Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On the Road Again - OVERCOMING FEAR

… fear has to do with punishment.
- 1 John 4:18

What do any of us really understand about fear? Somewhere between learning to endure with joy and exhausting my pride resides overcoming fear.

Fear may come about from concern for dangerous circumstances. But, it’s the fear of not measuring up that “packs a wallop” in the crevices of our souls.

On my bike, I begin to grow fearful of not measuring up when my technique of “chunking” begins to falter and my mental strength grows weak. Condemning thoughts begin to creep in causing my physical strength to wane. I’m tired and increasingly not interested in persevering with joy. Fear is now the greatest enemy of my ride.

In life, this kind of fear will look like reactional outburst. This week my mental and spiritual strength wavered as I grew increasingly irritated being placed in the middle of a feud between friends (James 4:1).  

In my human strength, I fall short. In my human sight, I see only the brokenness in people. In the Spirit, I have the strength and wisdom to truly see and respond to everyone with love.

We all recognize Jesus was whipped, spit on, slandered, lied to, and yet; He was without reactional behaviors. 

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;
- Isaiah 53:7

For real, He did not open His mouth? Who does that? Jesus. If I want to grow in His likeness (Philippians 2), I am to not open my mouth when “punched, slandered, or lied to” (Micah 6:8) not in reaction, anyway.

Fear has a lot to do with punishment. If you see God as an enforcer of justice and not also a God of mercy and grace, you make Him out to be something He is not. He is perfectly just and perfectly love at the same time.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
- 1 John 4:18

Perfect love casts out fear. Jesus (God in flesh – John 1:1-19) died for my sin. Jesus died for your sin. By His blood WE are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5). Now, this is love.

BUT, we must come before Him in humble repentance (everybody forgets this part – James 4:6-10). He is Holy and Just and LOVE. When your head is buried in the sand, no measure of reconciliation can occur (no resurrection). Not with God, and not with others.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
- Proverbs 9:10

The Hebrew word for “the fear” in this context means reverence. I am in awestruck wonder of Jesus’ redeeming work on the cross – “Wheeee!”

I am not cowering in fear of His wrath but in awe of His love. It is His love that convinces me to exhaust my pride and come in humble repentance.

So, on my bike the only way to overcome the fear of not measuring up is to exhaust myself of my pride (next week’s blog). In life, this looks like repentance. On my bike, I have to consider who I am trying to measure up to … a trophy, my peer, my expectation.

My prayer is this … Jesus’ death is the free gift of grace (Ephesians 1:7) … let us,

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To HIM be glory both now and forever! Amen.
- 2 Peter 3:18

This is the fourth post in a six week series on hill climbing. Be sure to read the ENTIRE series ... On the Road Again

If you enjoyed this blog series you may also enjoy the series ... Open Road, Narrow Path
To learn more about how to experience God in your everyday life read The Whee Factor.


Anonymous said...

This is so true! Why am I so quick to let satan use fear to keep me doing the wrong thing - like not reconciling with someone? And so slow to allow loving reverence for Christ to inspire me to do the right thing? Thank you God for the strength to do well and for your grace when I don't.

Anonymous said...

God's perfect love - His perfect sacrifice of His perfect Son for MY sins casts out my fears. If he loves me that much why in the world should I be concerned with not measuring up? To God my worth was equal to the life of His Son.