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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Responding to Fear.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1).

There is a story once told of a young boy who was terrified of dark and lonely places. He refused to walk into a room without having the light turned on before he made his entrance. One day, his mother needed something from the food pantry and asked her son to go and retrieve it. The food pantry was a small closet-type room with a light that had recently burned out and had not yet been replaced. Seeing her son's anxiety begin to quickly rise, but still needing the item and hoping to help him to overcome his fear said, "Don't worry son, you can do it. Jesus is already in there waiting for you." To this her son responded with hopeful confidence as he opened the door to the pantry, "Jesus, since you're in there, would you please hand me the box of spaghetti?"

Fear can be overwhelming, intimidating, and halting. The fear doesn't even have to be real or make sense. It just has to be imagined, perceived, felt, or believed. David, whose meteoric rise from shepherd to warrior king, was never immune to fear-provoking possibilities. Before he faced a giant named Goliath, he had to overcome a giant named "youngest brother," "runt," "overlooked," and "shut up, no one wants to listen to you." Each one of these have been powerful enough to stop many a man or woman from daring to advance beyond such a moment. David faced many giants after Goliath. He faced rejection, other people's insecurities, people who didn't believe in him, his own children trying to take his throne away, and nations who conspired against him. Left unchecked, fear would have sidelined his warrior spirit and his royal destiny. Yet, David responded with faith responses that led him to  overcome any fear.

SHOW ME. "The Lord is my light..." Jesus would later declare Himself the Light of the World. David had already received and would share in psalm that very revelation. Aware of the dark days he would live and the dark paths he would travel, David acknowledge "the Lord is my light." In essence, he was saying, "show me Lord..." "Show me the way." "Show me how." When you acknowledge that God is not just the "Light of the World," but that He is also, and desires to be, YOUR LIGHT, you will be able to see as you have never seen before. You will undoubtedly face scenes and seasons that will appear dark, feel dark, and attempt to overwhelm you in the dark. But when He is YOUR LIGHT, He will show you the way through. He will show you purpose. He will show you Himself. He will reveal truth to you in the intimacy of the dark season. The enemy will attempt to convince you that the darkness is intimidating, but when you know that the God who spoke light into existence is right there with you, it is no longer intimidating. It is intimate.

SAVE ME. "...and my salvation..." With every giant, with every cave, and with every enemy army, David saw God as his way out. His salvation came from the Lord. Before the concept of Christ coming and purchasing our salvation, David understood the word in its most basic and literal sense. Salvation meant rescue, deliverance, to live to see another day. With every opposition David had faced, he had lived to see another day. When he tried to get himself through it or out of it, he only found himself more stuck in it. When he trusted God as the One who saves, he lived the truth of the Lord being his salvation. There's not a person alive who hasn't tried at one point or another to author their own escape plan from something they were facing. The fact is, it is God, through Jesus Christ, who is the ONLY ONE who can do for you what you will live your life unsuccessfully trying to do for yourself. "Save me" is not a cry of the weak, but response of those who recognize from where real strength originates. You may be good at recognizing all that is against you, but begin the practice of turning your eyes to the One that is FOR you. That is wherein your salvation lies. Turn to Him for your rescue. But when you do, remember that if He needed your help to write the plans for your rescue, you would have no need to be rescued in the first place. Trust Him.

SUSTAIN ME. "The Lord is the stronghold of my life..." David wanted more from God than just to see and to be saved. He wasn't ready to settle for an easy fix by way of some "get out of trial free card." He wanted God to sustain Him in the success that He would give him. He wasn't willing to accept short-term rescue, but sustainable salvation. He wasn't fooled into thinking he wouldn't face another struggle or coup, but that his eyes would continue to be on the One who would sustain him, build him, and keep him through everything he would face. There are too many people who go from church to church, book to book, and conference to conference looking for the quick fix and the easy answer. They will never find it. You will never find it. What you WILL find, however, is a God who will show you what you need to see, save you from what seeks to destroy you, and will work a process in your life by which He will sustain you. Victory isn't just in a moment, but it is beyond the moment. It is every moment, regardless of how things look or feel. It is knowing that you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. It is knowing from where your strength comes from, no matter what it is you are facing. Know that He will sustain you, not just in the physical realm. He will sustain your mind while you face every thought that seeks to convince you that you are less than who God has created you to be. You are not defeated. You are held in the hollow of the very hands who formed you and breathed HIS breath into your being. Let Him sustain you.

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