January 12, 2019
Scare Pollution: Unlocking the Chokehold of Fear (Part 1)
Below you will find an audio of the devotion being read for you, followed by the written devotion. Listen on the go, listen as you read along, or enjoy reading it without the audio. God bless!
Fear is a self imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be. You must move against it with the weapons of faith and love. – Rick Warren
So Many Fears
“Most of us battle a variety of fears each day: losing our job, getting sick, running out of money, going bankrupt, getting a divorce, being betrayed by those we love. The more fear we allow into our lives, the more we struggle to grow spiritually. It’s like trying to plant an apple orchard in downtown L.A. The smog and air pollution is going to rob the saplings of the precious oxygen they need and contaminate their water supply. Fear poisons us a little each day if we don’t face it head-on and nullify its power.
Interestingly enough, when human babies are born, we have only two natural fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. This means that all those other things we’re afraid of are learned fears, fears we’ve accumulated, mostly through experience. Like a pack on our back that accumulates into a burden the size of a dumpster, our fears weigh us down and prevent us from traveling through life with speed and grace.” (1)
A Fearful Man with a Mighty Mission
It was during a period of great famine and impoverishment, that a man named Gideon was chosen to deliver Israel from the bondage of other nations. The Midianites, Amalekites, and others from the east had forced Israel into the mountains to make their dwellings in dens and caves. Any livestock or produce that Israel gained was quickly destroyed. Therefore, when Gideon was found secretly threshing wheat in a winepress, it was probably because he had no other choice.
And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Judges 6:12
The title given to Gideon, mighty man of valor, didn’t seem to line up with Gideon’s perception. There he was, hiding in a winepress, trying to survive, and God was addressing him as a “mighty man of valor.”
Gideon, along with the rest of Israel, was oppressed, fearful, and nearly defeated. So, to be called a mighty man of valor just didn’t resonate.
O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ Judges 6:13
Funny that Gideon did not view the miracles God performed in the past as encouraging, but discouraging. You can do that for them, but what about us? God you can use that person, but what about me? Where are the miracles in my life?
It was as if he couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that God, the Creator of the universe, was choosing and equipping him to do a mighty thing for His people.
If God is calling us to do something, He is going to equip us with the grace and the gifts to do it. He just needs us to be obedient! He needs us to stop cowering in fear, step out and do it!
What mighty calling from the Lord do we struggle with most? What list of weaknesses do we make for ourselves; weaknesses that we believe invalidate us from serving God in a mighty way? What arguments do we make with the Lord when He calls us to step out of the comfort zone of our “winepresses?”
-I couldn’t possibly accomplish that!
-Someone else would do a much better job.
-I don’t have the strength, the smarts, the resources, etc.
-It would require too much.
God often uses the weak, the fearful, the ill-equipped. In fact, it is in our very weaknesses that He is strong! It is in our fearfulness that He proves Himself more than able. And, it is in our lack that He equips us to do exactly what He’s called us to do.
I suggest making a list of every weakness you can think of. Write them down. Present it to the Lord in prayer. Then, wait in wonderful expectation for Him to take those weaknesses and say, “Rise up, mighty one of valor. I have chosen you for this exact thing.” Watch Him begin to work in your life to overcome those weaknesses as you fully surrender to Him.
Activate Your Faith
Our theme for 2019 is Activate Your Faith. I understand there are many things that can prevent us from doing the will of God, including – carnality, selfishness, apathy, and distraction – but fear is often at the root of our reluctance.
When fear begins to whisper defeat and discouragement, let’s activate your faith through praise and worship. When our mission seems impossible, let’s go to our Savior, because with Him, nothing is impossible. If He is calling us to do it, we can do it! There is no greater life than a life surrendered to the Lord.
Be set free from fear today in the precious name of Jesus.
(1) Groeschel, Craig. Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World (p. 143). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
(2) https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/bible-study-minute/gideon-a-fearful-man-with-a-mighty-mission-bible-study-minute-march-6-2018.html