Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fear and Faith Colide

Today, as I was reading and studying for our women’s fellowship this weekend, I came across a few words that pricked my heart.  The other day, I talked about Daniel and how he had “purposed in his heart” to follow God and to not waiver from that. The Lord brought this lesson home for me today.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:15 that we are to, “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise.” Circumspectly is the first word that jumped out at me. My bible translates circumspectly as careful, but the Lord took me a little deeper. To “walk circumspectly” means “to live carefully.., deviating in no respect from the law of duty.” We need to walk with purpose and direction, not wavering in our resolve to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as Daniel, “purposed in his heart” to follow the Lord God, no matter what the King, eunuchs or anyone else said, we too as believers are to walk.
I have been struggling with a few things in my life that the Lord has asked for me to lay down, to let go of and to walk away from. Both of these things take me away from Him, are not healthy for me, nor are they good for me- spiritually or physically, but to lay them down has been extremely difficult. After today, however, He has given me hope- hope that I can do this through Him, that I can lay down that which He is requiring of me. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
To “walk circumspectly” means that we need to walk in a specific direction, with purpose, with our eyes on one thing- that which He has called us to. Vines Expository Dictionary states this as, “the whole round of activities of the individual life”, nothing is to knock us off our course, and we are to allow nothing to stop us. But there is always that one thing that gets me, every time I try to start this walk, every time I start to “lay down” that which He has requested, and that is fear. The fear of failure, the fear of the unknown, the fear of not understanding, the fear of fear! Fear is the biggest obstacle we face in our lives. Yes, we doubt, we sin, we do some pretty stupid stuff, but most of all, we let fear stop us from being who He has called us to be.
Did you know that God says “Do not be afraid, do not fear” 365 times in His word. How many days are in a year? 365. The Lord God is telling us everyday “do not fear, do not be afraid”. He knows the one thing that stops us from having that purpose in our hearts, that exact direction is fear. It trips us up at least once a day (well, for me at least that is true). When the Lord called me to leave my full time job, loose all that income and follow Him- what stopped me for three months? Fear.
When God called Abraham to come out of his comfort zone and to follow Him, what did Abraham do? He walked and did as was asked. Why? How? Why did Abraham just get up and go? Because he knew who God was, He trusted God with every aspect of His life- he did not doubt, at least not right away. But sooner or later, fear snuck into Abraham. Just as it sneaks into our hearts and causes us to lose sight of where we are going, and how we are to be walking. So, how did Abraham do it? How do we do it as believers? How can we walk without fear, how can we follow the Lord in every aspect of our day without fear? That is a very good question, and one I am still learning myself. But Paul gives us the areas in our lives that we are to focus on, that we are to walk circumspectly- without fear.
Paul tells us that we should not fear, but that we should walk carefully “in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4) We have the God of all, the God who created heaven, earth, and everything we  taste, smell, feel and see- if we trust Him, there is no need to fear. We are to walk purposefully “after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4) We have the Spirit of God living on the inside of us- the God who created all, and is all, and is in all- what have we to fear if He dwells within us? We are to walk “in honesty” (Rom. 13:13), being real with God will help us with our fears. He knows the fears that we have, the daily struggles that we face. God does not “react” to any situation. He is not surprised by anything- He already knew it was going to happen, and has already paved the way before us- why then do we fear? Next, we are to walk circumspectly “by faith” (2 Cor. 5:7) Fear and Faith cannot go together. If the Lord has told you to do something, to step out in faith on something, but you are fearful, worried (which is another form of fear) then you are not walking by faith, but you are now walking by sight. And we know that we are to walk by faith and not by sight. Fear causes us to take our eyes off of Him- the Creator, the Almighty; the One True God- faith brings our eyes back into focus.
Paul goes on to tell us that we are to walk in “good works” (Eph.2:10) If God has called you to do something- of course it is good- then why are we not doing it? I am sure you know my answer by now- fear. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” If we trust and do not fear, but we know that He has prepared the way for us to walk, then the walking part gets easier. But if we fear, we will not walk, but instead will grow stagnant and less likely to move when the Lord says move.
Lastly, and these are hard ones for me- we are to walk in love (Eph. 5:2), in wisdom, (Col. 4:5) and in truth (2 John 1:4). I am still learning these. But this is a journey, we are sojourners and pilgrims in this land, we do not belong here. But we cannot allow fear to keep us from following in the way that He is calling us to go. My lesson for myself today is that I am letting fear- the fear of failure and the fear of the unknown- causes me to live in disobedience. When the Lord asked me to lay these things down, I agreed and told Him “I will” but then left my prayer closet and picked them right back up.
Perhaps you too are struggling with an area of your life that the Lord has clearly told you to let go of, or perhaps you are stuck at a green light, the Lord has told you to go, and you are still sitting waiting for the light to change it’s mind. Whatever it is that you and the Lord have been wrestling over- may we be free today to say, “Lord, I am scared. I am fearful.” And may we grasp hold of the promise that He gives to us today- “Do not be afraid, do not fear- for I am the Lord Your God, and I will show you the way in which you should go. Trust in Me, and I will bring you through.” May we all lay down our fears today and mount up on His wings, allowing Him to bring us to the end of our pilgrimage, to the purpose and direction of our walks- Jesus Christ, and His glory. Amen!