Most adults understand what it means to be under the influence of alcohol. It affects your judgment, your ability to function, what you say and do. Fear can have the same affect and when you are afraid it could be said that you are under the influence of fear.
Fear is a powerful emotion because it is hard to control and can make you do things you wouldn’t normally do. It can also stop you from doing things that you want to do, no matter how important they are to you.
Fear can be a strategic advantage to an enemy. I believe fear is the number one way the devil takes advantage of Christians and is used frequently to stop us from making progress in our walk with Christ. When we are under the influence of fear, we are like soldiers that are shaking in their boots, we can’t hear the commands of God and are looking for an escape route rather than concentrating on the battle plan.
When Gideon was given the assignment to engage the Midianites in warfare, the first thing God told him to do was weed out all the soldiers that were afraid to fight. Gideon’s troops were reduced from 22,000 to 10,000 after they were told, “Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from Mount Gilead” (Judges 7:3). But, God didn’t stop there. The affect of fear can sometimes be subtle, we may not even be aware that we are under its influence. So, God used another method to determine who could be relied on in battle and who would most likely run if the going got tough.
So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Everyone that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself…And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you. (Judges 7:5-7)