Wednesday, March 19, 2014

False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR). NOT. - Lenten Journey Day 13 Devotional

the Lord is my light…so why should I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1

Tonight I had the opportunity to meet with my life group.  I enjoy all the ministries and gatherings I have an opportunity to take part in, but the women in my group hold a special place in my heart.  As a leader, it’s easy for the relationships to feel one-directional, but these ladies inspire and encourage me in ways they can’t even imagine.  It’s like watching a plant on your windowsill grow from a bud into a magnificent flower. 

I know that flowers don’t think, but if they did I bet that the growth process would be pretty scary for them.  Safe little seeds, warmly nestled in soil until nature starts to stretch them and pull them out of the comfort of their shell.  After so much time in darkness, I bet it almost feels comforting there…I bet the fresh air and light as they emerge from the soil would be intimidating at first.  

Look at flowers as they grow… they cower down next to the soil from which they’ve arisen at initially.  

Almost appearing afraid....

Then the leaves begin to open and expand.  Do you know why that happens?  Because as the plant grows and matures, it stops the dependency on its own reserves and starts to rely on the sun for energy.

Tonight as we went through our study of the Beatitudes, each woman shared their journey; each flower at different stages in their “growth”, but all growing.  Each flower faced with a choice -- to stay a seedling or blossom.

Fear wants to keep us in the ground. 

We stunt our own growth when we continue to rely on our own strength.

Tonight I heard story after story of how God has called these women to move out of fear and into faith – in their workplace, child rearing, marriages/relationships, and reactions to everyday circumstances.  I couldn’t be more proud of their growth.

I have heard fear described many times as False Evidence Appearing Real (F.E.A.R.).  It’s a cycle of terrifying “what if’s” that paralyze us.

When you reflect on the truth of that, it’s actually the exact opposite of faith. 

Faith is described as “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).  Sound familiar? 

Both fear and faith reach into the unseen; one pulls out problems and threats, the other pulls out God’s promises and divine truths.

Fear causes you to reach back into the darkness.  Faith causes you to reach up toward the Son.

Why does this matter?  Because the more Satan can draw you towards fear, the further he lures you away from the Son.  If he can keep you fearful, he can keep you faithless.  If he can keep you faithless, he can keep you powerless.

Fearful = Powerless

Did you know that the phrase “fear not” is stated 365 times in the Bible.

So there you have it!  You have the Word of God reminding you once for each day of the year to choose faith over fear!  Not because you’re relying on your own power and courage – we know what happens to plants that do that -- but because you serve an all-powerful God. 

When the world confronts you with fearful circumstances, put fear on notice that “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). 

I know it’s scary sometimes.  I know it’s uncomfortable. But you were not meant to hide in the soil. 

What are you afraid of?

Let go of it.

Grab a hold of God’s promises instead of your problems and watch your life come into full bloom. 

Scripture References: Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 23:4, Psalm 56:3, Matthew 6:34, Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 41: 13, 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Peter 3:13-14

Let’s pray:  Father, it says in your Word that you have not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.  So when I am afraid, I will trust in You.  When I feel anxious Lord, strengthen me and hold me up with Your righteous hand.  I will continue to abide in Your Word and cling to Your instructions that remind me over and over to “fear not”.  I will not fear what the world fears, for there is nothing in this world that You do not have the ability to help me overcome.  So I am casting every fear, worry, and anxiety on You today.  I choose faith.  Thank You for Your faithfulness in my life.  In Your mighty and powerful name I pray.  Amen.  

Now listening to:  Whom Shall I Fear, Chris Tomlin

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