Post 90 / Director's Vision, The Next Language
May 17, 2022
Pick Your Fears Carefully
I have come to believe that God has given us everything we need for mental health. I have also come to believe that the majority of spiritual warfare and failure in missionary service and interpersonal relationships is because of the mismanagement of our minds. I have known relationships to disintegrate based on nothing more than suspicions and imaginations. God holds us responsible for the elements that we allow to control our minds or to which we dedicate the use of our minds.
Thus we get injunctions to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” [Phl 2:5 KJV]
Paul says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” [Rom 12:2 KJV]
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” [2Co 10:5 KJV]
Peter says, “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy [are ye]: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear…” [1Pe 3:14 KJV]
Here is an injunction to both not fear and to fear. What we are not to fear is the terrors that occupy the world around us. In this case Caesar. Some commentators believe Peter was obliquely referring to the Caesar as something that was not to be feared. Nor are we to fear suffering- but to rejoice! What is to be feared is the answer you give to men about your hope.
Even in their prayers the Chinese Christians thank God for their suffering and ask God to allow just what they need to be pure and to be prepared for taking the Gospel to the lost. I do not hear prayers like this in western prayer meetings.
Another fear to shed is that of death. “That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” [Heb 2:14-15 KJV]
Fear of death is a spiritual bondage that I believe was very evident in the global reaction to the Corona Virus. Even though the evident death rates were less than 1% this pandemic controlled the world for more than two years. This could not have been possible except that the general populace did not wish to die.
My friend Luis Sanchez was converted from shamanism under the tutelage of another converted Embena shaman in Colombia and he lived for months with demon attacks at night threatening to kill him. It was the above verses from Hebrews that broke that nuisance and fear forever.
A common documented phrase from current Iranian Christians is, “Death before disobedience.”
Christ broke the power of death and by His resurrection introduced a new kind of life that eventually promises us new bodies that will never die. In the meantime we enjoy a new kind of life in a dying body.
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God…” [Rev 3:14 KJV]
Have you given much thought to the fact that Jesus was and is “the Beginning of the creation of God?” That means that “in Him” we are part of that creation. We are recreated. We know that the physical part of that recreation comes when we get our new bodies but we can only deduce that the part of the new creation happening in us now is non physical. Consequently what we choose to do with our minds and spirits is hugely consequential.
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” [Heb 4:1 KJV]
Having told us what not to fear in Heb 2 the author moves on to tell us what we should be fearing. Using the history lesson of the Israelites in the wilderness on the verge of entering the promised land -the place of rest and victory- they are warned to not fall short because of unbelief. We are enjoined to mix God’s Word to us with faith instead of doubt or disobedience or we “fall short”. How many of us are content to wander in circles enjoying daily provisions (mana) and the daily manifold presence of God in the cloud and in the tabernacle, but fall short of fulfilling God’s eternal purposes and fruitfulness represented by obediently walking into the face of the “giants” and into the victories God has waiting? This is not about salvation in the ultimate sense but about faith-based obedience and victorious living. We should fear falling short of that more than we fear death or love life itself.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…” [Eph 6:12-18 KJV]
Note how much of the armor in our spiritual war is intangible- “Truth, Righteousness, Preparation of the Gospel, Faith, Salvation, Word of God.” This all equips us to “stand” and “pray” against the intangibles such as “principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places.”
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” [1Pe 5:7 KJV]
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” [Phl 4:6-7 KJV]
God sets before us choices. Choices that cannot be ignored. Choices for which we will be held responsible and following which we will inherit the consequences.
I can choose to worry, or I can choose to pray.
I can choose to plan and act on suspicions or imagined motives of others and react in fear, or I can faithfully do the next right thing in love.
I can choose to believe the whispers in my ear that say I am not ok (lies), or I can believe the truth that I am a son of the King.
I can choose to believe that what God wants me to do is impossible, or I can believe that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” [Phl. 4:13 KJV]
I can fear God, or I can fear man and covid (and accept vaccinations).
I can fear terrorists or political insecurity, or I can believe that God is my “refuge.” [Deu 33:27 KJV] “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge.” [Pro 14:26 KJV]
I can fear death, or I can obediently believe God for the impossibilities He calls me to. “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and hope to the end…” [1Pe 1:13 KJV]
I can choose, when faced with intentional abuse or slander, to thank God for His creative big picture purposes, or I can choose self pity. Consider Joseph, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.” [Gen 50:20 KJV]
What will you choose?
Larry DeVilbiss | Executive Director
Global Recordings Network USA
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