Making a stand – and the reason why we can do this every time

1 John 4: 18-19

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Making a stand – and the reason why we can do this every time

Set out, show, say, STAND, save

1 John 4: 18-19 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us.

Anything we do intentionally for and with God is worth killing off, stealing or destroying (John 10: 10) – and our well-intentioned ‘setting out for God’ route will always attract attention of the wrong kind. It goes with the territory. It’s like a Wells Fargo delivery through hostile borderlands. Hostile eyes watching its progress through Dead Man’s Gulch want to stop the gold getting through! And there always comes a point where there is a stand-off.

Life is full of such stand-offs. We know that attacks will come. How we handle them depends on how confident we feel in the Lord. The key is knowing that the attack is always more about fear than about substance.

What is it that most easily sends you into a paddy? Or a funk? Or that you will put off for as long as possible?

Is it the dentist? Dealing with Student Finance? Entertaining? A speaking engagement? We all have a few fears.The problem is that we keep them as pets, backed up by some half-true memories of difficult past events which we keep bringing out – every feeding time. Why do we keep them and feed them? Some people keep Rottweilers and Dobermans – because they feel familiar.

Some people just have too many pets. They are overrun by them. It takes all they have to maintain them. And they can’t control them properly. They attack everyone else as well.

Whenever we set out on God’s path for us as disciples, determined to show God’s way of living by ‘shedding abroad’ His love, the fear will try to get us. Are we held secure by who we are and who we belong to and our sense of commission – or are we easily overwhelmed by the whooping or barking or whatever metaphor you care to apply?

The way we win through in life is by knowing that we are loved. Knowing that we are in a covenant relationship, written in blood at the Cross. Just to begin to speak of what Jesus has done for us and how we are His immediately changes how the conflict plays out.

If we know we are the Lord’s, loved and in partnership, fear won’t get a hold. It will try, but it will fall off. And we will be able to use the spiritual authority that comes from walking in God’s way of love. We love because we are loved. We exercise the power of love because we have been broken by the impact of God’s love on us. This power of love is powerful around us, but in our lives too. We don’t need to keep those growling canines.

Receiving God’s love empowers us to decide to live free.

TAKEAWAY CHALLENGE

Name two of your ‘barking dogs’. Where did they come from? Do they belong to you? Resolve – in your journal if you keep one, or with a friend – what you will do with them.

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