Fear lies. Fear puts you in a cage that you think you're supposed to live in. Fear treats you like you deserve it's wrath, and all to often we believe it to be true and submit to it's menacing dominion. But here is the truth; FEAR only has the amount of authority you give to it.
TRUTH: There is NO FEAR in LOVE. Period.
So what are you dwelling in? FEAR or LOVE? You have a choice.
Psalm 91:1-2 NIV1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Let's pause there. When we dwell - ON PURPOSE in the SHELTER of the MOST HIGH, then we find REST in the Shadow of THE ALMIGHTY. From that place of rest and dwelling, we then have an understanding and deep revelation that we can TRUST Him as our only true REFUGE and FORTRESS. And just who is The Most High, Almighty Lord that we love, serve and dwell in??? He is LOVE. When you dwell in Him, you dwell in LOVE and fear has no authority to touch you.
1 John 4:18 NIV18 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.
Fear may come knocking at your door, it may even try to say it has a familiar place in your life, but you can serve fear it's divorce papers because it cannot tie itself to you any longer - as long as you dwell in true love. Just look at the promises that go on and on and on in Psalm 91:3-7 after you consciously and pointedly CHOOSE to dwell in the shelter of the Most High...
3 "Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you."
Do you see that!?!?! When you dwell in the safe place... In the shelter, strong tower, and fortress of love... YOU WILL NOT FEAR! A thousand may fall at your side, then thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you! IT'S A PROMISE!
But what are you choosing to dwell in? Is it your fears or your circumstances? Do you dwell in negativity, un-forgivness and offense? Do you dwell in your lack, pain or bitterness? Because they will become your shelter, refuge and fortress if you choose them over dwelling in the safe place of The Almighty.
But how? How do we get good at dwelling in God's shelter instead of making tents of our own devices to dwell in?
Romans 13:13-14 NIV "13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh."
Okay, so this get's super practical. I love how black and white the bible is sometimes. In essence, don't do the obvious things that won't get you anywhere and only build a fortress of self gratification. Rather clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ.
What does that even mean? Do I make a Jesus outfit and get dressed in it everyday? No! Please don't do that. In the Greek this literally means to "get dressed in" Christ. You wouldn't just wake up in the morning and say; "You know what... I don't feel like wearing clothes to work today." If you did do that, I can almost guarantee that on your way to work you would get arrested and thrown into jail. The truth is, in the spiritual when we don't "get dressed" in Christ - we are arrested by every power and principality that comes after us when we walk out of our homes "spiritually necked". Sometimes we wonder why we're so assaulted with dark thoughts and negative thinking... Well, did you put on Christ today?
How do we put on Christ and combat fear?
1.) Read the word of God
I know this is almost WAY to super simple. But to know how God thinks, you've got to read His words. They are right there for the taking every single moment of your life. When you choose to read the word of God, you will begin to understand His ways, thoughts, actions and purpose for your life. Every morning as you take in His life giving words and nature, you will begin to put them on instead of your fears or worries.
Again, super simple yet super necessary to kick fear in the teeth. A lot of times we call this our "devotional" or "devotions" - but devotion is a lifestyle, not just a 30 minute section of time you allot for God each day. He is always present and available to talk to AND to hear from. We can so easily take for granted the fact that when Jesus breathed his last breath, the veil that separated us from Gods presence was torn in two, granting each and every one of us complete and total access to Him around the clock. That is a privilege I don't ever want to take for granted or sequester into a time slot.
Psalm 103:1 NIV “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.”
Worship isn't just for the people with good voices or for an allotted time in a church service. It's something we put on and make a lifestyle.
Charles Spurgeon wrote a beautiful exposition on verse one of Psalm 103. May his words go deep into your spirit. May they cause you to rise up and give God all that you are—heart and soul. To praise Him all the days of your life no matter how you feel or what you see. He is worthy of our love, adoration, and praise! I truly believe that as worship becomes our chosen lifestyle, fear will have no place to reside in the recesses of our spirit.
“Bless the Lord O my soul. Soul music is the very soul of music. The Psalmist strikes the best keymote when he begins with stirring up his inmost self to magnify the Lord. He soliloquizes, holds self-communion and exhorts himself, as though he felt that dulness would all too soon steal over his faculties, as, indeed, it will over us all, unless we are diligently on the watch. Jehovah is worthy to be praised by us in that highest style of adoration which is intended by the term bless—"All thy works praise thee, O God, but thy saints shall bless thee." Our very life and essential self should be engrossed with this delightful service, and each one of us should arouse his own heart to the engagement. Let others forbear if they can: "Bless the Lord, O MY soul." Let others murmur, but do thou bless. Let others bless themselves and their idols, but do thou bless the LORD. Let others use only their tongues, but as for me I will cry, "Bless the Lord, O my soul." And all that is within me, bless his holy name. Many are our faculties, emotions, and capacities, but God has given them all to us, and they ought all to join in chorus to his praise. Half-hearted, ill-conceived, unintelligent praises are not such as we should render to our loving Lord. If the law of justice demanded all our heart and soul and mind for the Creator, much more may the law of gratitude put in a comprehensive claim for the homage of our whole being to the God of grace.”
I don't know about you, but this causes me to want to shake off any apathy, and stir up all that is within me to put my whole being into worshiping God, no matter how I feel.
I believe that when you continually apply the above three things in your life to intentionally 'put on' Christ, they all combine to be a power punch in the face of fear.
Look, you may be thinking 'this is all too simple and basic'. Yes, maybe it is... but it works. Many times, out of necessity, I've had to live this stuff out and its saved my life. I have faced fears that will remain between me and God for eternity. One thing I know, is that as I have trusted in Him, and Him alone to be my refuge, fortress and very present help in time of need, HE has come through every time. He has protected and rescued me with His DEEP LOVE. And because of that, I so deeply love Him.
Psalm 91:14-16 NIV“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble,I will deliver him and honor him.16 With long life I will satisfy himand show him my salvation.”
Just remember: Fear is a Jerk. It's a big fat Liar. Fear only has the amount of authority that you give to it.Starve it out by dwelling in God's perfect LOVE.
* Some images from Pinterest