Sunday, October 16, 2011
Sometimes I tell my hubby that I wish we could move to a village in some far away jungle with native people who make their own clothes and harvest their own food. Sometimes, I want a quiet life on hill with no worldly responsibilities like mortgages, school uniforms, medical insurance, debit cards and gas guzzling vehicles on crowded highways… Sometimes, I want a simple life void of this worlds many distractions, politics and economics. And sometimes, I fear less… We all have fears. We fear failure. We fear success. We fear poverty. We fear death. We fear, but we were not created to. Fear imagines itself greater than it should. It masks itself as responsibility and preparedness. It says, “do this” but it can’t. It says, go to school, get job, get married and find happiness with no self assuredness and no real way of attaining its goal. It says, I’m brave, I’m confident, all the while feeling dread and loneliness. This is fear. It has no power, except what we give it. And that is the real shame. I have learned from the word the Lord that perfect love puts fear out of our hearts. When we have been made perfect in the love of God then we can live fearless lives. I said to the Lord today, “You complete me,” you make every component of my being, my spirit, my mind and my body secure. I do not fear because you, Lord, are my hiding place. I dwell with you and you dwell with me. We are one. The perfect love of God is unfailing, His love does not fail and it is the knowledge of that love that keeps fear in its place. The word teaches us that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of Power, Love and a Good Mind. Instead of the fear of failure, Christ gives us the power to succeed. Instead of the fear of lack, Christ fills us with the spirit of love – the knowledge of God or the “knowing” of God’s nature, to be intimately acquainted with Him enough to “Know” that he will not allow you to lack anything you need. The bible says that if you lack wisdom to ask and he will give it to you liberally without finding fault. Instead of the fear of death or sickness, the Lord promises to give us a good mind, free from the anxieties and stresses of life. Scripture teaches that the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. Where are the strongholds? In the mind. Conflict is a necessary part of life. It is on the battlefield that we discover the warrior inside of us. It is the place where giants are defeated. It is in the face of fear, that we discover who we really are. Who we really are, is who God created us to be? We were not created to fear, but to worship. You might say, is God that insecure? That He needs people to worship him. Well, no. He doesn’t need our worship. We need our worship because we were created for it. You say, explain. And I will. Your vehicle was created to be driven. It requires a number of things in order to work. One of things necessary is fuel or its alternative, but whatever the science behind the mechanics of a working vehicle, we can agree that fuel is necessary for it to work. You can put sugar in it if you want, but you won’t get very far. And sure, you car will still be a car but it’s potential and or purpose will not be fulfilled without the proper maintenance. And so it is with you and I. The Lord is our creator. He created us in his image and in his likeness. We are not mere flesh and blood, but spirit. And like Him, our spirit is not fulfilled with natural sources of energy, like food and water but with spiritual sources of energy. The source of our energy is Christ. Jesus said, whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have life that last forever. Jesus wasn’t a vampire, but a Savior to a dying and lost world. In the context of the scripture, found in John chapter 6, Jesus is having a meal with His disciples and he is teaching them a principle. At the beginning of this same chapter, Jesus performs a miracle of multiplication. He makes a few loaves feed a multitude of people. Later, in the same chapter he walks on water. But to his disciples, he makes a beautiful case. He says, “I am the bread life and whoever comes to me will never hunger and will never thirst,” and then he says, “And the bread that I give is my flesh.” I know this is hard to understand, even his disciples said, “This teaching is too hard. Who can listen to it?” But Jesus replied, “The words I speak to you are spirit and life.” In other words, this word I speak is for your spirit and if you feed your spirit you will live and not die. You can not deprive your spirit of what it needs and expect to live fully…completely. Worship is what you were created to do. It is how you feed your spirit and discover who you really are. Who you really are is not what you see on the outside but who you are inside. It is on the battlefield that we discover who we really are; but the battle is not a fist fight. It is a faith fight. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of our testimony. Jesus is the Lamb that was slain for our sins. In the Hebrew culture, there were ceremonies and sacrifices made for the atonement of sin. A lamb was often used as a sacrifice. The priest would pray for the person bringing the offering (lamb) and would pray that God would not look at the person’s sins but rather the sins of that man/woman would be transferred to the animal, who was then killed/sacrificed. The penalty for sin is death. And so, people would make sin offerings to make themselves clean again. Imagine, that. For every sin committed, a sacrifice was needed. But Christ, came to be that sin offering for the entire world… once and for all. He shed his blood and became a living sacrifice for us all to have relationship with the Father. We are no longer accused or guilty because of the blood Jesus shed. He is the Lamb of God. So, we overcome fear, not by hiding, but through confrontation. And we confront fear, with our faith in Christ. It’s a battle that has you already been won. This morning I was reminded of Johnny Cochran, “if the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.” I said, “Lord, you know I was guilty. I was a mess, Lord. But you defended me. Christ was my defense. I should have gotten the death penalty. But because of your goodness. Because of your unfailing love, I received an opportunity. You gave me freedom. You gave me life. You sent your word to me when I was in the prison of my mind and you saved me! And because of your salvation, I am free.” I told the Lord, “I don’t prescribe to the order of this world. I have made life choices that make no sense to the average person. Faith never makes sense to the unbelieving, but that’s okay. I trust you Lord. What should have happened to me hasn’t happened because the glove doesn’t fit. Poverty doesn’t fit me. Guilt doesn’t fit me. Fear doesn’t fit me. Sickness doesn’t fit me. Depression doesn’t fit me…so You must acquit. Case closed. Battle won.” Many of us our in a place in our lives that we don’t want to be in. I don’t want a thankless job. I don’t want to be unemployed. I don’t want to be sick. I don’t want these bills. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want these hard headed kids. I don’t want the IRS. I don’t want this addiction. I don’t want these FEARS. And the Lord, is saying to and I, “So do not fear, for I am with you: do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid …I complete you, says the Lord. I make you whole again. What you lack, I will be the God who makes up the difference. Give me what you have, put it in my hands, and I will multiply my strength in you… I will multiply my joy in you… you will overflow with the love that I have for you. Trust me now, and know that I am the Lord, Unfailing Love, Prince of Peace, Almighty… Your creator. You were not created to be fearful, but fearless.