Thursday, January 14, 2016
Whom Shall I Fear?
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
It's a 4 letter word that can stop us in our tracks. It is a living, breathing force that haunts dreams and halts progress. It can come in the heavy form of an ill-health diagnosis or in the nagging pain of not being in control. Any way it presents itself, knowing what we fight makes us better prepared for anything that lies ahead.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Have you ever given thought to the origin of fear? For most of us, we try to pretend it's not there. We bury our head in the sand and ignore it as long as we can. Wars are not won by ignoring the other side. Enemies are studied. At times some are even interrogated so the other side can find out MORE about their enemy. Knowledge is great power, if one learns to wield it correctly.
Before you argue that fear can be a good thing, let me be clear as to the type of fear I am calling out here. I am speaking to any fear that causes us to live a half-life. I am calling out the fear that keeps us in our own bubble. I am talking to the fear that makes us strive for more control....over our bodies, our health, our finances and our children. I am speaking directly to the fear that keeps us from reading the Word of God because we aren't sure if we will like what we see. And yes, I am even speaking to the direct fear that some people purposefully pour out onto others so as to make us ineffective. THAT is the fear that must be dealt with...with a malicious intent to purge and destroy it.
One truth about fear is it grows in darkness. As long as we resist confronting our fears, they grow to irrational proportions. I was bound by fear for most of my life. Fear of dying, fear of judgment, fear for my safety and the safety of my family, fear of failure, and even fear of success. I lived a half-life, stuck under the thumb of fear and ineffective to my true purpose and calling. Your calling cannot be met in fear! It thrives in faith.
If fear consumes your life, the important question is not What do you fear? The most important question you can answer is Where is your faith?
Faith rooted in Jesus Christ brings light. This light is unlike anything we can truly understand and, more importantly, darkness is unable to thrive in this light. I know what you may be thinking....."I know Jesus, but I still struggle with fear." One of the most ignorant things we can believe as Christians is that we become untouchable once we are saved. That is equal to thinking we are unable to sin once we become saved. I don't know about you, but I can't go a day without God's grace for the sin I cling to and keep with me. The Good News is that His grace is sufficient, even for me.
The biggest question you have to answer today is WHERE IS YOUR FAITH?
Who goes before you? Or rather, who do you place before you?
The Lord is the One Who goes before you. He will be with you. He will be faithful to you and will not leave you alone. Do not be afraid or troubled.
A common argument among Christians is whether or not we SHOULD do anything. Some would say that it is foolish of me to not hold my family under my protective arms during threatening times. I think differently. God tells us to move. In fact, there are 34 recorded verses using the term MOVE. In any situation, if I see a path that causes stagnation, that is not the path I choose. I have been stagnant most of my life, and have felt as though I was living empty and void of passion.
The real truth is that I have no control....by the way, neither do you. Other than the basics of self care (which I do believe we should invest in), I cannot control my personal health. I have no control over my family. I cannot force my husband to love me and only have eyes for me. I cannot strong arm my children OR keep them locked in home when fear comes knocking. When financial crisis strikes I cannot create wealth. What can I do? I can pray. I can pray with intention and fervently seek God's will. Any other course of action is destined to disappoint.
I remember my first true encounter with this when I was 17 years old. My mom had been diagnosed as terminally ill and cancer had begun to eat away at her body. I was working at a nearby store and would take breaks every 2-3 hours to come home and move her from one spot to another, then I would sing Amazing Grace as she drifted to sleep. I argued with God. I tried to change things. I bought her tons of gifts. Finally, one day, I relinquished the control I so desperately wanted. I prayed confidently, Thy will be done. She passed a few days later and felt pain no more.
Now, it can be easy to look at that time and think WHAT???? It didn't end right! Oh, but it did. If it hadn't been for that one hinge point in life, I would not be anywhere near where I am today. That one point allowed me to embrace the mortal life and chip away at one fear. My life has since been filled with many points that help me let go of fear. Why? Because my calling is to help others live effectively and fully in their calling. And none of us can do that if we are hanging on to fear.
You have to know your enemy. Today, fear runs so thick you can almost see it. It's on the faces of the children who are scared to death walking to school. It's in the quivering voice of a mom asking for healing over a sick child. It sets up camp in the back of our minds as it reminds us that this world isn't what it used to be. Friends, rest assured that one thing still remains: God is forever faithful and He is in control. Nothing has escaped His sight. He didn't blink and miss something. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the vanquisher of all fear. He is the lifter of worry....and He is patiently waiting for His children to STAND UP against the true enemy. Stop holding to control you don't have. Stop blaming each other. Call fear into the light, bring it into the ring and trust that Almighty God will fight for you. That is how we win this war....
91 He who lives in the safe place of the Most High will be in the shadow of the All-powerful. 2 I will say to the Lord, “You are my safe and strong place, my God, in Whom I trust.” 3 For it is He Who takes you away from the trap, and from the killing sickness. 4 He will cover you with His wings. And under His wings you will be safe. He is faithful like a safe-covering and a strong wall.
5 You will not be afraid of trouble at night, or of the arrow that flies by day. 6 You will not be afraid of the sickness that walks in darkness, or of the trouble that destroys at noon. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand. But it will not come near you. 8 You will only look on with your eyes, and see how the sinful are punished. 9 Because you have made the Lord your safe place, and the Most High the place where you live, 10 nothing will hurt you. No trouble will come near your tent.
11 For He will tell His angels to care for you and keep you in all your ways. 12 They will hold you up in their hands. So your foot will not hit against a stone. 13 You will walk upon the lion and the snake. You will crush under your feet the young lion and the snake.
14 Because he has loved Me, I will bring him out of trouble. I will set him in a safe place on high, because he has known My name. 15 He will call upon Me, and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I will take him out of trouble and honor him. 16 I will please him with a long life. And I will show him My saving power.