Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fear is not my friend

Fear.  The word itself is powerful, isn't it?  I imagine many of us struggle with it.  It doesn't look the same in everyone's life but it's there.  I know I struggle with it.  Sometimes it's that "sound" you hear in the middle of the night.  It could be the balance in your checkbook.  Maybe that child you don't know what to do with.  Or it's that conversation you worry someone took the wrong way.  And then there are those fears that nearly paralyze us.... harm, rejection, pain or even death to a loved one or to our own lives.

My greatest fear growing up was that I was unlovable.  I believed like most girls that I needed to be beautiful to be lovable.  I hated my skin and my body.   The enemy must be thrilled with our culture and the deception woven into the fabric of our society that you must be beautiful to be accepted.  I believed that lie and didn't think I held a chance.  But God in His goodness rescued me in my college years, revealing the truth of His Word.  He gave me a verse that has been my life verse ever since,

"Instead, let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in the sight of God"  -1Peter 3:4

This verse is written in the context of a passage that speaks to how godly women are to "adorn" themselves, not with outward appeal but with a heart that trusts God and honors His ways.  God asked me and asks all of us to make ourselves beautiful for Him... not the world.

Fear has recently pried it's way back into my life.  A couple spots I had removed last summer grew back and were biopsied.  Both showed basal cell skin cancer.  It's a fairly common skin cancer that is slow growing and has an extremely high success rate for being removed with the Mohs surgery.  As much as I tried to assure myself with this knowledge, fear gripped me for several days.   I hated it, I was embarrassed by it and felt owned by it.  And because of peoples' prayers for my spirit, thank the Lord, that paralyzing fear didn't last more than a few days.

What was I afraid of?  The unknown.  The surgery.  How much cancer is there?  Will it come back?  How much of my lip will they remove?   I had a nightmare the first night after the results came back that the cancer kept coming back and my face became "monstrous" looking from all the surgeries.  My fear....(yeah Satan knows our old weaknesses and he doesn't forget)  that my husband wouldn't think I was beautiful anymore.

Then, God decided to be amazing as always.  He caught my attention by a verse John Piper quoted online.  1 Peter 3:6.  So close in proximity to my life verse.  I had to check it out.  Let me back it up to verse 5 so it makes sense...

"For in this way in former times the holy women alsowho hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands ;  just as Sarah obeyed Abraham,calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear." - 1 Peter 3:5-6

Well, He had my attention.  I did a word study on "fear" and it literally means in the Strong's concordance "to be afraid of with terror".  Wow, terror is a pretty strong word!  This is the only place in the New Testament that this Greek word appears.  But what does this mean in the context of this passage?  To my best understanding, God is telling wives not to be manipulative or controlling out of fear that her husband isn't obedient or right with God.  Instead, she should trust God.  

My fear isn't that my husband isn't right with God.  Yet, it really doesn't matter what my fear is... any fear keeps me from trusting God.  The passage says "you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by fear."  What, then, is doing what is right?  Is it not trusting God, regardless of the fear, and acting on it?  Is it not believing with faith that God is sovereign, supreme, righteous and glorious?  Hebrews 11 tells us that it is impossible to please God apart from FAITH.  

"And FAITH is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." -Hebrews 11:1

Trusting God and doing what is right without being afraid with terror.  For me, this brings enriched meaning to having a "gentle and quiet spirit".  It brings to mind words like brave, courageous, standing firm and unmovable in regards to our faith that Jesus is Lord.  Believing He is enough, He is everything.  In fact, He provides the grace for that faith.

Yes, fear is powerful.  But in the glorious beam of God on His throne, there is no crevice or corner where fear can dwell.  He is trustworthy, my friends.  God is good.  And when the tempter comes near again, I pray I choose to remember God's whisper...   be beautiful for Me, not the world.  I pray you do too.

Fear not, brothers and sisters in Christ, fear is not your friend.

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