From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 7 – Some more of the ways in which we must become faithful
I have no statistical data to back up my point, but I have observed from experience that fear is one of the main things which causes people to be unfaithful or to drop their standards. For example a person might know that some practice at work is wrong but they fear to say anything, or are afraid to refuse to take part. They worry that doing so may result in ridicule or unpopularity, or that they may even lose their job. The list of things that people fear is endless. What frightens you may not frighten someone else and vice versa. But, whoever you are, there will be certain things which you particularly fear.
The demons who are involved in your life are well aware of what those particular things are for you. Therefore, they calculate that all they have to do to get you to be unfaithful is to engineer it so that one or more of these things, or people, or circumstances, that you fear are brought into the situation. They will take care to arrange that, so that you are put under pressure and made to feel afraid. They will then use the thing that you fear, whatever it may be, as a leverage point to unsettle you. They want to get you to lose your nerve, and then to be unfaithful, by doing something which you know to be wrong.
The answer in every such situation is that we need to have more courage. Lack of courage is perhaps the one most significant feature which causes Christians to let God down and to fail to do their duty. Conversely, if we have courage, i.e. if we choose to be courageous, then we will be able to go the things that please God, because doing His will requires courage.
Look at how God viewed King Jehoshaphat. God praises him in various ways, but especially for being courageous. Moreover, it doesn’t just mean courageous in battle, but courageous “in the ways of the LORD.” That means having the courage to do God’s will, even when that provokes controversy and makes you unpopular.
For example, King Jehoshaphat showed courage by getting rid of the ‘high places’ and the Asherim, i.e. the means by which occultic, idolatrous worship was conducted. These things were popular with the people. Therefore most kings, even the better ones, left them in place, for fear of getting an adverse reaction from the people. But Jehoshaphat went through with it and tackled the idolatry head on, regardless of the criticism it provoked. He did so because He knew it was what God wanted and he put God’s commands ahead of his own welfare:
3 The Lord was with Jehosh′aphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father; he did not seek the Ba′als, 4but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the ways of Israel. 5 Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought tribute to Jehosh′aphat; and he had great riches and honor. 6 His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord; and furthermore he took the high places and the Ashe′rim out of Judah.2 Chronicles 17:3-6 (RSV)