As I sat down at my computer to craft this week’s blog post, I was torn about what to write about.
- Do I talk about my recent gardening projects and use it as a metaphor for how God cultivates us to grow in Him?
- Do I share about a moment that almost cost me my faith?
- Do I pull back the curtain of my life and share about the events that led me to Christ?
- Do I illustrate our inclination to manipulate and control our will and way using a funny story about my kids?
Those are certainly topics on my writing to-do list, I thought, but what struck me in that moment is the realization that we are always choosing which face to show each day.
Sometimes it is deeply personal. At others, we hold our heart close.
That’s, of course, with other people.
But are we that way with God? I would argue that we are. At least sometimes.
Yet, no matter what is going on in our lives, our attitudes and actions, whatever is on our hearts, should be readily offered on the alter of the Lord.
Through prayer, we can share our deepest hurts, our ugliest decisions, our self-serving motives, and our most unworthy human deficits.
Why? Because he truly cares for us.
I tell people often: God wants to hear from you.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10: 29-30 (ESV)
The pervasiveness of FEAR
One raw emotion that recurs throughout the Bible is Fear.
In both the Old and New Testaments, God promises us freedom from fear that arises in our daily lives.
The fear you experience — fear of losing a loved one, fear of losing income/job, fear of declining health, fear of unexpected news, fear of never meeting your potential — plagues even the faithful. And for some of you reading this, it surfaces almost daily. Whatever the fear, God promises to free us of it and what a great promise that is!
This freedom comes from trusting in God who protects and helps us.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 (ESV)
In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. Isaiah 54:14 (ESV)
The New Testament teaches that perfect loves drives out fear. (1 John 4:18)
Indeed, as Christians, we are no longer slaves of fear, for Christ has given us not a spirit of timidity or to shrink back from the challenges life brings us, but a spirit to fight — a spirt of power, of love and of self-control, according to 2 Timothy 1:7.
An invitation to ‘not be afraid’
The expression “fear not,” which is also translated “do not fear” or “do not be afraid,” is an invitation to confidence and trust that God repeatedly offers His people. It is used at least 15 times in the Bible as an expression of comfort, in fact.
Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. Psalm 49:16 (ESV)
And now my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. Ruth 3: 11 (ESV)
It is clear from God’s Word, that he welcomes us to a life that is marked by transparency and raw emotion.
I referenced alters earlier.
Our spiritual ancestors used alters to offer the Lord sacrifices, but it also represents a proper worship of God.
When we offer this proper sacrifice to God — when we’re transformed in our actions and mind, and obedient to Christ — it is pleasing to Him. If our sacrifice is acceptable to God it is known to manifest blessings and covenant renewal in Exodus 20:24.
In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.
When we doubt and feel the tremors that are brought on by an earthquake of fear, we can also call on the Lord and remember Him, who is readily available and brings us comfort and peace during our times of trouble.
Dear friend, surrender that which is plaguing you today. Take off the mask. Let down your guard. And let the Lord come to you with all his holiness and might.