I admit that although I accepted Christ more than 25 years ago, for most of that time I have been praying in fear and not in faith. For some reason, and I cannot for the life of me tell you why I just didn’t believe that the blessings of God belonged to me. Even though I believe in him and in the sanctifying saving power of his grace. I just did not think that he could overcome my genetic code and save me, change me into the woman he needed me to be to teach his people. Maybe I just did not think I was good enough, after all, I was a poor nobody with no connections. Who was I to hear his voice and teach his word?
So, when obstacles came my way, and sometimes it was as though they were non-stop. I worried and tried with all my might to change my circumstances using my own power. I did not want to trust and believe only to be let down because my prayers were unanswered, or God said no. This behavior not only decreased my ability to get a prayer through to the Lord. It also reduced the depth of the relationship I so desperately wanted to have with him. Hebrews 11:6 reads, “and without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” My fear of being let down and disappointed made it impossible for me to please God and to obtain the rewards he so wanted to give me.
I do have to tell you that even in my disbelief and disobedience the Lord continued to love me and bless me beyond anything I could hope for or imagine. You would think that this would be enough to move me from fear to faith. But it was not. Albert Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That is precisely what my life had become, a wild roller coaster ride of me wallowing in fear and then trying to use those fear-based emotions to change my situation.
It wasn’t until I was at a dead end that I begin to listen to the Lord. I was out of money, unemployed, and alone. I cried myself to sleep at night, and when I allowed myself to think of what my children must think of me, fresh tears emerged, and I had no strength left in me to turn them off. I heard the Holy Spirit say, “acknowledge him.” I thought to myself, what have I got to lose. I have nothing. No income, no connections, no resources. Looking back, I see how backward my thinking had become. I thought God wouldn’t bless me, because I had nothing. And here I was with nothing, and there he stood with his arms open wide waiting for me to just acknowledge him. “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6 Oh, the time I wasted.
I am praying that you learn these lessons quicker than I did. First, the Lord did not give us the spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 You will probably always feel a little bit of fear, or maybe even a lot as you move in your purpose and began to do things that you never thought you could do. Just know that it is normal and that God is with you all the way. Nothing significant happens in our comfort zones. Great things occur when we move beyond what we thought possible.
The good news is that our creator knows what we can do because he has equipped us with all the gifts and talents we need. The prophet Isaiah proclaims, “Listen, far-flung islands, pay attention, faraway people: GOD put me to work from the day I was born. The moment I entered the world he named me. He gave me speech that would cut and penetrate. He kept his hand on me to protect me. He made me his straight arrow and hid me in his quiver. He said to me, “You’re my dear servant, Israel, through whom I’ll shine.” Isaiah 49:1 (The MSG)
Secondly, faith is not an emotion. Faith is not something you feel, it is something you do. Even when you cannot see the outcome, you must have faith that God knows what he is doing and that nothing that happens to you will take him by surprise. The just shall walk by faith. (Romans 1:17) Because, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. (Hebrews 11:1) Faith requires you to move sometimes without the benefit of a safety net that you can see, but our God who has written your name in the palm of his hands will not let you fall. Isaiah 49:16 You do not need a lot of faith, just a small amount of faith that is strong and true can move mountains. (Matthew 12:20)
Three, disobedience is never an option. Even when you are afraid you cannot disobey God. Disobedience brings only death and destruction. It separates you from God and moves you out of his will. It delays your progress and your success. It delays the message that someone is waiting for you to deliver. Disobedience cancels out faith and has dire consequences. Just ask the Israelites who wondered in the desert for 40 years because they did not listen to the Lord. (Joshua 5:6) They died without seeing the promise land. Are you willing to risk that in your or your family’s future?
Four, God loves you. This is by far the most important revelation. Knowing that he loves you will strengthen your faith and lower the possibility that you will be disobedient. Because of his love, you will want to please him. You will look forward to waking up each day without regret. Now, all this sounds wonderful, but I will not be the one to sugar coat this journey. It was hard getting from fear to faith. I had spent many years walking in fear. I had to put myself and my emotions aside. But, each day it gets easier. Just do one thing each day that the Lord has asked, you to do and you will move closer to him.
Remember he loves you. Pray in that love, pray in the knowledge that no matter what you have done, no matter where you are in your walk, that God loves you and that will never change. His love is perfect and perfect love casts out fear. Pray in faith, and your fear will diminish. (1 John 4:18)
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