War, Witches and Panic

17 08 2010

Wars, witches, and panic attacks are the substance of 1 Samuel 28.  King Saul is a study in fear.  Faced with withering support and a ferocious enemy, Saul is wholly unprepared for the challenges of life that God has put before him. And in this chapter, Saul is overwhelmed by the impending battle with the Philistines.  Saul succumbs to fear, and fear has power.

“When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly.” (vs. 5) Saul is a beaten man before he’s entered the battlefield. Let’s look at the process of paralyzing fear in Saul’s life, and the confusing questions that are created:

vs. 6  Because of his fear, Saul can’t hear from God even when he prays.  (Where is God in my life?)

Vs. 7  Because of his fear, Saul compromises his convictions and morals and seeks out a witch.  (What do I believe anymore?)

Vs. 8  Because of fear, Saul loses his sense of identity and “disguises himself.”  (Who am I anyway?)

Vs. 16-18 Because of fear, Saul can no longer listen to sound advice and wisdom.  (No one understand me?)

Vs. 20 Because of fear, Saul is overtaken by a panic attack and collapses.  (Am I losing my mind?)

Vs. 21-22  Because of fear, Saul is broken down physically and unable to sleep or eat.   (What is happening to my body?)

Vs. 23-25 Because of fear, Saul can no longer lead with strategy and clear thinking.  (What do I do next?)

If you have asked such questions, then you just might understand the power of fear.  Fear has power. Fear combined with worry can have a paralytic power.  Satan uses fear to create panic and confusion in our mind.  Fear not only affects our mind, but also our body and spirit in ways that can shut down the flow of our physical and spiritual antibodies.

Sick of Fear

Have you ever been sick of fear?  You probably have.  In a landmark study entitled “Who Gets Sick: How Beliefs, Moods and Thoughts Affect Health,” Dr. Blair Justice found that a life based in fear and worry was one of the most common denominators of those people who contracted cancer.  Fear could be traced closely to all forms of cardio vascular disease as well as many other physio psychological ailments.  The study found that fear has a paralyzing impact on our natural abilities to cope with life.

Undealt with fear has the potential to immobilize our physical immune system, thus creating a domino effect that can bring with it panic attacks, disease, and despair.  This is exactly what happens to Saul.  We read in our passage, “Then Saul fell at once full length on the ground, filled with fear…” (vs. 20)  The panic attack that Saul is experiencing continues and eventually leads to a loss of all appetite and an inability to sleep (vss 21-23).  Fear has power.

Attacked in L.A.

Ten years ago I fell under the power of fear and was shrouded with an anxiety attack.  I was enveloped with a blanket of claustrophobia that left me in a fetal position in a California hotel.  I was emotionally paralyzed, wept uncontrollably, and experienced insomnia.  The sense of foreboding, depression, and distress that followed took all my efforts, prayer, and seeking of God’s power to overcome.

As I sought wise counsel, at times fasted and prayed, and talked to several doctor friends, I realized that if I was going to live a healthy rest of my life, I needed to seriously reevaluate my lifestyle.  In due course this led to a new set of daily habits that included exercise, more laughter, and a deeper relationship with Jesus and people.

Created for Intimacy

You can break the cycle of fear.  But you will have to get off the anxiety merry-go-round and seriously reassess your lifestyle.  I did almost ten years ago and it’s made all the difference in my world.

I believe the heart of every human being was formed for intimacy.  Intimacy with God, made known through Jesus, and intimacy with people is the key to peace.  This is why when Jesus was challenged by religious leaders as to which Law was the greatest, responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the prophets.” (Matt 22:37-40)  Love is the strongest form of intimacy.  Jesus is commanding us to love Him with every ounce of our spiritual, emotional, and physical energy, and then, as a result to love people with equal passion and zeal.

I believe that a deep growing maturing friendship with Jesus releases spiritual antibodies that strengthen our immune system.  Intimacy with Jesus brings a new power, the power to break the insidious satanic pressure of fear.   Intimacy with Jesus and people fills up our spiritual and emotional tank.  This then enables us to have the spiritual immune system needed to withstand the many anxious thoughts that we are bombarded with each day.

So, enjoy Jesus today through prayer and Bible study.  Build deep friendships and laugh often.  Exercise is vital.  Surrender your need to be in control and give God your worries.  Don’t hesitate, boldly jump into a new life of faith and peace.  Then, fear will have no power!


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17 08 2010
David Brownlee

Praise God for Jesus’ transforming power (Romans 12:1-3). The mind is powerful, created by God. Never meant to know good and evil. We made the choice, and our minds know good and evil, fear and anxiety, shame and guilt (condemnation). We were not meant to live this way, but rather walking as Jesus did with the Holy Spirit.

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