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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Transparent Fear

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

What is your fear? What are you so afraid of that you can’t move, your breathing becomes erratic or it keeps you from moving forward? Mine is spiders, leaving a child behind and speaking in public. I once saw a spider in my house and moved my family up in my room for the next two days. I refused to even go near the couch much less sit on it where the spider was. I constantly looked over my shoulder because I am the one who killed it. And it even further intimidated me by “wiping” the spray off of its head. That was it for me! I don’t believe I sat on that couch (the biggest one in my house) for over a year. I have also ALMOST left each one of my children behind on at least one occasion. The feeling of fear and feeling bad acted like a cancer each time it happened, but I have NEVER actually left them! And speaking in public… WHOA! I always said I will never do that! I get nervous, the harassing butterflies, sweats, and a case of the stubbly words, BUT I have done it three times already! So again I ask, what’s your paralyzing fear?

Fear is a scary thing! As I looked up and researched the word “fear” I am becoming fully aware of the vast difference in meanings. On the one hand, Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary has several meanings: 1. (n.) A painful emotion or passion excited by the expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger; apprehension; anxiety; solicitude; alarm; dread. 2. (n.) Apprehension of incurring, or solicitude to avoid, God's wrath; the trembling and awful reverence felt toward the Supreme Being. The Hebrew word for the word fear in the Scripture used here is yare'. The meaning is “to be afraid” according to topicalbible.org. How many times have you said that in your lifetime? Here is another piece for you to chew on. Things that are said from our heart are things we believe (Matthew 12:34b). Do you notice that when we are truly afraid that we don’t yell out or express, “I’m not afraid?” Sure, we may laugh and say it but 9 times out of 10 people can smell fear just like a pit bull that is ready to attack you.

What are you afraid of? What is keeping you from taking that one step into your destiny? Better yet, what is forcing you to stop one step short of your destiny? What makes you lie in the comfort of your own home, own couch, same job that you know is not fulfilling what God has you to do? Can I share something with you? My fear, the ultimate fear I have is me. I see the goodness God has for me. I know what His promises are for me yet I allow the enemy to come in and steal my joy, kill the dreams and destroy the good things God has for me just by agreeing with him. He tells me “you can’t do this,” “you know you are not really good at organization.” He even has the audacity to say “what are you thinking? That will never work out for you! Look at the other attempts you made.” You see, he loves for us to look at our failures as walls we cannot get over. As long as he can get us thinking that and looking at them negatively, he can run amuck elsewhere because our chains and bondage are tightly fastened. Well I am breaking free of my fear chains! I am tired of the chaffing I get from these stupid cuffs! I am tired of the limits the chains put on me, that I can run so far and then all of a sudden when I think I made it, the chain snatches me back and then I fall flat on my back! Man, falling in the same place over and over is starting to not only hurt but frustrate me! The bondage of fear is so suffocating that I sometimes think I can see the walls closing in! What about you? What chains have you become comfortable with? What fears and limits on your life do you just adjust to instead of living out God’s Word for your life. What does His Word say about it you ask? 2 Timothy 1:7 says “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” POW!! Right there, if you never saw another “do not be afraid” Scripture, could free you for the rest of your life! God has not GIVEN us a spirit of fear (Greek word pachadh meaning fear, terror, dread)! No, what He gave us was the Spirit of POWER, LOVE and SELF CONTROL! Think about it, how does one explain to their child why they shouldn’t be afraid of the dark when its bedtime yet they are seen screaming and jumping in a chair because of a mouse… or spider (that’s me)? Fear is fear is fear! We can’t be fearful AND have power! We can’t be afraid AND show love! We certainly cannot have fear and self control at the same time! No matter how hard we try, if faced with our fear and the belief of God’s promise is not prevalent, we will lose control!

Here’s another honesty pit stop: I will run the other way in MY house if I see a big enough spider! If they are that big, I don’t want to know what their family looks like! No ma'am, I do not! I used to be that way with speaking. I have at the least conquered that fear but the enemy is faithfully trying to get me to back down or make me think I sound stupid and no one is paying attention.  I will even allow him in by procrastinating and waiting till the last minute to prepare! You see, he doesn’t stop because you conquer a fear. No, he has to keep going until he can get you back in that fear prison he had you in. That reminds me of a drug dealer. Let’s say you are a meth/ crack addict. You see the Light and surrender your life to Christ one day while talking to a street preacher. You are feeling free for the very first time as if you have just been let out of prison after decades. You go home and begin to clean up your home and destroy all paraphernalia linking and reminding you of that former life. Days go by after your deliverance and you feel good and praise God regularly. Then life begins to happen again. Bills that need to be paid get delinquent. Spouses that simply can’t or won’t believe you really are free of this bondage keep bringing up the past hurts and possibly even leave after being by you all these bound years. And to put the perfect cherry on your trials, your dealer calls. He hasn’t heard from you in “a minute.” He wants to know why he lost his best customer and is willing to give you a free “hit” of both drugs to get you through if You will “just come back.” This is how the enemy works! Many churches have the perfect “infomercial” sermon that promises when you come to Jesus, your life will be so much better (in so many words of course). They don’t reveal the clause that hell breaks loose when you break free of hell! Dear heart, can I tell you that the enemy doesn’t give up simply because we give him up! He tries even harder. The good thing about God is that He knows our abilities, our staying power. He has confidence in us when we go through things because He can see what we cannot. In Job 1, the enemy searches for someone new to conquer. When he goes to give account to God (that should say something right there!), God GIVES him permission to try Job. Not because God is cruel, not because He is unjust but because He knows the outcome! His confidence in Job is outstanding, no it’s sovereign! And in Job 19, we can see where Job proves God right once again when He says “For I KNOW my Redeemer lives,” (v 25)! Oh to be able to say that in the MIDDLE of my hardships!

Let’s begin to trust God as He trusts that we can do what He says we can! Fear is a stifling, binding, smothering, limiting spirit form Satan. Let’s begin to do as James says to do and “resist the devil” and watch him flee! Even as I write this, he wants me to be afraid. Well I laugh and say Satan my power, my love; my self control is greater than my fear! Will you do the same or stay the same? In the words of the old school cartoon Captain Planet, “THE POWER IS YOURS!” Use it to break free from your bondage today! How do you do that? By asking God to reveal to you your fears, known and unknown, and then replacing it with His Spirit!

Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us a spirit of power and of love and of self control! Help me, Lord, to use this for Your glory and my good, no matter the circumstances. Help me to see that the bondage I am in is a prison I choose to be in and help me to get sick of it and break free as Your Son died for me to be! In Jesus name I pray, Amen!