My greatest fear, as long as I can remember, is a roach. They are disgusting, vile, and will forever hold a place of disdain in my heart. And as terrible as they are, I cannot kill them, because somehow the sound of killing them is far worse to me than letting them scurry off into the dark. Obviously, God is still working this fear out of me.
At seven and a half months pregnant, my husband went away on a work trip. Over the course of one weekend I encountered and killed (for the first time ever) three roaches. The first one took me two hours of throwing things, spraying chemicals, jumping up on furniture, and crying my eyes out. With the second, I luckily had the broom nearby, which I used as a jousting stick to quickly remedy the situation. The third roach was the worst.
As I watched it crawl towards me, I was immediately paralyzed with fear. But then I realized something: I had killed two other roaches already. This one was bigger and closer, but still, I was much bigger. I was greater! So with the courage of a mighty warrior and the ferocity of a pregnant mama bear, I grabbed one of my husband’s largest, heaviest shoes and smashed this roach until I was sure it was obliterated.
Roaches are the worst, but the more I think about how terrible roaches are, the more I am reminded of a truly more terrifying villain.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NIV
Like roaches, our enemy lurks in the darkness. He runs along the edges of our lives looking for a way — a single open crack — into our hearts. He knows once he’s in he can hide unnoticed until we are so comfortable with ourselves that we are shocked of his presence. And when he leaves, scampering back to the darkness like the sly gremlin he is, we are left in the wreckage — terrorized, vulnerable, and with a fresh awareness of the dirt in our lives that made him feel welcomed to begin with.
You might think this is a silly analogy — and it is meant to be — but in no way should we downplay the reality of this spiritual fight we are in. We cannot underestimate the devious nature of our spiritual opponent. He does not play by rules; he holds no ethics or moral compass. However, as awful as he is, we are commanded to not be afraid.
The best scripture to summarize this is John 10:10, which says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” You see, despite having a truly heinous enemy, we have an even more amazing God. He calls us out of our fear and into the fullness of the life He gives.
Our enemy will lurk in the shadows and make himself known at the most inopportune times. If we aren’t careful to walk in the example of Christ and rebuke the enemy and his schemes, then we may be tempted to let him stay in the shadows of our lives.
When we let him have a seat at our table, we gradually lose our ability to defend ourselves against his lies — not because we don’t have the authority to combat them, but because we don’t exercise the authority given to us by Christ. We have to regularly exercise the gifts and tools God has given us to rebuke the enemy and to keep fear from ruling our lives. God has given us abundant life so that when darkness creeps toward us, we don’t have to cower. We can stand tall, find a holy shoe (a.k.a. scripture from the Word), and, like Jesus, smash the lies as they come.
God doesn’t expect us to live without fear, but rather live for Him despite our fears. There will always be “roaches,” but when our power comes from the undefeatable cross, we can overcome any fear. God invites us to be encouraged and empowered by His love so that we can squash our fears and step into the Light, where all fear must flee.
Elle was raised in Mobile, Alabama, where she met and married her husband, Hayden. Since becoming a full-time mom to their little boy, Ethan, God has grown in her a burden for women, especially moms. Elle loves using her spiritual gifts to encourage other women, particularly in a spiritual setting.