January 22, 2009
We all know what fear feels like. Despair and hopelessness are pretty familiar, too. It's one of the biggest challenges in life. There's a situation in my life right now that's been full of fear and despair. It's not like we invited it in, at least I don't remember doing it. But, we have to remember that this is a war. God asks for an invitation; satan doesn't. So fear comes. Sometimes it comes in an overwhelming rush, something like a huge wave. Other times it's more like a leak in a pipe. It just seeps out behind the walls and rots away at the structure. And it always seems so real. What is it about fear that always feels final? One would expect this to go away when you become a Christian, but it usually gets stronger. We still live in a broken world and now the enemy is mad at us. Turns out the only difference between a walk with God and a walk alone, is knowing the truth. I'm playing with you a little here. It's a big difference.
Revelation 12:17 tells us that satan is at war with us. We don't really believe Revelation 12:17. Not most days, anyway. We believe that one day satan will be at war with humanity, and we'll try not to get involved. Not today though; this is Wednesday. That's an awefully mundane name for a day that we're fighting the devil. But the fact is that he's at war with us NOW. Every day! Doesn't that make some sense of the days that just feel like a fight? I hope this will help it to make sense of the fear, too. God calls satan the "father of lies"(John 8:44) and prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2. His power is in lies... They are his primary weapon. Most of the fear we feel is a lie! I'm afraid to juggle torches and so should you be. That's not the fear I mean. I'm talking about the sick feeling in your stomach that makes you feel like you have no hope. The kind of fear that first steals your joy and then comes after your future. There's a reason he operates in lies. John 10:28 says that He (God) has given us eternal life and no one will snatch us out of His hand. The devil doesn't usually attack you directly because he can't. If he could kill you he would. The best chance he has to get you out of God's hand is to make you jump out.
Have you ever watched those shark shows on Discovery? If you have, then you know about the cages. Researchers dive into the water, in a steel cage, in the middle of a school of feeding sharks. I'm guessing they're pretty safe. I get that from the same logic I use to evaluate rollercoasters: If people died often.....I'm sure they'd build the things differently. So we have safe divers in cages. I have to imagine you still feel like you're about to die everytime a shark hits the cage. At least until you've come to trust that it really is protecting you. The kingdom of God is alot like a shark cage. We live in a broken world. In the middle of that broken world there are things and people submitted to the Kingdom (domain of the king) of God. He asks permission, remember? Also, remember that anything in God's hand can't be taken. If you want me, you can try to take me from God. I don't like your chances. The reality of the kingdom of God is that we are safe. Sometimes, what we see is far less real than we think. But the sharks keep hitting the cage, jaws open and hungry. That fear comes in an overwhelming way. Lies are a lot like those sharks. Satan's goal is to get you to leave the cage and swim for the surface; to believe that you are no longer safe where God put you and try to find something safer. We must never forget that fear can't change your safety; only your perception. We have authority to rebuke and bind the thoughts in our heads, and the lies that are being thrown at us. One of the hardest but most rewarding tests of faith is to trust that God is keeping us alive no matter how dead we feel. Bind the lies and the fear in your life. Stay in the cage.