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Set free from the spirit of fear

Janet Munn
Janet Munn tells how Jesus set her free from fear.

I grew up in the United  States. My husband is British-born, and our two adult children live in New York.

I’m currently based in London, where I’m Spiritual Life Development Secretary for the international Salvation Army. I’m also associate principal at the International College of Officers.  I find great fulfilment from serving in areas I am passionate about. My spiritual life role was established four and a half years ago to nourish the spiritual lives of Salvationists. All the good works of The Salvation Army must flow from the inner life of Christ in us.

I battled anxiety as a child. This became far worse after the death of my mother from heart disease  when I was just 14. Her early death introduced a new fear: that of death.

While at university, I developed a debilitating fear resulting in heart palpitations and anxiety attacks. I was unable to sleep without  the light on. I was even scared to read the Bible, thinking that would increase the spiritual darkness that tormented me. During this time, my husband went away on a Salvation Army band trip, as did a lot of my Christian friends.  My sense of fear increased in the aloneness, so I reached  out to a university professor, a man of God, going along to a Bible study he was leading. 

During that meeting, the Lord directed this man to pray for me. When I was prayed for, the chains of fear and bondage fell off. The spirit of fear was driven out by the name of Jesus. I felt an amazing freedom immediately.

Later, as I entered  full-time ministry as a Salvation Army officer,  I found  that even though the  paralysing  spirit of fear had left me, there were still temptations to become captive  again. I have learnt that our enemy the devil is primarily  a bully—he lies to us and bullies  us. So whatever the lies going  on in our heads, we have to recognise the difference between lies and biblical truth. Jesus won for us the victory over darkness (Colossians 2:15), giving us ‘everything we need for a godly  life’ (2 Peter 1:3). Jesus, who is the Truth, is stronger than any enemy, and we need to enforce the authority that he has given us! We fight the devil’s  lies with the Bible’s truth, which exposes deception.

If you asked me what is at the ‘cutting  edge’  of Salvation Army mission, I would say prioritising devotion to prayer and the Bible. The times in which we are living, and more so in the years ahead, will require nothing less of Salvationists than intense focus on meeting with the Almighty through prayer and having our lives formed by God’s Word. I can see that God is bringing together an inter-generational interdependence within The Salvation Army.

Today’s generation is the first one where the younger ones don’t need the older ones to impart knowledge. In fact, older people often need younger ones to explain technology to them! There is a great synergy that comes with this. And in the future, the generations are going to need one another more than ever.

Adults and leaders, we need to live faithfully now so we can hand on something that is alive —vibrant and growing—to the generation that is coming.

  • Postscript: Janet is now serving in the Australian Eastern Territory of The Salvation Army

By Janet Munn (abridged from War Cry, 17 November 2012, p9)