Recently, I heard about a judge who used bumper stickers to encourage better driving for repeat offenders. The first option was to attach similar messages to their bumpers: “This car owned by a convicted drunk driver.” Needless to say almost all offenders preferred the judge’s second option: Enroll in an alcohol treatment program. Why? The majority of people cared about what others thought of themselves and wanted to maintain a good image.
The fear of embarrassment applies to other kinds of unacceptable behavior as well. For example, not many of us Born-again Christians, would be willing to walk around with a sign on our backs that read something along the lines of: “Danger: I’m a Christian who doesn’t spend time in prayer or Bible study.” Nor would we want a to wear a sign that read: “Warning: I’m a child of God who gossips too much.” or “Be careful: I don’t love my brother/sister in Christ, as the Word tells me even though I say with my mouth that I do”.
Well! What if God required all of us to display such a sign? Would our desire for the respect of others keep us from revealing our very own true spiritual condition? Would we be less apt to expose the sin in others lives, without weighing our own against the Word of God? The way that we answer that question says a lot about our sense of self before the Lord, who judges us “accurately.”
“Conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.” (1Peter 1:17)
Is it possible that we fear God’s opinion less for ourselves than we fear exposing the sin of others? Yes, it matters to a degree what others say about us. However, it doesn’t matter what others say about us offensively whether in ridicule or fun. Even though in all honesty we all at times put too much merit in the opinions of others for ourselves. And yes, our opinions of others are biased more times than not. Where God weighs all things, and truly knows an individuals ”heart.” Which is why we should live with an attitude of focusing on hearing our Father say to us, “Well done.” So before we are tempted to “place a sign” on the back of a brother or sister in Christ. We should ask ourselves the question: “Who is reading me?” Praise Break!!! Go ahead and thank God for His grace and mercy for not exposing the shortcomings/sin in our lives. And especially for our Savior, Jesus Christ who shed His precious blood on behalf of our sin.
Not so long ago, as I waited to make a right-hand turn at an intersection, an ambulance appeared just over the hill, coming in my direction. The person behind me honked, urging me to enter the intersection and proceed. I knew the ambulance was carrying precious cargo, or in route to precious cargo, and would be unlikely to stop and that could be disastrous to make my turn. So I kept my foot firmly on the brake pedal and remained put at the light.
Spiritually speaking, we need to remain faithful and stand firm in the promises of God. Despite pressures from others to move. Oftentimes, people will prompt us to shift our loyalty away from God and His truth. Remain committed. With God’s help we can hold fast to the word of life. So, if you feel pressured to enter a mind boggling intersection of beliefs, study God’s Word, put on His armor, and ask Holy Spirit for help. Then stand fast with your fellow believers in Christ. And wait for God to move on your behalf.
“Shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.” Philippians 2:15-16
I will never forget as a young child, I had a fear that there was someone hiding under my bed when the lights were turned off. And this shadowy figure never appeared until after mom kissed me good night, and left the room. Of course she would always comeback into my room, and we would look under the bed “together” and this always reassured me that there wasn’t anyone under my bed.
This was my earliest experience with fear-driven insomnia, and it reminds me that when trouble arrives on the doorstep of life, fear is NOT my friend. It disables us from moving forward and causes us to think too much, and shrink back from doing what we are purposed to do–unless we have our eyes focused on Jesus.
When the disciples faced the raging seas that were threatening to sweep them overboard, Jesus, walking on the water, assured them, “It is I: do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). And to His followers who were fearfully locked away in a room after His crucifixion, Jesus appeared and asked, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?” (Luke 24:38). Recognizing the inevitability of trials, He said, “In the world you will have tribulations; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The point is clear. Trusting in His presence and power is the solution to all of our fears.
So whatever you may be facing today, trust the presence and power of Jesus in the midst of your storm.
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:27
Through Moses, God did something amazing for Israel. And He did it…. as some would call it on a ” grand scale”. He provided a way of escape from Egypt. He freed the slaves and led them toward a new home. A place of peace, prosperity, and provision.
Yes, God had provided Israel’s great escape, an exit out of Egypt or the “Exodus”. Which means ” a way out”. The Hebrew slaves stepped out of Egypt without a care in the world. However, they stepped into difficulty when they wavered in their obedience. Yes, God had provided a way out, but they took His plan half heartedly. And as a consequence of their actions they had to wander in the wilderness for forty long years.
Are you facing difficulties? Well, God is still providing ways of escape. Turn to God and take the time to listen for His direction. You will find that a way to escape has already been made, or, at least, a way to endure them in faithful joy.