Today’s focus is fear.
This is something that God has finally gotten through to me on… If fear is controlling me then His Spirit is not.
I finally realized that at the root of most of my stupid choices, at the root of most of the sin in my life, as a lost woman and as a redeemed child of God, was fear. Fear of being left out, fear of being not wanted, fear of being hurt, fear of being afraid, fear of people knowing, fear of disappointing people, fear of letting people know I was afraid… crazy, stupid, fear.
As many times as God proclaimed “Fear not…” it is obvious that fear is a major hindrance to the Christian life. Why is it such a hindrance? Because fear is the opposite of faith. When we focus on our fear rather than having faith in God to deliver us from evil, we are much more likely to lose the battle for sexual and emotional integrity. How can we focus on what we know God will do when we think we are doomed? Such lack of faith says to God, “Even though you’ve carried me this far, you are probably going to fail me now, aren’t you?”
~ Shannon Ethridge
Sometimes we can be in such hurt that the only escape we see is through sin… and that is because we are looking through our eyes and not God’s.
Sometimes we can be in such hurt that the only thing we can think about is relief, even if it is for only a moment, and well sin is usually easily available, quick to get to, and yes, sin’s relief will last for a moment… but only a moment… and then it comes crashing down and it brings an even heavier hurt… that you, once again, reach to sin to numb.
We choose moments over eternity.
God has offered us eternal freedom,
but most often we instead choose the short leash of sin’s chains.
Because it is quick, it helps at the time, and we, in our eyes, either actually think it might work or see no other possibility.
How many women compromise their integrity and do what they know in the depth of their being is against God and His truth because they fear “he” will leave them if they don’t. We do not see that we are choosing the approval of man over the approval of our Creator God.
How many women cross the line, and then they draw a new line. Then they cross that line, so they draw still another line, then another line, and another… because they fear not being wanted or they fear the repercussions of standing firm on their “no”?
How many women stay in an absolutely horrible relationship and fight to the death for it… and this person has not even loved them enough to make them his through the covenant of marriage… yet they fight to keep him… even though he destroys their confidence, destroys their strength, destroys their integrity, stomps on their heart, and is cruel to them (and possibly even their children), yet they stay because they “love” him.?
This is not love… this is fear.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,
because fear involves punishment,
and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
1 John 4:18
My seven year old daughter was riding with me the other day and it was just the two of us and she asked, “Momma, how will I know the man that God wants me to marry?” (Yes ladies at seven years old our daughters already are wondering about Mr Right… so define him to her now… before the Disney Channel and the little boys at school try to tell her who he is supposed to be)
I shared with her that she would know the man that God had chosen for her by looking for three main things:
1) He loved God more than he loved her
2) He was willing to give up his own life, his dreams, his toys, his pursuits, in order to make her his own, if that was what it took.
3) He will meet your Daddy’s approval. She could trust her Daddy’s judgment on the man. If her daddy did not approve, then he knew this man would not love her and care for her the way he was supposed to.
I told her if she set this as her standard… then she would know “the one” when God brought him into her life and it was time for her to marry him.
Let me ask you… are you currently in a “dating relationship” that doesn’t meet the above standards?
If so… why?
If you do not have an earthly father…
does your Heavenly Father approve of this relationship?
Is it one that honors Him?
Have you even asked Him about His thoughts on this relationship?
My ten year old daughter asked me one day “Momma, how do I know when God is talking to me and answering me when I pray and ask Him a question?”
(Yes, ladies, your ten year olds are seeking answers and direction from God, they have real hurts, real struggles, real issues, if we can teach them how to go before the throne of grace of now and seek help in their time of need… wow, that’s all I am going to say)
I shared with her that when she was seeking God’s will, when she was seeking direction, she needed to talk to Him with her Bible open. Have a conversation with Him as she turned and scanned the pages… most often He will answer and give guidance through His Word. Sometimes God would also send another Christian to her to let her know what she needed to do. If she was really looking for God to answer and was going to do whatever He said… then she would know that it was Him.
Today, ask God to show you where fear is controlling you and not faith.
I don’t know about you, but I hate being afraid. I don’t watch scary movies because I believe they are another tool of the enemy to numb our sensitivity to our fears and they glorify hell and not my God. I don’t like the knot that fear puts in my stomach or the pounding that it puts in my ears and the thoughts that come with it… I don’t like it at all.
So many times we make bad choices because of our fear of the future. We don’t know what will happen or what we will do if we leave… if we walk away from this that we know… so we stay… even if all we experience is pain.
We don’t know where this other way leads so we keep to this path that we know even though we always end up in the same place…
God has called us out… yet we stay… paralyzed by our fear that He just might not be for real… He just might fail us… after all “look at all I have done… how could He actually and really want me and have good planned out for me… how could God actually use me?”
Jesus opened your prison door. It’s up to you to walk out! How do you do this? By forgiving every person who has ever brought you pain, including yourself. If God does not despise you for the ways you have tried to fill the void in your heart, neither should you despise yourself.
~ Shannon Ethridge
Sometimes fear causes us to run away when we need to stay and fight.
In marriages… how many times do we walk away because we don’t see how God could ever fix the mess? How many times do we abandon the hope of healing because we fear one more day of living in our current circumstances and we, with our eyes, can not see any possible hope of change?
Please I beg you; I implore you, do not walk away unless you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God is releasing you. Yes, if abuse is involved you most likely need a time of separation for healing to take place, sometimes leaving is what is needed for a wake-up call, but give your marriage time to heal before you call it quits.
Give your spouse time and opportunity for God’s redemptive work to take place in their life.
Don’t let fear make you stay, and don’t let fear make you go, be still and know that He is God and trust and obey Him not fear.
He said, “ I heard the sound of You in the garden,
and I was afraid because I was naked;
so I hid myself.”
We have to decide that we won’t let fear control us any longer. We have to decide that we had rather be controlled by the Spirit of God. Then we have to obey His Word… and trust Him with the consequences. We have to not hide ourselves from Him, we have to come out and trust in His love.
The best place to start is admitting that you are afraid.
Ask God to show you exactly what you are afraid of, then confess this to God and ask Him to forgive you for letting fear lead you instead of Him.
You have to confess fear, it is sin, and there is only One who has the power to give us victory over sin…
…Christ in you, the hope of glory
It is confession that cleanses and heals and restores the soul.
It is laying our hearts open and bare before the Lord.
It is trusting in the character and name of our God and not in our circumstances that brings us victory.
It is in surrender to His will and His way and walking in obedience to His Word that we find peace… real, lasting, eternal peace.
Today your challenge is to raise your white flag of surrender because…
…the white flag you will be waving as you surrender your past pain, present pride, and future fear is not a symbol of defeat. It is a symbol of victory, for it represents purity. You will be washed clean of all compromise as you allow God to transform you- heart and mind- into a woman who forgives her debtors, walks in humility, and faces the future with confidence in her Creator and Sustainer. White is your color, girlfriend! Post it proudly and enjoy the peacefulness and fulfillment of sweet surrender to the Savior.
~ Shannon Ethridge
Oh precious one, choose to surrender to, and to exalt your God… not your fear.