Mending the Body of Christ Behind Prison Walls

Lesson Five

The Spirit of Fear Part 1

The power that binds most prisoners is the spirit of fear. It is the power behind most of the struggles the Body of Christ has in prison as well. We can trust that "... God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7).

This spirit comes from the world, the flesh and the devil and can quench the Holy Spirit. It is a work of the flesh in the Body of Christ through self ambition and exaltation. This spirit rules the life of the unbeliever, but the same spirit influences many believers. The most common name for it is pride.

The believer who walks in the flesh has not put to death the old man with his deeds (Colossians 3:5-9). The remaining residue of their old fallen nature must be put off, as the new man is put on through experiencing the love of God (Colossians 3:10-14).

The child of God bound by this spirit must be corrected in love. They should be confronted, but with a lot of wisdom. They earn acceptance through their "good works," so this can be a time of crushing for them. They may become extremely angry when their works are not accepted as being from God.

The root of most anger is fear. When a person's behavior is confronted, it is always the fault of everyone else. He is blind to the trail of damaged relationships in his life. He has angrily plowed through life for so long, that he can believe it to be normal, even righteous behavior. He knows it all and is always right and everyone else is wrong. We can't fix this person. Only the Lord can deal with their heart and open their eyes to this bondage. They will need to be honest about their anger and its roots, so they can repent and be freed.

This spirit of fear is not hard to recognize, because it acts contrary to love. It is impatient and lacks brotherly kindness. It is insecure. It is boastful or parades itself and is puffed up with pride. The fruit of the Spirit is missing, but it does quite well on its own. It does everything to feel loved and it seeks perfection. It becomes depressed when it does not succeed. It is the power behind a person who falls into sexual sin for fulfillment, not seeing that only God's love can fulfill their need. It is very difficult for a person influenced by this spirit to yield to the power of love.

If a person isn't experiencing God's love, they can be easily deceived by this spirit of fear. It lures others through deception, since there seems to be so much potential in these works of the flesh. It can form joints where members of the Body of Christ are deceived into functioning together in a ministry spirit. They form a strong bond to hold the joint in place, even under intense pressure, but it is a bond of iniquity. This can take over a legitimate group in the congregation and gain control over a certain part of a ministry. In time, it can end up controlling everyone in the congregation. The congregation can loose many members as a result.

Those who are spiritual eventually see that this group has become secretive. The one in control can lay down his rules under the authority of the pastor or chaplain. A strong identity is formed, sometimes even given a name, but not everyone in the group is always deceived. As problems begin to come out from the spiritual discontents; the pastor or chaplain must step in to make firm correction with love and wisdom. If this is not done, the congregation can suffer even more.

The person who is overcome by this spirit is always afraid of losing control, since he is not experiencing the love of God. The more he seems to be losing control, the more he steps up to take control. He could be afraid of losing his job or his position in ministry, which he has gained through manipulation. He expresses his fear and anger by focusing on those whom he feels are responsible for his problems. He sees himself as perfect, so he blames his ministry team, rather than accepting responsibly for his actions. Those he should be empowering to love end up being subjected to his fear and anger. Whereas, the person experiencing God's love, always trusts the Lord to be in control of all things.

This spirit of fear is the power behind the world system. Many who get saved, bring the world into the Body of Christ. In the early church, Simon, a sorcerer, got saved in Samaria. He saw the great power of the Holy Spirit and tried to buy the gifts rather than just receive them freely. The Apostle Peter dealt with this problem very quickly after easily discerning it. Peter said to Simon: "Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity." Simon appears to have repented, saying, "Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me" (Acts 8:14-25).