Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fear Not.

Have you ever been burdened? I mean really burdened. Your insides feel all tangled up, you can't eat, you feel as if you are going to throw up because of the knot in your throat, and you feel like a huge weight is pressing you down. That's how I feel right now. I have been feeling this way for a while and the only way I can explain it is that I feel as if something bad or hard or trying is about to happen.

I have been through seasons like this before. Seasons that I have been extra sensitive to the Spirit and could feel the goodness from Him, but could also feel the enemy lurking by. We have been warned about this, however. In 1 Peter 5 it says "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings." I take two things from this. The first thing I take is that God loves us so much that He is warning us. If you had a boyfriend/girlfriend/child that would be driving down a road you know is curvy and dangerous you would warn them beforehand to make sure they are aware of the danger and that they are paying attention. God is this loving Father that is warning us that there is some things that may sneak up on us and that life is filled with dangerous curves so we should be alert! The second truth I take from this is that "the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings". This means that we are not alone in our sufferings. We are living life alongside other believers and we're given to each other to be accountability and gifts to each other.

Like I said, I have been through situations and seasons like this. The difference now though is that I am whole heartily seeking Jesus (personally, eternally, intentionally) and that my heart is so closely knit to His. I am resting in His promises and treasuring His compassionate pursual. Through this season I have become aware of some things...

First, we are all sinners. My heart is just as gross and ugly and corrupt as other's hearts. Just because their sin may seem magnified and is visual doesn't mean I am better.
Second, more than anything we need grace and acceptance and prayer. People are put in our lives for a reason. Maybe simply for the fact that I am called to pray and encourage them.
Third, I am in no way, shape or form at a place to judge others. Just because their sin has come to the light, doesn't mean they are worse than me. If anything, they are stronger than me because I have a lot of junk in my life that I suppress and don't want people to know about me.

We are called as believers to be filled with faith. I desire more than anything to be a Proverbs 31 woman... in that she has many great attributes. In verse 17 it says "she dresses herself with strength..."--this is important because we are encouraged later on in 2 Corinthians 12 about weakness and strength. It says "But He said to me. 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will most all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." So this is something so incredibly beautiful to be reminded of.

The next, and I think most important verse for me to remember during this season, is verse 25 which says, "Strength (there's that strength we just talked about again) and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the days to come." Wow. How many times in the past week have we been fearful? Fearful of finances. Fearful of relationships (or lack there of). Fearful of health issues. Fearful of man in general. I don't want to live in fear. In fact we are called not to. There are so many verses about fear in the Bible. There is "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4); "The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1); "The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Psalm 118:6); "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (2 Tim. 1:7); "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deut. 31:6); "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Is. 41:10); "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, "Abba," Father." (Romans 8:15)--LOVE THIS ONE!!! Those were just a few in the Word that speak against fear. We are commanded, by the Lord Himself, over and over "do.not.fear." Don't do it. There is no good that will come from. It WILL NOT edify you. It WILL NEVER affirm you. It WILL tear you down. Freak you out. And push you away from Jesus... which is a lot more frightening than anything in this world.

So Jesus... be patient with your Beloved. I am so screwed up. I hate sin... but sometimes I allow it into certain parts of my heart and life and I am confessing and repenting that. Lord, I don't want to be a woman who is burdened by evil and bogged down by fear. But rather, Lord let me be a woman who is clothed in strength and dignity, LAUGHS at the days to come and is filled with wisdom and kindness. I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ right now. God-- we.are.not.perfect. Sometimes it is really easy for us to believe we or others are. So humble us in that. Show us with your grace and mercy and allow us to do the same to each other. Let me not condemn or judge, but rather, love unconditionally. Steady my heart--it is beating wildly right now--and remind me minutely that You are in control, are good and are GOD!