“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you…. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” Deuteronomy 20
It can be hard to not consider the line-up, can’t it?
The force of the enemy can be pretty discouraging. The eyes take it all in, the brain processes, the verdict emerges on the inside long before we even hit the field: defeat. We are going down here. Be very afraid.
Fear is a big green monster who loves to take charge and run the show and he will do it every time he is allowed but he must first get permission from his mother. And his mother, sneaky, slimy monster that she is will quickly give the “go-ahead” nod as soon as she feels like her victim is secure. And she tightens her grasp, Monster Love of Self, as self tries to run for his life.
Fear is directly dependent on love and trust of self. If you have one, you have the other as well. Love of self quickly gives birth to a myriad of chains. It’s the Octomom of sin that entangles.
I write as one needing to be taught, learning as He’s teaching. Writing in the midst of learning about love, fear, and the line-up. But I don’t want to wait until I live perfectly; that day will never come so I share truth even as I beg for the Spirit to help me stand on it. Let’s do this together?
“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:17-19
Perfection in love is the antidote for fear. When love is askew, and the thoughts of our hearts and the actions resulting are about ourselves (for our protection, prosperity, success, reputation, esteem, justice, pain, etc.), fear must come alongside because in all reality, everything is on the line. The thing we hold most dear is wildly out of our control. But control is exactly what we reach for. How handy that fear comes with his own set of tools! They’re all lined up nice, Fisher-Price style, and we reach for it with relief. “Yea…” Bang-bang goes the fake hammer on the fake nail, “… This oughta do it.”
It’s sad, really. The lengths we go and the compromises we make, the energy we put into loving ourselves and protecting ourselves from pain and God’s “lack of goodness.” The energy we put into making sure everyone else loves us or at least esteems us. Success, achievement, fans, followers, friends: what must I say that you will agree with me? What must I do that you will admire me? Fear drives it in deep. Because what if they don’t? Who is going to love you? You won’t be worthy even of your own love!
“We love Him because He first loved us.” Oh that we would have faith to believe this!
Do you see who will love you? Who already does love you? “He first loved you.” Now what is your response? Do you love Him?
Look at thoughts, actions, words, time, energy. Do you love Him?
Look at thoughts, actions, words, time, energy. Do you love yourself?
*Note that I am talking about the “unhealthy” love of self, above God.
I don’t believe there is anyone with a perfect score in these areas, but Yeshua, perfect our love. May our love, the desires of our hearts and the pulse of our lives, be completely on You.
You were esteemed not. Neither do we need the esteem of men.
You surrendered to the will of the Father, even until death. May we die today, right now. May our reputations and desire for praise melt away in the reality of Your love. Teach us what it looks like to really love You.
“Whoever believes that Yeshua is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world- our faith.” 1 John 5:1-4
Faith. Faith is the victory that has overcome the world. Whoever is dead to self and born of God overcomes the world through this faith. Without faith, if you don’t really believe the Word, the world is not overcome-able. In fact you will most likely be overcome by it. There is no rest for a heart that cannot trust His promises. Expect to be overcome with fear, overcome with the pursuit of all things needing, overcome with lack of love. For all its banners saying otherwise, this world is in fact not a loving place. You cannot reject the source of love and yet claim love.
But the faith, the victory…
“I lay down and slept. I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of tens of thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around… Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people… Know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly. You have put gladness in my heart, I will both lie down in peace and sleep. For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” taken from Psalms 3 & 4
Sounds similar to Deuteronomy doesn’t it? Tens of thousands of people lined-up against you. Horses, chariots, power, position, tanks, the strong arm of (in)justice. The points and stares, whisper to whisper, “Yea, that’s the one. Can you believe she thinks that?” The rejection. Is that one of the greatest fears? I’ll do anything, just don’t reject me.
But why? And as He leads me gently to love, knowing love, living love, that mother monster begins to slip. What is my life here on earth that it has me panting to uphold it?
I am loved in the largest way possible. As are you. What is the rejection of people to me? What is the sparkling esteem of man to me, all rusting on the inside?
“The earth will grow old like a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever. Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults… Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die?” Isaiah 51
Who are you? Big question to answer, especially when it is the King asking you. Who are you, sons and daughters of the living God, that you should fear a man? One day all of the whispering mouths will lie silent, the fingers will be motionless, the esteem of others that we so valued will be buried six feet under.
But the victory is this, the peace is here: You have been bought at a price. You belong to the Kingdom of Righteousness which has already been victorious. This world can take nothing from you nor give you anything you need. You have been called out to live from this victory. You have been called to love from this victory. Love Him! See the thousands lined up and fear not, salvation belongs to the Lord and every enemy is defeated in this. Even unto death, “Oh death where is your sting?” Truly, where is the sting of death from the body? We have already died and been born again. Everything we hold dear is eternally safe in the palm of His hands. Our children, spouses, parents, siblings, friends- everyone we hold dear is held dear by Him. All of our days are numbered by a good God. What has fear to do with us? This is radical isn’t it? Radical perfect love.
Perfect love. Love- not on self, but love as it should be, on Him, for Him, consumed with Him- has nothing to fear. It is obedience, humility, worship, and gratitude, followed by every precious gift the Spirit brings to fill us overflowing.
“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17
In His love,