We will be meeting tonight in the barn at 7pm. We will have a great discussion about fear and courage.
I've recently completely reading and listening to Outwitting The Devil by Napoleon Hill. It is an incredible book where Hill himself interviews the Devil.
Fear is a spiritual force that seems to dominate many individuals' lives. Courageous men live between fear and recklessness. Cowards are debilitated by excessive fear, especially of things that shouldn't be feared. Reckless men take unnecessary risks with excessive confidence in the face of danger. The courageous man, however, strikes a balance between irrational fear and foolhardy recklessness. The courageous man fears that which should be feared, but he endures his fear with confidence for the right reason. That right reason is faith, honor, and nobility.
There are at least two kinds of fear mentioned in the Bible. The first kind of fear is the fear of the Lord, which is healthy and to be encouraged. The second kind of fear the Bible talks about is a "spirit of fear" (see 2 Timothy 1:7), which is a hindrance to our life and walk with God.
Once we have learned to put our trust in God, we will no longer be afraid of the things that come against us. We will be like the psalmist who said with confidence “…let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you” (Psalm 5:11). To live in our faith without fear, we must train to "outwit the devil".
As we know, faith is spiritual and not physical or worldly. Hill points out that our entire lives are built on faith and or fear, good vs evil. Fear is the evil thoughts we face in our minds. The (spiritual) Devil's goal is to make all humans aimless drifters and if we're not careful, he quickly succeeds. To attain mental, spiritual, and physical freedom, we must follow seven principles and escape the devil’s grasp. Whether you take the devil as a literal figure, an invisible force (spiritual), or merely the antics of our mind, the negative forces of evil and fear deprive us of our God given freedom and potential to prosper using God's gifts and talents he gave us. Our lack of multiplying God's talents is due to fear put in our minds by the Devil.
Lesson 1: You spend your entire life operating from either fear or faith.
Going into Hill's fascinating interview with evil incarnate (Your Majesty), Hill already knew one of the primary tools in the devil’s belt: fear. A few years earlier, Hill had received a death threat. He ended up hiding with relatives for over a year, paralyzed. One night, he finally went outside and found what Carnegie had told him about years before:
“You will discover that the cause of success is not something separate and apart from the man; that it is a force so intangible in nature that the majority of men never recognize it; a force which might be properly called the ‘other self.’”
The 'other self' told Hill to stop giving in to fear and doubt and finally finish his philosophy of achievement, which he did. When we’re listening to our other self, we have faith in ourselves. We don’t give in to doubt and fear that holds us back. This is the only way to properly operate in life.
However, this ‘other self’ is exactly what the devil tries to undermine at every turn of our lives. He does so by dividing mankind into drifters and non-drifters.
Lesson 2: The devil seeks to make us permanent drifters, never getting around to what we’re meant to do in life.
Once he starts drilling the devil for the most common fears he uses against man, Hill quickly finds he has even cleverer ways of ruining us. The devil claims to first invade our minds with “the principle of habit” in order to then establish “the habit of drifting.”
Here’s what drifting is, straight from the horse’s mouth:
“I can best define the word “drift” by saying that people who think for themselves never drift, while those who do little or no thinking for themselves are drifters.”
A drifter is the antithesis of a Stoic. Drifters let themselves be tossed around in life and allow externals to dominate their minds. They go nowhere because they’re not using their brains to think.
Later in the book, Hill explains how drifting eventually turns into a “hypnotic rhythm,” which keeps people busy with trivialities, and over time, drifting becomes permanent.
Unless we outwit the devil, that is.
Lesson 3: There are seven principles which help us gain mental, spiritual, and physical freedom.
After he forced the devil to reveal every dirty trick in his book, Hill finally goes about asking the master of evil for the ways in which we can combat his dire forces. He reveals seven principles humans should follow to find freedom in all walks of life:
- Definiteness of purpose. Choose a purpose, a grand aspiration, a big goal, and move towards it relentlessly.
- Mastery over self. Discipline equals freedom. If you’re driven by impulse all your life, you’ll go nowhere, like a drifter.
- Learning from adversity. Failures are just failures. Whether we learn from them or let them stop us is up to us.
- Controlling environmental influence. Who you hang out with matters. What your room looks like matters.
- Time. Time can make drifting and negativity permanent. But it can also make positivity and wisdom permanent.
- Harmony. In order for you to balance mental, spiritual, and physical aspects of your life, you must be the main actor. (Underneath Christ)
- Caution. Always act. But always think before you act.
Setbacks happen to the best of us. But those setbacks can quickly turn into lasting indecisiveness. Don’t let them. Don’t let the devil win. Life’s too important of a game for us to lose it.
- We can choose faith, or we can choose fear. 90% of the world lives in fear.
- Aimless drifters inherit the world. That’s the devil’s goal. If you’re not careful, you’ll be yet another victim.
- Work consistently to literally outwit the grip of the devil himself. That is – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual freedom.
- Most people have no idea on the limitations that have been placed upon themselves
The good news is, when we experience fear or drifting, we don't have to stay there. "I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears" (Psalm 34:4). We must take our fears to God. This verse reminds us that He hears us and He is the one who delivers us from fear; we can't do it by ourselves. Faith in God, Christ within us, gives us the strength to overcome the spiritual devil that tries to keep us drifting through life without purpose. It is a spiritual battle to overcome the mental battle we have with the devil on a daily basis. The more we learn to trust Him and His love for us, the more we experience His peace (Philippians 4:7), and the less fear has any place in our lives.