" in a sentence here and there, thinking I had done my duty. God was my God, Jesus was my king, but quietly and personally at home and around my friends.
Back in the Fall I was praying to God, asking Him to pour his Spirit, His breath of life into me afresh, like Casting Crowns sings about in Spirit Wind. I was yearning for the breath of God to consume me and make me a mighty soldier of God, like Ezekiel talked about in Ezekiel 37:9-10 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army." I believed that God would send His Holy Spirit, that stream of living water, to fill my soul with the life of God, into any crack and crevice that lacked peace because Luke 11:13 says "how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" and I take Him at His word.
That night I was forever changed. I was overwhelmed by the Spirit of the Living God in a way I had never been before. His presence was so real I could touch it. Overnight the fear was GONE! It was truly amazing, and no act I could have ever done on my own. "One moment with the King, one time changes everything!" - Aaron Crider. God's agape love was poured into my heart and it kicked fear out. The cage was gone, and that night I received a Spirit of love, power and sound mind afresh (2 Tim 1:7).
I noticed I started witnessing about the Love of God, wanting everyone to know How real He is and how powerful His love is. God's perfect love began protecting me. I was no longer striving to love Jesus as much as "I" could, I began loving God and all those around me in His strength. Words can't describe how incredible it was to witness God coming through in His power and overcoming every area I was weak in. No wonder Paul said "when I am weak then I am strong." Where I am weak, the strength of Christ can shine through, I am just a vessel, to be used of Him, By Him, For Him.
I then came across the verse Romans 5:5 "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." The word for Love in this verse is "Agape" which the pastor in the sermon above mentioned. Agape Love, is the Love of God. I know that as believers begin receiving the Love of the Father, being filled with His Love, as they learn how much he truly does love us, we will begin to pour that same love that we have received into others. "We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19
So I encourage you, if you are fearful of anything, struggle with anxiety, crippled by worry, there is hope of deliverance. Jesus delights in being a savior! Ask God to pour his love into your heart afresh through His Holy Spirit. He wants to set you free from your cage of fear, sometimes all we need to do is ask. "It is for freedom Christ has set us free." Galatians 5:1a Take it from someone who has been there, don't try to face this alone, God wants to be your strength, but He will not violate your free will. Just ask, you won't be sorry!!