FAITH – GOD IS NOT INTIMIDATED
AUTHOR – BILL TAYLOR
COPYRIGHT 2017 – BILL TAYLOR
PUBLISHED BY BILL TAYLOR AT Shakespir
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Special thanks to Shila and Pragna for their encouragement and inspiration
Fear – Where Do We Get It ?
Romans 8 – 15: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out Abba, Father”.
Why is it that many followers of our Lord insist on continuing to update us on all the things we need to be fearful about? The latest “this or that” is constantly on their lips.
It’s becoming “strangely” predictable? Why strangely? Firstly, fear is considered bondage in our scripture from Romans. Secondly, the bible is full of “fear nots”!
The worldly default emotion is to fear when events look out of control. That’s what humans do. It’s a perfectly natural expression to be interpreted as “extreme care”. But for us who are called to be different, an atmosphere of utter and complete trust in God is to be our residing place of permanency, complete with a dialog to match the atmosphere.
You see for us who claim to have lives that are secured in the palm of God’s gracious hand, fear is an expression of dis-trust not care nor concern. It’s us saying: God is not in control, “they” are or “it” is therefore “we” better be vigilantly on guard.
Well, if God isn’t in control, then we definitely aren’t and to think otherwise is ludicrous! But He is and that’s the point. Faith says: “He is”. Fear says: “It doesn’t look like it”.
Isaiah 52 -7: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion: “Your God reigns”!
We being Zion, need to hear and say “our God reigns” far more often, with a “no matter what” application to its confession. It’s our God granted provision of sanity, in what is often an insane world. It’s a statement of faith that confirms to the world and ourselves: We will emphatically believe the report of our Lord! “No matter what”!
Well, there’s an obvious answer to this strange dilemma, but not one we want to hear. What we “say” we believe is too often no more than an intellectual agreeing to something. In reality, we don’t really believe nearly enough in God’s sovereignty to permanently allow our hearts to be altered by Him to accommodate His almightiness. We like “logic” and logic says: I’ll keep one hand on the steering wheel of my life just in case I’m wrong about You God. You’re welcome to join me but only with one hand”.
A hypothetical to make a point: A married couple get up each morning and before the husband leaves for work he hears the same reminder every day from his wife. “Don’t forget to be faithful to me today. I know you said you would the day we were married, and you’ve done nothing to make me think otherwise since, so it’s not that I don’t trust you, I’m simply reminding you and in the process, checking in to assure myself that you can be trusted”.
What husband in his right mind would interpret that as trust? What the husband hears is this: I’m being evaluated on a daily basis as to the validity of my faithfulness regarding my promises.
Our faith can be exactly like that. Each day, depending on circumstances, we can as the “Bride Of Christ”, negotiate in our minds whether we will or won’t trust our groom Jesus. “I’ll get right back to you after I’ve checked the latest news Lord. Oh my goodness, God do you know what’s going on “over there”. God are you aware of the latest news about “them”. Are you sure you’re still in control God? Just checking”. Sounds like a crazy internal daily dialog doesn’t it, and yet we do it!
It’s circumstantial “fair weather faith” that works when everything’s going well, but tragically gone when we most need it, and we fear!
Back to our question: Where do we get it? From each other! Those who fear love to share and we get to bear what they share!
Back in the day of a young teenage David, God’s entire army including the King believed that Goliath and the Philistines were in control and to be feared, while simultaneously pretending otherwise in front of God. Their “God Talk” was just that: “TALK”. David was equally offended by their fear as he was Goliath’s taunts, and did something about it. He put his actions where his mouth was and Goliath fell, along with his compatriots! While admired by many, those that chose to fear Goliath, but were enlisted to do the exact opposite, weren’t quite so willing to jump on the David bandwagon. You see, he had embarrassed them with his faith. I’m sure some of them had hoped his “cockiness” would cost him his life, thereby justifying their fear in their minds as legitimate and not cowardly.
That’s something you might want to keep in mind if you are planning on going “radical”. You won’t be in the majority. The good news: God doesn’t need majorities but rather people who refuse to be intimidated. Crazy people who trust Him above all else! Like David!
I’m so reminded of day one in my walk with God. I was crazy in the most wonderful of ways and rushed home to inform a close family member what had transpired. His advice that greeted me: That’s nice but don’t go getting all crazy about it. He was eight hours too late with his counsel. I was already crazy and truth be known, still am! While sharing this story of my beginnings with a friend a few years ago, his conclusion was innocently but interestingly insightful. “So, you were the annoying one”. Sadly true I guess. I’ve learned crazy, drives people crazy, who aren’t crazy!
We live in a day where Christians actually search for things to fear and then bring back their report of negativism to enlighten us all as to their findings. David would confirm, it’s not new!
You would think by now, we would have learned the folly of such behavior from our past. You can’t talk fear and experience faith simultaneously! That is truly impossible!
“Fear Talk” eliminates contentment, peace and joy! The bible is clear: “According to your faith, be it unto you”! Faith is a hugely impactful substance that we have diluted to accommodate our finite minds in an effort to make it understandable. In doing so we lose! In the process we make ourselves susceptible to fear. Fear isn’t a mystery! It’s the net result of undervaluing God while overvaluing Goliaths. And we do it to ourselves. It’s self-inflicted not God imparted!
Faith On Our Terms
Persistent radical faith, not faith on our terms, changes everything dramatically! It enables us to walk, talk, and interpret life differently. More vertically not horizontally! It fearlessly defaults to heaven’s perspective regarding all things that pertain to life as its purposed agenda. You see, it doesn’t happen accidently or through some magical formula of transference. It’s a conscious decision on our part to trust God no matter what the circumstantial evidence may suggest. It’s called radical for a reason. It defies logic! It’s a non-negotiable lifelong commitment to refuse a bent knee to fear. It’s a “David like”: I will fear NO evil”. It’s a “Paul like”: If God is for us then what does it matter who’s against us.
“According to your faith”, is not a one-time choice. It needs constant maintenance in the light of our aforementioned updates of fear enhancing content for our daily spiritual “ingestion” or more corrected stated, “regurgitation”. Make no mistake about it, content of dialog follows us throughout our days,
One day we hear: ”Rejoice in the Lord always”, followed with: “The sky is falling”! It’s a wonder we’re not all insane! But by the grace of God we would be, I’m thinking.
When Jesus said to Peter: “Feed My sheep”, I can’t imagine He meant to choke them with fear inducing information that constantly denied His sovereignty! Does anyone remember: Worry not, fear not and be anxious for nothing? What happened to that directive from our Lord? Or have we interpreted His words as optional suggestions?
“Our terms” is what happened to it. As I think about it: Loving one another and discipleship are further casualties of “our terms”.
“Our terms faith” is in fact not faith, but rather an illusion of faith and has the same life altering effectiveness as all other illusions. None!
God is sovereign all the time or none of the time, but not on occasion when it happens to suit us. That’s His terms! The bible is clear: “Without faith it is impossible to please God”.
Why impossible? Because it’s dishonoring to our “Almighty God” to be relegated by His own people to being less than anything or anyone! Jesus has been given the name above all other names. When we magnify other names we de-magnify His! We can’t have it both ways!
Think About Such Things
Philippians 4 – 8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things”.
What Paul was prescribing? Faith building not fear inducing meditation and talk! The end of verse nine reveals to us our net result: “And the God of peace will be with you”. If I lack peace, perhaps the content of that which I “think about” is at the center of the lack? We have so many amazing things to discuss concerning our wonderful God that we shouldn’t have time to invest in other content. In the world but not of it! Salt and light can lose their potency when mired in negativity.
What an amazingly edifying life companion our scripture from Philippians would be as a filter that all talk ran through before exiting our mouths! Gloom and doom never leaves anyone, including the one sharing it, better off. It’s always been my experience that less of something never more, is the inevitable result. To be clear: No one means for that to be the case. But as Paul made clear: The cost for doing so is the peace of God. That’s a very large loss incurred to entertain venting!
Preciously valuable days can be lost in the residue of its aftermath! Therefore, does it not make sense to follow Paul’s instruction and censor ourselves for the betterment of all, including God.
Paul spoke those words from Philippians, in the middle of extreme persecution. The followers of Jesus had their own version of ISIS at the time! There’s always been a version!
And yet amazingly here we are, bigger than ever! Just like He said: Jesus continues to build His church and the gates of hell are not prevailing against it! Although multiple attempts have been tried, none have succeeded.
So Many Examples
Daniel didn’t talk about the lions but rather his God who created the lions. The three Hebrew children weren’t checking out the temperature of the furnace in fear as they considered their decision to not worship the idle. They choose instead to proclaim the name of their God who was higher than fire. We’ve already covered young David who was offended but never fearful of Goliath. He did the math and although recognizing nine feet nine inches is big, his God was immeasurably bigger!
So, we have to conclude one of three things. One: Are these just fabricated bible stories that never actually happed. Two: If they did happen, is this a different God we are reading about. Three: The stories are real and the God of today is the same God as then. If you picked three you get to continue with our fourth possibility and likely probability. Are we anything like our mentioned examples? Our forefathers who had immersed themselves in a universe creating God. A God who was more than big enough for whatever the challenge. A God worthy of total trust and faith.
Conversely, have we created a God, so small in our minds, that big issues are beyond Him to resolve? Do we see Him as a victim of our circumstances or is He perceived correctly as the victimizer of circumstances? An honest answer to that leads us to our good news. God has never been intimated by our issues nor has He shrunk in spite of our attempts to shrink Him.
We should be thankful for the impossible-ness of that occurring. A non-radical God is handy until something big comes our way. Then we panic! We get intimated. We fear. We worry. We get very anxious! You see, the size we have made Him, is directly rated to the faith we have in Him! If to us He’s become a Sunday God, then nothing better go wrong on Monday.
Our meditation and communication is the birth place of faith or a lack of it. It’s emphatically important to evaluate what we say and think. We are feeding our hearts and out of our hearts our mouths speak! A small faith in a small God is easy to denounce if push comes to shove. An intellectual only faith will vanish in a heartbeat if challenged. No, we need a faith that sees past the obvious and fixes itself on the glorious. We need a faith that declares: What furnace? What lions? What Goliath? All I can see is God! A sovereign God. An un-intimidated God!
Psalm 125 – 1: “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever”.
Trusting in the Lord is far more all-inclusive as a discipline than just saying it. It’s power is found in doing it and refusing not to! It sounds like this as we listen in once again to our three Hebrew children facing their fiery furnace: “Our God is able to rescue us but if He doesn’t, we still won’t worship your idle”! That’s a “faith” offered up to God as a pleasing sacrifice I’m sure!
We are called to walk by faith not by sight which means seeing God as above all and confessing Him as such. It’s not to be an attitude of occasional visitation but rather one of residing!
Paul promised faith induced peace if we think on these things. Jesus promised perfect peace for those whose minds are stayed on Him. Peace that passes understanding. What a provision! But we must co-operate. It won’t just fall on us nor will it be forced on us. It must become a lifestyle of choice.
So, if you are getting tired of the spiritual roller coaster ride of chasing the ups and downs of life on the planet and the leanings of those who choose to do so, at the very next stop, just get off! No one will know you’re gone but you and God. He will be holding the door open for you from the outside! You see, God doesn’t participate in the “ride”.
God loves to be pleased by His own. Without faith that is scripturally impossible. Let’s make it possible! Let’s transform in our hearts the statement: “Our God Reigns”, from a question to be debated daily, to a fact that we embrace always.
Let’s talk it and walk it without ceasing until others, including ourselves, can no longer deny His sovereign status. Let’s commit to accurately presenting our amazing God to a world that needs a BIG God. Our God who said: There are no other Gods before Me or after Me. I AM THE GREAT I AM! Folks, we have not joined forces with some religious group but rather heaven itself! We are empowered by a resurrected Savior as was the case in the book of Acts regarding the early church. Nothing’s changed over the last two thousand years. We are still the representatives of heaven’s viewpoint on all matters that pertain to life and are not to adhere to worldly mindsets.
Our directive from heaven? “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD”! And I’m not intimidated!
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REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP
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THE ROSE AND THE THORN
WILLING HEARTS – NO LIMITS
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
THE SECOND CROSS
BULLS IN CHINA SHOPS
FAITH IS A JOURNEY
THE HEART IS SACRED
REJOICE – IT’S A NEW DAY!
BLESSED & CONTENT
MY FRIEND – MY PEACE – MY LORD
YOU DECIDE – CHOICES
THE REAR VIEW MIRROR
HIS LOVE MADE PERFECT
AMAZING GRACE – AMAZING SAVIOR
TALK AND WALK
GUIDE ME HOLY SPIRIT
GOD IS BIGGER
GETTING OVER “STUFF”