God’s been using three passages in my life this week that have helped me make some deliberate choices.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7
And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. II Corinthians 12:!5
The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25
It’s been a challenge to remember that sometimes the choice to love my children is going to have negative results. Because the fear of man brings a snare, if I make a decision based on fear instead of love, I’m not confident it’s going to be the right decision. Biblically, love replaces fear (I John 4:18). When my baby is wanting something, I regularly feel an impulse to give her what she wants solely because I think she’ll wail if she doesn’t get it. Loving her will give her what is good for her. I might be tempted make a decision because I don’t want my children to think I’m being unfair. Truthfully, the fear of man often prevents me from loving my children as I ought. I regularly struggle with dismay when my children do not respond to my clumsy attempts to share God’s Word with them. I should remember that it is my responsibility to obey God’s Word to the best of my ability, and that my children’s response is in God’s hands. I must trust Him with those results.
My fear of being rejected is evidence that I am forgetting the eternal weight of glory. Doing right might bring negative results from a human vantage point, but God promises that his word will not return void. I have little way of knowing what God is doing in someone else’s heart. They may respond bitterly, but God’s Word promises that it is effectual.
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
This week, with some prompting from my husband, I’ve had to make some choices to overcome my fear because I desired God’s glory more than being loved. God’s Word helped me to do this.
In one situation, I was able to share with my children how God gave me boldness when I was afraid. I told them that I was tempted to ignore God’s prompting, and when I was reminded that the spirit of fear was not from God, I [rather reluctantly] did what was right. Afterwards, that incident gave me further joy and courage because I recognized I was walking in the spirit.
Recognizing God’s Providence in my life and the lives of others banishes fear. This is a topic I’d like to think about much more.