Fear…there are a lot of feelings that this one word can elicit in someone when they hear it.
For those of you who have the Proverbs 31 Ministry First 5 app, you know that today, Lysa TerKeurst writes about Matthew 1:20 and fear. The fear Joseph had when he found out Mary was pregnant – and it wasn’t his child. Fear of the shame that would be heaped upon him by the towns people. Fear of the anger toward Mary for ‘stepping out’ of their marriage. Fear of the confusion he felt about the circumstances.
These are all tactics that the enemy uses to try to incapacitate God’s children. To keep believers from accepting their God-given assignment. To prevent us from fully walking out in our purpose.
Lysa further goes on to say that, just as in Joseph’s day, the enemy wants us to be afraid today. And it’s not the good, healthy kind of fear that keeps us from dare-devil stunts and protects us. No…not this fear. He wants to keep us tangled in his lies, stifled in the discomfort of living without purpose, and suffocating in the fear of the darkness he covers us with.
While we are otherwise occupied by focusing on fear, he is stealing our joy. The gospel of John tells us in chapter ten that, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The thief John is referring to is the devil. These are the words of Jesus, so He is who we will find a full life in.
He is stealing our purpose, he is killing our present moments, he is destroying our dreams.
It’s a total God thing that I read this today. See, just yesterday I was dealt a devastating blow. I mean, this was one of those below-the-belt sucker punches that not only knocks the wind out of you, but completely buckles your legs until you are on your knees on the ground. I mean when I first got the news, I felt every emotion on the spectrum. My first thought was, ‘Who the hell do they think they are?’ (yes, good church-going, Bible-reading, praying-momma, me had that thought). My next thought was, ‘Is any ounce of what they are claiming true?’ Even though I knew, deep down, it wasn’t.
While I’m ashamed these were my first two thoughts, I can say that I didn’t linger here very long before reminding myself that The Lord has this. He has this entire situation in the palm of His hand. He already knows the outcome. And, nothing, no NOTHING will come to me without first going through Him to me.
While knowing all of these facts, there is a part of me, however small, that is still living in FEAR about the situation. There is the perpetual ‘what if’ that keeps running through my mind. Because this is where the enemy wants me to unpack and camp out. He wants me to live in fear…so that I can forget about the purpose God has for me…so that I can focus on the ‘what if’ rather than the mission that God has given me, the calling He has on my life…so that I can NOT focus on the life-giving love around me daily.
The other thing that I need to remind myself of daily is that I’ve been here before. Well, maybe not in this EXACT place, but I’ve been in a very similar place. Where I was fearful of the outcome. And guess what? God delivered me from that. He kept me in the palm of His hand. When I was fretting about how the resolution would come, God already had it worked out.
So, leaning on the words found in Philippians 4:6-7, I will not be anxious about anything, but I will present my requests to God, and then the peace that surpasses all understanding, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
The final comment that Lysa makes, and the nifty image that illustrates today’s lesson is this: ‘Proclaiming the name of Jesus brings power, protection, and a perspective that crushes fear.’
When the enemy tempts me to be fearful, when he allures me into worrying, when he seduces me into thinking nothing is going to turn out, I am just going to say, ‘Jesus help me,’ and I will feel the tension leave my body. I will feel the peace come to rest on my shoulders. And I will remember there is power in the name of Jesus.