I confess to you Almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters…
That I have been full of fear lately. The holidays were very stressful due to some new, demanding and difficult circumstances in my life, the onset of menopause (translation: raging hormones, very little sleep, and very low mood and energy), and work demands I simply couldn’t keep up due to said circumstances…but absolutely needed to. And this followed hard on the heels of an incredibly embittered presidential campaign that has left our nation only more divided, and myself reeling from the loss of a dear friend and sister in Christ over differing political views.
Yes, I have felt very afraid and anxious from the thoughts stampeding through my mind: What’s going to happen to my loved ones? What’s going to happen to my business? What’s going to happen to my country? What’s going to happen to me? What will we do? It’s <person’s> fault, it’s my fault, why won’t they, why can’t I, we’re in for it now, if only, serves them right, I don’t understand how, what if….on and on, and especially in the dark, wee sleepless hours of the night.
Friends, I confess to you that I have sinned against God and against you.
Because fear is sin at its root.
This is the truth about who we are and almost everywhere in the New Testament we are exhorted to first trust God with absolutely everything in our lives (because He is trustworthy!), and then in trust, to obey Him by consciously putting aside our old dead selves and living according to who we really are in Christ. We are powerful, loving and sane and to live any other way, to live in fear, is disobedience and reveals two things in our hearts:
1.) Distrust of God (his heart, his character, his love, whatever)
2.) Self-sufficiency (independence from God, self-life)
These are the foundations of Adam and Eve’s original sin, the fall and the bondage to death and sin that all men and creation are in. They are the reasons why Jesus had to die on the cross to set us free, to bring us back to life and to heal us. All my anxious rantings and yours are really a repetition of that fatal sentence uttered by Satan: “Did God really say…” Genesis 3:1
Did God really say He would take care of me and provide everything I need?
Did God really say He has a good plan for my life?
Did God really say that I’m precious to Him, that He loves me and rejoices over me?
Did God really say He would protect me?
Did God really say He works everything together for my good?
Did God really say I’m a new creation?
You get the picture. And, if you’re like me, you get the fruit too, the fruit of sin and death:
Lack of intimacy with others and God
Who in their right mind chooses this? No one! And of course, that’s the problem. We are not in our right mind when we are in any other mind but the loving, powerful mind of Christ in us. Notice that all my fears and anxiety and sin flowed from MY thoughts, those founded in MY incredibly limited understanding and MY felt needs and desires. I was not trusting and resting in God’s unlimited, powerful and compassionate love and depending on Him to care for me the way He has promised. Instead, I was walking after the flesh, relying on my own strength and my own understanding to meet my needs. I was sinning and it came as naturally as my next breath. The battle truly is for our minds and this season I lost. So did everyone in my life.
And like the Apostle Paul, I cry out “What a wretched woman I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). Then, looking at the cross, also like Paul I thank God for Jesus. Thank God for the cross. Thank God for new life. They are my only hope as I remember what has been done on the cross for me, that my sins of fear and anxiety are forgiven, I have new life in Christ and am free from sinning, the power of sin, and condemnation. You are too! And we now have a choice whether to fear or whether to trust and rest in God. And on the days when we fail, our loving Papa picks us up, comforts us, encourages us to try again and gives us his own strength and power to succeed. He’s absolutely for us and we don’t have any reason to fear.
It’s probably why there are over 367 verses in the Bible that encourage us to not be afraid. God knew fear was programmed into us, in our very DNA, when we were born in Adam (our first natural birth), and although He gave us new life through His Son (our second spiritual birth), we would continue to be embattled around fear by the enemy and in our own minds, and so He wanted us to know the Truth and be set free from fear.
Pastor Andy Stanley at NorthPoint Community Church has an excellent sermon series call The N Commandments on this very topic and I encourage you to take the time to listen and hear what God has to say to us on this topic.
And now, in obedience let us renew our minds in this vital part of our faith and relationship with God so we can stand victorious in Christ and bring glory to God our wonderful Papa. I’ve created a little booklet for you with some of my favorite verses that I’m memorizing to be armed for my next battle with fear and anxiety. Grab them and memorize them so you can be armed for yours.