as long as we stay in hiding, fear continues to win
Read Galatians 2:11-14
In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis uses a fictional satire to imagine how Satan schemes, undermines the faith, and promotes sin. In this book, Screwtape says, “There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy (God). God wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.” There is no mention of Satan working in Antioch, but his influence is notable. With one sniff of fear, Satan was at work in keeping Cephas focused on himself and afraid of what might happen to him.
Satan delights in causing confusion and disorder between Christian brothers and sisters and infecting the testimony of Jesus amongst onlookers, and he’ll use whatever open doors we give him. Fear may be one of his best tactics. C.S. Lewis goes on to imagine Satan saying, “It is far better to make them live in the future… it is unknown to them, so that making them think about it we make them think of unrealities…” Fear does just that – it causes us to act according to ideas that are not real. If Satan can take our ideas and convince us they are real when they are not, he’s done his job. This is where he leaves us stuck running around in anxiety.
Cephas’ ideas about what might happen to him began to control his every move. He was increasingly worried about what other people might think of him and what they might do when they found out about his behavior – so much so he draws back and separates himself from his community. This is what fear does. It paralyzes us from forward movement and makes us want to run and hide. But as long as we stay in hiding, fear continues to win. And when fears wins, Satan wins. We must recognize he takes pleasure in seeing us flounder in our faith, become paralyzed by fear, and live enslaved by unrealities.
Fear makes us want to stay in the dark, but love gives us courage to come out from hiding. The lyrics of No Longer Slaves say, “From my mother’s womb / You have chosen me / Love has called my name / I’ve been born again / Into your family / Your blood flows through my veins // I’m no longer a slave to fear/I am a child of God.” Praise God for some of the ways you’ve experienced his love.
By Yvonne Biel