As we continue to look at what it means to abandon our lives to God, we have found that there are certain things of the flesh we must give up in our goal of total surrender to the Spirit of God. One thing that must go is fear. Now, I'm not talking about fear of God. Scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The original language calls this type of fear eulabeia and it means having the utmost respect for someone or something. That's healthy fear that recognizes the holiness of God and His awesome power. There is another kind of fear, and it is unhealthy in every way. Webster's defines fear as an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. It is this type of fear that Satan uses to keep us paralyzed and ineffective in our Christian walk. God's Word is very clear in Psalms 27:1 when it says, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? In Romans 8:15 we read, For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Satan wants to keep us in bondage to our fears while God wants us to walk in freedom - freedom from fear. We live in uncertain times and it would be easy to give in to all kinds of fear, but God has called us to walk in truth not fear. The truth is that God has given us armor to help us in our fight with the enemy of this world - the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, shoes of peace, a breastplate of righteousness and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. One of the most powerful tools we have as Christians to combat fear is God's Word. When we quote Scripture we are taking the sword of the Spirit and slaying the spirit of fear. I encourage you to take some time this week to research the word fear in Scripture. Write down the verses that speak to you and keep them with you as a constant reminder. Remember Satan would like nothing better than to paralyze you with fear and keep you from fulfilling God's purpose in your life. Don't let fear have the last word. Keep your eyes on Jesus and reject the spirit of fear!
Well, the week is almost over and I am just getting to our weekly devotional. I wasn't in Sunday School on Sunday, but I heard it was a great lesson on hospitality. Thank you to Cassandra King for teaching the class and blessing the ladies. This week, we will pick back up with our series on The Abandoned Life. Here's a thought as we prepare for Sunday's lesson. Do we have more faith in our fear than we have faith in our God? I had to reflect on that myself when I first read it. When I entertain fear in my life I am actually putting my faith in the thing I fear. Fear is a crippling, paralyzing emotion. It can keep us so entangled that we cannot move forward with God. If we are going to fulfill the purpose and plan God has for us, we must put off the spirit of fear. Our God is bigger than our fear and when we put our complete and total faith in Him, fear begins to lose its grip on us. We are going to look at the spirit of fear more in-depth on Sunday. Until then, meditate on this verse and note the personalization, "God has not given ME a spirit of fear but of peace, and of love, and of a sound mind." II Timothy 1:7
As we continue to learn about abandoning our lives to God, we come to realize that there are certain things we will have to abandon in our pursuit of Him. Hebrews 12:1 reminds us that we must “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” One of the most entangling sins I know of is unforgiveness. It can literally grab hold of a heart and wrap it up tight with bitterness and resentment. Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” God’s Word is clear that to forgive is to walk in obedience to Him and to harbor unforgiveness is to walk in disobedience to Him. If we are to reach our goal of 100% surrender to Christ, we must choose to obey His Word in all areas. While it seems almost impossible at times to forgive others for cruel and careless behavior, forgiveness is always God’s perfect plan for us. Choosing to forgive is the only way to free ourselves from bitterness, resentment, and hatred. Christ gave us the ultimate example when he asked the Lord to forgive those who crucified Him, for “they know not what they do.” How can we do any less? No matter how deeply we have been hurt, we must choose forgiveness. Choosing to forgive does not absolve another for their wrongdoing, not at all; however, it does allow me to leave the consequences with the Lord. I no longer have to be judge and jury in another’s life because I am free to let God do His work in the situation. If the body of Christ is ever going to reach its maximum potential, we must begin to let go of old (or new) grievances and begin to reach out to each other with love and forgiveness. Remember we don’t forgive for the sake of someone else, we forgive for the sake of Christ. When we come to the place where we are truly willing to let Him forgive others through us, then we are moving in the right direction on this path to living an abandoned life.