I love the idea of being totally fearless, a kind of adrenaline junkie Bear Grylls type. Of being that person who sits calmly as a their South American tourist bus jerks awkwardly round a bend, scraping past the screeching truck that comes rattling towards them on the wrong side of the road.
Or the person who sits back comfortably into their airline chair, sipping their mineral water and peacefully turning the pages of their newspaper, as their plane dips, turns and lurches into unexpected midnight turbulence.
I wouldn't say I am a particularly fearful person, yet in both of the above cases, I put my hands in the air and say that I'd be the person squealing, with my knuckles white and purple clenched around the metal pole on the bus, or held right around the plastic arm rest, breathless gasps swallowed as I travel alone on the plane, suffering in my own silence.
This verse springs to mind: 'For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.' (2 Timothy chapter 1, verse 7)
Yet it isn't in the natural that the real quirks of our characters might come through. Personally, I have an unreasonable and irrational fear of cockroaches. I also admit that sometimes out surfing, I'll get smashed by a wave and on the next one I'll be slightly less tenacious. Just as long as these normal 'fears' are no more than that and they don't stop us from pursuing a Godly path for our lives.
My concern is the gripping fear that the concept of spiritual warfare can have on us as Christians who accept that God has already won the battle for our lives. We don't go into the fight with barred teeth and a raised sword, but instead we go in tentatively. When it's slightly more challenging than we expected, we allow the spiritual battle to win in that area of our lives—so often we are only prepared for the half fight.
So many of our ingrained fears about ourselves and life—further than feeling squeamish about snakes and spiders – are because we have agreed with the fear and in that, we have agreed with statements that are not of God and have let spiritual forces (that try to control us) into our lives.
We might attend church, pray regularly and do all the usual Christian things we know we need to do – but we never actually face the fear that cripples us inside, a way that demonic forces control so much of us.
Many of us know there are parts of ourselves that are a work in progress—hence many Christians decide to do courses such as cleansing streams or living waters. And I'm sure some will address the issues and pray through the fear that cloaks the participants.
Another verse: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (John chapter 16, verse 33)
Yet many us of aren't aware of agreement to fear and the battles around us for our lives each day and we continue living with the apathy to the spiritual world that the modern world has adopted. Although Christ has promised the overall victory – it's still essential that we live like the war rages for the lives of others and Satan schemes to make us forget through our fear that he desires us to live outside the promised freedom.
For example, the more I see Christians around me engage in activities and journey's that are God focused and pursue a desire to glorify God, instead of receiving the blessing straight away, often their relationships are knocked down, their health is tested and each day becomes increasingly harder.
I don't believe that God always uses these testing sessions to refine us—we have a choice instead to pray off spiritual attack in these hard times and press on through. When we are living half-hearted Christian lives, the devil so often doesn't bother with us—but the attack comes when we are pursuing what God has designed for us individually and communally. And the danger can be at that half-way point—living strong and then being overwhelmed by fear which overtakes our courage and strength to pursue God's plans and purposes for us.
And another: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 11)
As I write this just before Easter, it's always on our minds that God won the battle for our lives on that Easter Monday when he came back from the dead. We know that the overall battle has been won for us.
However, in the minutiae of life we don't always live like God has won the battle. We are in concordance with the fact we are not good enough, strong enough, rich enough, poor enough, holy enough, clever enough. We let in a spirit of fear about being inadequate or a spirit of depression or witchcraft—and we decide to let it simmer rather than confronting it straight on.
We of course might not be the original door to the spirit—the spirit of control that is held through witchcraft may have come through generations. Or the spirit of control, fear or disbelief may have come upon us through a family history of freemasonry—again, not a personal choice but a heritage passed down.
But the fear is not acting on it or choosing to take a different path. Not giving into the control that is has over us. Believing that we don't really need it because we are fearful of what we will look like without it—we won't admit it has a stronghold on us. And fighting the fear means making a change and working through what we need to.
A final verse: "The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe." (Proverbs chapter 18, verse 10)
And this controlling fear means that we are not calling on the name of the Lord in the way that God tells us we can. We need to break down the strongholds of the battle for our lives by first accepting there is a war waged for us – and continuing to press on through and fight that battle when things get difficult.
So although I might still be the white-knuckled transatlantic flyer and west coast surfer getting dumped in the waves, I want to know that I am working towards ridding myself of spiritual fear and instead walking into freedom.
I won't waste my time working through a fear of flying or small shiny insects—but instead working through strongholds of fear that try to control and shape my life.
Amanda Robinson is originally from The Lake District in the UK, Amanda worked in Publishing in London and Auckland and is passionate about seeing Christians bring salt and light into the media, arts and creative industries. She's currently spending a six month sabbatical in the mountains of Mammoth Lakes in California, skiing, adventuring and writing.
Amanda Robinson's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/amanda-robinson.html