Your Fear is a Spiritual Struggle
by Wayne Stiles
We fear what we think may happen in the world we see.
But the world we don’t see is the source of our real fears. Our spiritual lives hold the solution to it.
That’s what happened with Jacob.
Returning to the land of Canaan forced Jacob to face a problem he had run from 20 years earlier—his deception of his brother Esau. As he approached the border of Canaan, angels of God came to meet him.
The presence of the angels gives us a critical reminder during our times of fear.
This is God’s Camp
The phrase “angels of God” appears only twice in the whole Old Testament: earlier at Bethel when Jacob left the land, and here, as he returned.
After seeing the angelic beings, Jacob named the place Mahanaim, saying, “This is God’s camp” (see Genesis 32:1-10).
The names Jacob gave the two sites reflected the momentous connection between them.
- Bethel means “House of God.”
- Mahanaim probably best means “God’s camp.”
When Jacob learned that Esau was approaching with an army of 400 men, Jacob did what every believer should do in a time of fear—he prayed. And prayed hard!
No one prays for anything who has not been deeply alarmed.—Martin Luther (Tweet that.)
4 Reminders about Fear and Spiritual Struggle
The angels of God who appeared at critical moments in Jacob’s life offer us 4 critical reminders about our fears:
- In spite of what we see, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12). We face a spiritual struggle today, not merely a physical one.
- We must fight our spiritual struggle on the spiritual level—with prayer and dependence on God—and not with our own wits or wealth.
- The event at Mahanaim reveals that God’s presence is with us long before our spiritual struggle arrives.
- God is willing to give spiritual victory in our physical lives when we bow before Him in weakness.
As we face our fears each day, we can know in faith: “This is God’s camp.” The real struggle in our hearts is a spiritual struggle.
It really all comes down to this: will we trust that God is with us and is Lord of all? Or will we panic and try to seize control ourselves?
Praying God’s promises is our best weapon against fear—and our best defense. (Tweet that.)
Question: What helps you remember that what you see is not all there is to reality? Please leave a comment.
Adapted from Wayne Stiles, Going Places with God: A Devotional Journey Through the Lands of the Bible (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2006), page 41. Used by permission.