"By this we shall come to know (perceive, recognize, and understand) that we are of the Truth, and can reassure (quiet, conciliate, and pacify) our hearts in His presence, Whenever our hearts in [tormenting] self-accusation make us feel guilty and condemn us. [For we are in Gods hands.] For He is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and He knows (perceives and understands) everything [nothing is hidden from Him]." 1 John 3:19-20 AMP
I've had quite the year. Like milk teeth, I have lost parts of myself that I thought I needed and grown in aspects of myself that I thought would take much longer than they did.
I had made a resolution to prioritize thanksgiving and gratitude this year in spite of anything that comes because God is the end all of all things. And I was grateful through everything that came at me, but in October that gratitude was tested with questions that would flood at my mind. "Is this the best you could do with your life? Have you even grown? Has your business grown? Sure looks like it hasn't. What if you'll remain stuck here? What if this is the best it can be?" These sinister thoughts and questions wreaked havoc in my mind and I learned to continually take it all to God and leave my time with Him with a promise. Sometimes it was the same promise like, "I AM here with you" or "Trust in me because I love you" or a promise of the good to come and God's readiness to journey with me in every season.
Reading 1st John 3:19-20 is such an encouragement. Truly, we are in God's hands and He is above and greater than our consciences. It's no secret that the battle in our minds is the battle of words, ideas and thoughts and we must fight to pull down any thought that casts itself above the knowledge of God. Bishop Gobanga has done a few brilliant sermons touching on this which you can read here, here and here. They'll help lay such a wonderful context on the subject.
Our thoughts are influenced by God, experiences, what people say, our souls, even the devil implants wrong thoughts that become wrong mindsets but generally, we tend to pick a lot and carry more than we are aware. Essentially then, thoughts are very powerful.
Every action is rooted in the thought that produced it. We tend to act out of fear and we react as a result of psychological and emotional pain due to our fears.
Brendon Burchard breaks down pain (strongly linked to fear) into these three categories:
1. Loss pain - emotional/psychological pain as a result of the fear of loss
2. Process pain - emotional/psychological pain as a result of the fear of the process
3. Outcome pain - emotional/psychological pain as a result of the fear of what may be/what will come
I'd like to throw in another one for good measure - Perception pain (internal anguish as a result of wrong perceptions of self, others, and fear of what others think of you). There we go with thoughts again.
In a nutshell, the root of all our fears is because we're afraid of a loss, process or outcome. And all these point to a lack and deficit in our minds about the character of God. Fear sets limitations. It tells us how far God can go for us or sets limits to receiving forgiveness or redemption whereas love is boundless. There's no place love can't go, no place it can't reach and no soul it can't redeem. It is immeasurable. Love only needs a yes and an open heart. I love how Ephesians 3:17-21 puts it.
"May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]-- To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it)." Ephesians 3:17-21 AMP
What if the only thing lacking in any situation is our own awareness of love? What if fear is the weapon the enemy uses to disconnect and dull our consciousness of God's love for us in every situation we face?
Fear says: I've done everything I can. I don't think there's any hope left.
What fear is trying to say: Is there any hope left? Should I try one last time?
What fear is afraid of saying: Could this opportunity really be for me and I shouldn't give up just yet?
Love says: Keep hope alive. It's not over till God says it's over. And though I'm yet to see it, He's making this beautiful and is hard at work on this even now for my good.
Fear says: I've gone through some painful and hard experiences in life. I really don't think God is good. We all say it, I've said it all my life but I don't think so.
What fear is trying to say: Is God really good? Then why has my life gone the way it has for me?
What fear is afraid of saying: Is God really good TO ME? He seems to be good to EVERYONE ELSE but is God good to me? Because this feels like a me thing.
Love says: God is good to me. He never changes so He wouldn't change on me. God, help me see how present you've been with me through everything I've gone through. Even if my circumstances want me to believe You left me a long time ago, I know you promised that You'll never leave me nor forsake me. Show me how your footprints are etched onto my journey in every stage of my life Lord.
Fear says: This is it. You've reached the end. There's no way God will still love you after this.
Love says: There's nowhere you can go, nowhere you can run, nothing you can do that'll keep Me from loving you.
The truth is, nothing you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth in God's eyes. Nothing at all. And love makes that clear. Love answers questions fear would never dare ask or voice and it frees us from the mental chains that fear tries to bind us with.
I think the story of Hagar (Genesis 21:5-20) is an appropriate example. She and Ishmael had been kicked out by Sarah and Abraham and her and Ishmael are left wandering in the wilderness. Once their bread and water ran out and Hagar was certain that she and Ishmael were done for and that their end had come. I suspect that Ishmael discerned this too and wept. Only Abraham knew of the promise he received from God saying that Ishmael would be a great nation but as far as Hagar and Ishmael knew, their end was drawing nigh. In that moment when fear had left them resigned to the fate it drew up (inevitable death), God turned it all around and Hagar saw a well in the wilderness. Was the well always there but they didn't see it? Was it a miracle to restore faith in Hagar about their destiny? Whatever the case, God came through and left her with the same promise He told Abraham - "Arise, raise up the youth and support him with your hand, for I intend to make him a great nation." Genesis 21:18 AMP
She had gone to the wilderness dejected and defeated but she forged ahead with a promise. Isn't this much like the stories of our lives? Like Hagar, if you want to experience the faithfulness of God, you would have to be in a position where you need Him to be faithful to you.
The scriptures say that love casts out or drives out fear. How true! When all fear can do is spell out doom and a terrible end or a gruesome process, love speaks and promises of a good to come. Love speaks of a process that is worth it because God doesn't leave or forsake us and an end that is by far beautiful.
This is what God does to cast away fear (anchored in deception) from our hearts and minds - He speaks love (anchored in truth). A word from God, a promise given to you by God in the midst of a difficult situation, is a download. It's a downpayment, a reality, an outcome, a starting point, and a thought pattern.
The word God speaks to you is an invitation to partner with Him toward the outcome He speaks of. Why? Because every situation that God allows you to go through is assigned an outcome that God wants to generate. When we shift in our thoughts, we experience a shift in the outcome. And all God wants us to do is to think again. To think anew. To think what He is thinking. Why? Because our outcome is secure, and our starting place is in Christ and in the numerous good thoughts He continually thinks of us. As always, Alpha and Omega has every step of the journey covered.
And this is the promise and the outcome:
"We are assured and know that God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose." Romans 8:28 AMP
May we be fully persuaded of God's love for us so fear doesn't have a place in our hearts.
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