Fear and Trembling

My last post was about how justice is different from fairness and because God is just He can’t be mad at us.  Then today Paul Ellis posted part two on the wrath of God.  You must read his post.  It is amazing.  He says some very profound things that I hope he doesn’t mind I quote.  Here are a few:

“Because of Jesus, God will never be angry with your sin again.”

“I’m saying a just God cannot condemn sin in you when he has already condemned sin in Jesus.”

“His wrath is a reaction to those things which are opposed to Him.”

“Ungodliness is not bad behavior.  Ungodliness is unbelief in the grace of a good God.”

“We all receive either grace or wrath and the choice is ours.”

I could go on and on but you should read his post instead.  I don’t want to get too much out of context.

What I want to share instead is something that God has put on my heart over the last few days and now all this post stuff really brings it to light.  I had a good friend comment on “Fairness or Justice” and said the most profound thing.  He said that perfect love casts out fear but fear is not the opposite of love.  God’s love has no opposite.  He said the opposite of fear is Grace.  Now I really like that thought.  In the context of all this I feel God wanted me to find out more about fear so here we are.

I rented the movie “After Earth” this weekend.  I saw it in the theater and had to see it again when it was available.  It didn’t do that well in the theater.  I don’t understand all that but the movie impacted me profoundly.  If you haven’t seen it, no worries I wont spoil it for you.  The plot involves landing on Earth in a distant future and space travel and all that cool science fiction stuff but the movie is really about fear.  The basic idea is that fear can be overcome by “fixing yourself in the present moment.”  Will Smith’s character says “fear is a product of the imagination.”  He says we are in a story and our imagination looks to the next moment and that is where fear is born.  I really like that and I believe you would agree.  Fear is born out of the uncertainty of your future.  You are afraid of some next moment that draws you away from the present moment.  So what does this have to do with wrath and justice and all that stuff?

Please read Paul’s post.  His explanation of wrath is so powerful.  Go back and read my last post where I talked about how God can’t be mad at you.  Now let me ask you a simple question…what does it mean to fear the Lord?  I wrote a post about what I think it means called “Inadequate.”  So now add this new understanding of wrath and justice and what do you get?  I think we are stepping into a new understanding.  I believe we are defeating the lies of the enemy all over the place.  I am believing that fear as the world defines it is purely a product of satan’s deception.  Think about it.  What do we have to be afraid of?

God says we have an endless supply of His provision.  He gives bread and fish instead of stones and snakes.  He clothes us and feeds us.  He has given us Himself.  He has a perfect plan for our future.  He has taken care of our past.  He has removed every obstacle to a blessed and grace-filled future.  So what do we have to be afraid of?

I believe it boils down to surrender and trust.  Paul said this to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 2:3 And I was in (passed into a state of) weakness and fear (dread) and great trembling [after I had come] among you. (AMP)

Then he says this:

1 Corinthians 2:4 And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom (AMP)

And then in the second half of verse 4 and verse 5 he says this:

1 Corinthians 2:4b…but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them], 5 So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God. (AMP)

Come on!  Do you see it?  Inadequate.  Paul was afraid in his own effort, understood his limitations but knew that his surrender was proof of the power of the Holy Spirit.  That is a healthy “fear” when we realize our inadequacy and rely on His power instead.

In all cases we have an opportunity to surrender and trust in God and His promises.  There may be feelings of inadequacy or apprehension about your ability but we can rest in the confidence of His ability.  God is our provider.

So what about when fear creeps in?  Realize first it cannot be a fear of God and punishment, not possible.  Then it has to come from the enemy.  He doesn’t want you to trust in God.  He wants you to be afraid of God.  In that place you won’t draw near to Papa.  You won’t rely on Him.  You won’t surrender to Him.  It is the master plan of the enemy.  So instead of surrendering to fear, surrender to God.  Look the enemy square in the face and ask him this question as you point over your shoulder “Have you met my Dad?”  The enemy is a bunch of bullies and liars.  They have no power other than to try to turn you away from the most loving God you can imagine.  Let’s put an end to fear.  Let’s turn to grace instead.  Let’s stick it to the enemy and all that religious spirit stuff.  So I say bring in the body-guard, stand your ground and firmly place your heel on his head!

Yay God!

Lance

Grace Surrender

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