Archive for May, 2014

Confronting the Fearsome Foursome

I realize it has been awhile since I have posted about my quest to live the abundant life.

I wanted to wait until I felt I had something of substance to share. Sure, I had some thoughts, but most of those were from earlier stages of my journey. I was awaiting some fresh insights to share. Today I want to share my four core issues.  You may be able to relate to some or all of these since they are common threats the evil one uses to keep us from living the abundant life in Christ.

They are:
#1 Fear
#2 Frustration
#3 Worry
#4 Condemnation

I had some battles with all four of these during these past couple of weeks and realized these have been lifetime struggles for me. As I was meditating on what to do about them I came to a couple of conclusions.

Conclusion #1: These may be my life’s limp. In Genesis 32 Jacob wrestled with God. During the wrestling match God got ahold of Jacob’s hip and left a constant reminder of his need for God.

Verses 30-32 in the Message say, “30 Jacob named the place Peniel (God’s Face) because, he said, “I saw God face-to-face and lived to tell the story!”

31-32 The sun came up as he left Peniel, limping because of his hip. (This is why Israelites to this day don’t eat the hip muscle; because Jacob’s hip was thrown out of joint.)”

He limped for the rest of his life. He had a weakness that reminded him of seeing God face to face. Sometimes we are left with limps to remind us of our need for God. In some ways these four threats will be a constant source of reminding me how much I need God.

#2 Through God’s grace and help from others these can be overcome when they arise.

In 2 Corinthians 12:8 Paul pleaded with God for his “thorn in the flesh” to be removed. God would not. Instead He told Paul that he would be strengthened.

It says, “8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

God’s grace is sufficient for me when these confront me.

My struggle and weaknesses will likely never go away completely. Like Paul, I will keep asking that they do. In the meantime, I will trust God’s grace to help me in my weaknesses and to use them to draw me closer to Him and be strengthened.

The fearsome foursome are not fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, God does not want me to allow each of these to dominate me. I will spend some time in the coming months dealing with each of these individually and what God is teaching me to confront each of these but for now I have one more thought…

#3 Worship God; take down the idol of self.

This is the hardest one to hear. I like to think I am not selfish, self-centered, and do not make an idol of self. The problem is, that is not true. All sin revolves around the big “I” in the middle. All effects of sin, like fear, worry, frustration and condemnation revolve around the big “I.” I want to look good. I want to be successful. I want people to admire me. I want things to go my way. I want to always live righteous (so I will look good spiritually). When that does not happen I get frustrated and condemned. When I am concerned that it won’t I get fearful and worried. All four are fruit of the same root, “self-idolatry.”

Like Peter walking on water, if we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can walk on water during the storm.(Matthew 14:25-33) Like Peter, if we put our eyes on our circumstances (the raging storm) or on ourselves (and our lack of ability to walk on water) we will sink. Thank God that when Peter sank, Jesus reached out His hand of grace and mercy and pulled him back. Thank God He does the same for us.