Monday, December 2, 2019

The Fear Factor .vs. The God Factor

But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”  And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.” – Numbers 13:31-32

God sure knows how to get my attention! Laying in bed this morning saying my prayers over this day I became anxious about the work I must do this week.  I’m learning a new software development environment, a new language of coding that is about 40% like the old, and I just feel overwhelmed at times.  I can’t see the standard code I’m attaching my modifications to, and we have no data to look at.  It’s like getting dressed in the dark!

But God spoke.  “Be anxious for nothing, for God is with me.” That’s my mantra for this day, and this fear.  Yes, fear.  That’s all it is.  We all go through a trials not knowing the outcome.  We all know how that fear can weigh us down, and yes, it can indeed cause us to fail, or freeze in place to avoid failure.

In my morning reading I came to the chapters in Numbers where the Israelites, roaming from camp to camp in the wilderness had come to the promised land.  They had travelled many miles for this.  They’d walked through the dry red sea for this.  And my oh my, was it worth it!  When God sent spies into the land to size up it’s people and it’s growth and wealth, two mean came back with a cluster of grapes.  But – they had to carry it on a pole between them! ONE cluster of grapes.  Truly the land was “flowing with milk and honey” meaning it had luxurious growth form fertile ground to provide all they needed.

But there was one thing they saw that caused them fear.  The descendants of the Anak, which were giants.  Yes, true giants.  They were over nine feet tall and BIG!

Fearing for their lives, when they returned to camp the spies discredited the land to avoid war with the giants. They said the land devours its inhabitants, and that they were like grasshoppers to the giants that lived there. 

And then of course, as we all do when we’re faced with an obstacle, they turned to ask the question: Why has God put us in this place?  We all wonder the will of God when we’re challenged, when we’re afraid of the future. 

When Joshua and Caleb began to tell the truth, that the land was wonderful and that God would bring them through it because He delights in His people. 

You would think that would be comforting, but instead of relaxing into the idea of a land of plenty, they wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb!

The problem isn’t that they were afraid.  Fear is a natural emotion given to us to help us avoid danger.  But that same natural emotion can cause us to be less than God designed.  When we face our fears without adding God to the equation, we will always come up short.  Friends, we were not meant to go through this life alone!  That is why Jesus left us a comforter, a guide, His Holy Spirit! 

Fear is a two-sided coin.  It can prevent you from entering danger, but it can alos freeze you in your tracks and make you less than God intends. 

Consider the God Factor.  With God, all things are possible (Mark 10:27), but apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).  Friends, unless you put your fears in God’s hands, and trust Him to walk you through this life, your fears and anxieties win out.  Ah, satan loves when we allow him to win by turning our thoughts to fear instead of God’s bottomless well of control over our lives. 

I know you’ve all heard it before, but it stands as a fact that needs to be recognized.  God’s Word says “Fear Not” 365 times.  Not 366, not 380, but once for every day of YOUR life.  Coincidence?  Oh honey, never is there a coincidence with God.  All things are done with purpose!   Fear NOT.  Trust God. 

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