I go through my day – throw a load of clothes in the wash, go for a run, wash the dishes left in the sink last night, run a few errands, take the dog out, write some words, check work emails, fill out a grant application, clean the bathroom, write out a check for the water bill, get dinner ready, relax with my hubby on the couch, fall asleep – and get ready to do it all over again tomorrow.
It all sounds very…normal, doesn’t it? Except…there’s this whole unseen world coexisting in real time along with my daily activities. Sometimes I’m aware of it. Sometimes I’m not.
Fear loves to come alongside my day-to-day life and whisper in my ears; but God’s well-formed love banishes fear and proclaims truth. Often, I can remain so buried in my daily activities – the laundry, the errands, the tasks to be accomplished – that I don’t recognize the whispers of fear for what they truly are. They simply seem to be thoughts flitting through my head. Other times, I don’t recognize God’s truth for the power that it is. It simply seems to be words on a page as I check off ‘quiet time’ from my list of things to do.
But what happens when I slow down, open my eyes, my ears and pay attention? The curtain is slowly lifted and I begin to see behind the scenes. There’s more to those whispers of fear that we talked about yesterday than meets the eye. Paul writes to the church in Philippi this explanation as some of them dealt with fearful situations:
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm…and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. ~Ch. 1, v. 27-28
Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, gives this eye-opening description of what happens when we choose truth over fear:
Every time we are victorious over a fear issue, what is broadcast on the PA system of hell is pending doom, absolute impending judgement. They try to get you and I to fear so they don’t have to think about what’s coming.
Wow. Just…wow. Gals (and guys!), those whispers of fear – that you’re not enough or that you don’t have what it takes – those are NOT just random thoughts. As children of God, we have an enemy who is terrified, not only of what would happen if you and I became fully who God created us to be, but of what is eventually going to be their destruction. Fear is the enemy’s distraction technique. And we are so easily distracted, aren’t we? I know I am. The situations and circumstances surrounding us grab for our attention, and it is so easy to focus on the impossibilities, the lack, the what-ifs.
But, every time we choose to stand on God’s truth instead of listening to the whisper of fear, we turn our enemy’s distraction technique back on him. He is reminded that in the end, he loses. In the end, God wins. Hope wins. We win.
It’s a defiant act – choosing love and God’s truth. Basically giving the enemy the finger, if you’ll permit the comparison (and let’s be honest, who HASN’T felt like doing that at some point?).
But true love, God’s love, is strong; and sometimes strength means paying attention, pulling back the curtains and being defiant in the face of fear.