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Who’s Running Your Town—Faith or Fear?

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Who’s running your town, faith or fear? Your influence in this world is far greater than you might think.

by Kenneth Copeland

Your influence in this world is far greater than just the confines of your house, your yard and your little work space at the office.

Actually, if the truth were known, the whole company where you work is dependent upon you, the whole neighborhood where you live is dependent upon you, even the entire nation needs you—if you are fearless and full of faith.

And the reason we can be so influential is because as believers, we are not in this by ourselves.

We are the Body of Christ. We are the Body of God’s anointed ones. Therefore, we are joined together through our connection to Jesus’ anointing.

What’s more, Jesus gave us all authority and dominion in heaven and earth before He returned to the Father (Luke 9:1-2). And He is expecting us to take that authority and cause His enemies to be made His footstool (Hebrews 10:13). The problem is, we have not been using and enforcing that dominion to its fullest.

But that’s all changing, now. And it must change.

A Tale of Two Cities

To give you a sense of the scope of authority you and I have, I want to tell you about two cities as they were back in the days when Jesus walked this earth. One city was run by fear, and the other by faith—they were as different as night and day.

In fact, the atmosphere in each city determined what Jesus could and could not do when he visited them. We read about the city of fear in Mark 5:1-8:

[Jesus and His disciples] came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when [Jesus] was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For [Jesus] said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

Jesus and His disciples had crossed the Sea of Galilee by boat, and when they arrived on the shore in the region called Decapolis, they were met by a demon-possessed man. We know him as the “mad man of Gadera.”

In this passage, we learn that Jesus commanded the devil that possessed this man to come out of him. But notice what we discover in verse 9: “And [Jesus] asked [the devil], What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.”

Just how many is many?

Try 6,000.

Legion was a military term in those days that referred to 6,000 soldiers. So this one particular devil to whom Jesus was speaking revealed that there were actually 6,000 devils working in and through this madman’s life—through his spirit, soul and body.

But what I especially want you to see is that these 6,000 devils were not necessarily in this man all at one time. The one devil that Jesus addressed face to face was really the higher ranking devil of the bunch. He was the one that had authority over the entire legion. That is, he was a high-ranking devil who commanded a troop of at least 6,000 devils.

Now, at first glance, that statement may seem strange. But not when you consider that the “legion” we see in Mark 5 is what the Apostle Paul referred to in Ephesians as “principalities…powers…rulers of the darkness of this world.” In fact, Ephesians 6:12 gives us an understanding of the structure of the enemy’s domain. It says, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

The devil with whom Jesus had conversation—the one devil that actually possessed the madman of Gadera—was a ruler over the 6,000 “principalities and powers” that functioned under his command through the man. He was a “ruler of the darkness of this world.”

We can see there is a rank and file throughout the entire kingdom of darkness. There are “low-level devils,” and then there are evil spirits in different ranks or classes. There is a chain of command that even the enemy follows.

The City of Fear

Now getting back to the madman of Gadera…if you’re like me, you’ve wondered, Why are 6,000 devils and one commander hanging out with this guy?

That seems like a lot of “fire power” for just one crazy man.

To get an answer to this question, let’s take a look at how the citizens of that area responded to what happened between Jesus and their hometown madman.

Let’s pick up with Mark 5:11-17:

Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought [Jesus], saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.

Here is a man who has been running around naked, living in a graveyard and doing all sorts of bizarre and wicked things. Suddenly, he is gloriously delivered by the power of God. He is wearing clothes once again, and he is in his right mind. Yet, instead of the townspeople being thrilled that he had been delivered, they were filled with fear. So much so that verse 17 says that the people “began to pray [Jesus] to depart out of their coasts.”

In this passage, the word pray means to “earnestly, sincerely beg.” So the people in and around these cities of Decapolis were actually begging Jesus to leave.


Luke 8 also recounts this incident and it tells us that “the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought [Jesus] to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear” (verse 37).

The people responded to Jesus’ ministry of deliverance with great fear.

And there’s our answer as to why they wanted Jesus to leave…fear.

Fear was what this legion of devils and their commander were all about. Over a period of time they had been able to build a stronghold of fear and control the whole coastal area.

Consequently, the people of this city and surrounding areas constantly lived under fear. It dominated the heavenlies—the spiritual atmosphere—over that entire region.

It was fear that came running to meet Jesus when His boat landed. Fear wanted to know what He was up to. Fear ran to tell what Jesus had done to a herd of 2,000 swine. Fear wanted to know what He had done to the crazy man.

And, of course, it was fear that begged Jesus, “Oh…please, please, please, get out of here!”

Watch as Kenneth Copeland teaches about how to refuse fear!

Drowning in a Sea of Fear

If you study the scriptures carefully, you begin to realize that Jesus and His disciples encountered the stronghold of fear set up in Decapolis before they landed on its shores and met up with the madman of Gadera and his 6,001 devils.

Actually, it started the night before they arrived, out on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus’ disciples were certain they were going to die…and Jesus was going to sleep through the whole thing. We find the following account of it in Mark 4:35-41.

When the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

First, the disciples feared the storm. Then they feared Jesus.

There is a pattern here. The disciples feared the storm, then they feared Jesus—who actually delivered them from the storm.

Likewise, the people of the country of the Gadarenes feared what happened to the swine and to the madman. Then they feared Jesus—who delivered the man from the demons.

If it wasn’t fear of one thing, it was fear of another. And behind all that fear was a legion of devils and their commander. They were ruling over and controlling that whole area. And I guarantee you they were the ones responsible for the storm that blew up that night on the Sea of Galilee.

Why would the devils do that?

Simply because they were trying to protect their territory.

Jesus and His disciples were headed straight toward the stronghold of fear that “legion” had built, and “legion” didn’t want anyone messing with it.

Jesus was bringing a boatload of love and compassion to that side of the Galilee, and 1 John 4:18 tells us that “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.”

Love was on His way to cast out fear, therefore, “legion” had to do everything possible to try and stop Jesus and His men. I don’t doubt that all 6,000 devils were zeroed in on that boat that night.

Now obviously, “legion” did not expect to be able to stop the anointed Son of God. There’s no way they could have drowned Jesus. But they could make a play for the whole boatload and hope to at least take out a few disciples. And that’s exactly what they set out to do, even to the point of trying to divide the disciples from Jesus through fear and offense. After all, a house divided against itself will fall (Luke 11:17).

In Mark 4:38, the disciples protested, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” They feared for their safety and thought Jesus didn’t care.

But Jesus was resting in the fact that His Father had instructed Him to go to the “other side” of the Galilee. Hebrews 4 tells us that faith rests. The disciples could have done the same thing. Peter could have stood up and declared, “The Master told us we’re going to the other side so we’re going to the other side, and no storm is going to keep us from getting there. Peace, be still!

Instead, they got caught up in the danger of their circumstances. They allowed themselves to be tossed about by every wave of fear. And then, when they finally did turn to the Master…He was asleep, resting in faith. But they mistook His rest as irresponsibility. They must have thought He should have joined them in being fearful and worrying.

Before it was over though, Jesus stood up and dealt with the storm. Then He addressed their fear, and their lack of faith.

The City of Faith

In contrast to Decapolis, an area of fear, there was a coastal region over which I believe there was a stronghold of faith. We read about it in Mark 5:21-24.

And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea. And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, and besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.

Again, Jesus had no sooner stepped out of the boat and onto the land, than a man was there to meet Him. This time, however, the man who met Jesus at the shore was not a man dominated and driven by fear. Rather, he was a man dominated and driven by faith. That man was Jairus, ruler of the synagogue.

Notice, too, that on the journey to this side of the Sea of Galilee, there was no storm. The atmosphere was completely different—there was a spirit of faith in this region. Jesus was actually welcomed instead of being asked to leave.

And the fact that Jairus welcomed Jesus and invited Him to his home was even more significant from the standpoint that Jairus was an important public figure. He was a leader, a pastor and president of the synagogue. He was a man of great wealth and position in the community. Everyone knew him. And all eyes were sure to be on him—especially when he fell on his face before Jesus while “much people” were around. And the truth was, Jairus could have lost everything by simply associating with Jesus.

However, Jairus was a man of faith. Had he been a man of fear, he never would have fallen down in front of Jesus in such a public display. Had he been a man of fear, there probably would not have been any other open display of faith that day. And by that, I’m referring to the woman with the issue of blood who got healed when Jesus stopped and told her, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (Mark 5:34).

Again faith was out there on the road that day, indicating there was an atmosphere of faith in that place, not fear and doubt.

In fact, when someone from Jairus’ house came with the news that his daughter had died, Jesus turned to Jairus and said, “Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole” (Luke 8:50).

In other words, the spirit of fear was trying to push its way into Jairus’ mind, will and emotions. It was trying to gather up like a storm cloud of darkness and quench his faith. But Jesus commanded him to remain in that place of faith, and that’s exactly what Jairus did. And in the end, his daughter was raised up.

Jesus could only perform miracles where there was faith—an atmosphere and a spirit of faith. And as a man of God, Jairus’ spirit of faith had great influence over that region.

This is the same principle we see at work when Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden of Eden. Fear caused them to run from God instead of to Him. In fact, fear will always separate us from God. Why? Because fear is not of God, and fear and God never go together.

Deuteronomy 28:66 tells us that fear is under the curse. But Galatians 3:13 and Hebrews 2:14-15 assure us that we’ve been delivered from that curse of fear through the blood of Jesus—the same as we have been delivered from sickness, lack and hell itself.

There’s no denying we live in a fear-based world, but we can and must resist fear.

It’s not enough just to be in the boat with Jesus. We have to resist every wave of fear that would come crashing against us.

Jesus gave us the power. He gave us the authority. Now, it’s up to us.

So rest in faith by believing the love (1 John 4:16-18). And when you have to, stand up in your boat and declare—Peace, be still!

Related Articles:

How Does Perfect Love Cast Out Fear?

3 Steps to Living a Fear-Free Life