While my wife, the pooch and I were strolling down the sidewalk yesterday in the midst of a beautiful, crisp fall day, I began to share some thoughts with Piper about what I have been learning concerning the ravages of fear. I am beginning to understand it as one the strongest tools that the enemy of our souls carries in his toolbox! I have seen it cause people… good people… to act in some of the most uncharacteristic ways. I have seen and felt it force mature Christians into saying and doing things that flow in opposite directions to that as taught in the New Testament. The beginning of Ephesians 4:19 in the Jubilee Bible seems to sum it up the best by stating that those who do outlandish things that are opposite to the ways Jesus demonstrated, do these things; “after losing all sense of feeling…”
On our walk yesterday, I stopped and declared to my wife that I just can’t imagine these folks doing these things if they really understood what their actions were doing to the recipients of them. It would seem that fear has blinded their sight, their feelings, their courage and most of all… their hearts. The toughest part of this revelation though, has been my realizing that I have done similar things in my past. I may not have acted them out in the physical or said the words… but I sure thought them and many times attempted to minister or relate to people based on my incorrect and clueless theories on their personal situations!
Now that my wife and I have worn the shoes of those going through difficult and you could even say, life and death situations… I see and do things a lot differently! I feel a little like what is said of Jesus’ sensitivity to others, “for we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 MKJV)
You know what? I think that it is pretty clear that the Lord is calling His people to grow up! To say and do as Ephesians 4:14 instructs us to and “stop acting like little children.” (CEV) One of my favorite scriptures has always been Joshua 1:9 where the Lord confronts Joshua as he is about to lead the children of Israel into their promised land. The Lord knew it would be a difficult endeavor. He knew that Joshua would have to fight off fear. And He understood Joshua’s doubts as this was to be his first campaign as the new leader of God’s nation!
I can almost see the Lord taking Joshua’s hands in His, looking deep into his eyes and calmly saying: “Have I not commanded you Joshua? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Be assured that I will never neglect you or abandon you.” (Joshua 1:9 and 1:5 God’s Word © personalized)
This scripture along with a select few of others have always had special significance to me and have carried me through some of the darkest episodes in my life, although none can compare to the current valley that we are going THROUGH (See Psalm 23:4)! But even though I have been entangled at the hands of some good meaning individuals who have been swayed by the throes of fear, I have learned mostly about myself and those conspicuous places where I may have unknowingly allowed fear to hijack my responses to the needs of others.
I would adjure you to not let that happen to you. Stay in the Word. Keep its truth in your heart, your mind and on your lips! Think Gospel before you think You! Believe me… it will save you a lot of messy clean up… If you’re able to see the truth and then make amends, that is!
Everything is on track here for us to close on our piece of Canaan Land tomorrow! Needless to say, we are QUITE excited and blessed. Have a great week. Stay in tune to God’s Word, and keep asking yourself… “With or in Whom am I expecting to resist FEAR today?”