Yesterday we explored the concept of being alive in God by breathing in His breath of life. But what if there is a part of our life that is paralyzed? A paralyzed body often needs help to make it take each breath.
So too our new life in Christ can be paralyzed, keeping us from living the full life God calls us to. Paralyzed by fear, we cannot breathe in all the power, love and sound mind God gives us through the Holy Spirit. When this happens, we need help; help that comes from taking in deep breaths of Gods promises.
Notice that Paul refers to fear as a spirit compared to the spirit we are given by God. We must recognize that fear is a tool of the enemy, possessing us with a spirit that is not of God.
Knowing this, it seems logical that we should just expel the bad and breathe in the good. Logical, yes, but reality is that the enemy is not going to give up that easily. Because he knows that upon our physical death, victory belongs to Jesus and he will never be able to torment us again, the enemy is going to take every opportunity to torment us here on earth, with his ultimate goal of robbing us of the intimate relationship that is ours to claim here on earth.
I consider this ‘tormenting’ something like poking me over and over and over to get me to respond in a way that is not in God’s will. You know how kids poke at each other in the back seat of the car, trying to get a reaction out of their sibling. If they do it enough, the sibling yells and the 'poker' has succeeded in his/her goal. As adults, it's comparable to that 'hot button' we all have. Think about that person in your life who knows the things that get you upset and they 'poke' at that hot button until they get the desired response.
This is how I see the enemy 'poking' at me. He likes to take memories of my past mistakes; memories of my fears and insecurities; or memories of my shame I carried before salvation, and then 'poke' me with them. He'll poke and poke and poke, hoping I will give in to the memory of past failures, insecurities, and shame and not step out to be all that God calls me to be. The biggest poking stick the enemy has is the spirit of fear. So what are we afraid of? Many things:
· Financial loss
· The future
· Being rejected
· Being Left out
· Being Unloved
· Being Ignored
Can you think of others? Can you relate to any or some of these fears, either now or in the past?
How do these fears manifest themselves in our lives? Consider the following for a start. Each fear listed can manifest itself in our lives in one or all of the following ways:
We do things our own way because we are afraid of letting go and doing what we may not understand.
· Denying or running from a calling on our life
We are too afraid to step out and live in faith.
· Lack of success.
Focusing on our personal weaknesses and fears, we cannot step up and succeed at the great things God sets before us if we could focus on His strength instead.
· Pleasing people instead of God.
A fear of being rejected leads us to do things driven by a desire to be liked or popular instead of doing what pleases God.
· Unhealthy relationships.
Again, a fear of never being loved will cause us to cling to people that profess to love us but do not treat us as God desires.
Take some time to consider the list of fears today as well as the list of ways it manifests itself in our lives. It is important to be able to recognize the spirit of fear in our lives so we can reject it and claim the spirit we have been given by God.
The second part of today’s verse goes on to tell us what God has given us in place of fear:
For God HAS given us a spirit of power
For God HAS given us a spirit of love
For God HAS given us a spirit of sound mind.The enemy wants us to believe that the spirit of fear is stronger than the power granted to us through the Holy Spirit. But we know the truth, and when we step out in the spirit of power, love and sound mind we see:
Doing what God says even when it doesn’t make sense. When you see believers doing things that you would be so afraid to do, stepping out of their comfort zone, this is a Christian who has learned to deny the deceptive lies of the enemy and no longer live in fear but in the full power of the Holy Spirit.
However success is defined by God in your life, but that success is evident by the fruit of your life. You trust in Him more than you are afraid of your own weaknesses, so you step out and step up to all that God has called you to be.
· Fruitful life
When we walk in the life called us to, it is evidenced by the fruits.
· Spiritual growth
Walking in faith allows us to experience the truths of God and grow in our knowledge of Him.
Once identified, breaking the response of being poked by the enemy with the spirit of fear is like breaking a bad habit. The enemy isn’t going to give up easily and we must practice claiming the spirit of power, love and sound mind over the spirit of fear over and over. I can remember my mother telling me over and over that if I would stop reacting to my sister poking me in the back seat, she would eventually stop doing it. The fun of poking was getting the desired reaction.
We can call on the power of God to change our response to the poking of the enemy and we will soon claim victory over the enemy in this area of our life.
Carry this food for the soul recipe with you to recite each time you are poked, claim the promise of God’s word and watch the change God does in your life.
Our recipe today is for Fearless Living
The ingredients are from 2 Timothy 1:7
The directions are to respond to the prodding of the enemy with the spirit of power, love and
How can you apply this to your daily life? What fears have you identified today? What will you do to change the habitual response of fear in your life? Leave a comment sharing what is impressed upon your heart.
CLICK HERE for a printable version of today's recipe for the soul. Make notes on it of how God is speaking, and carry it with you to feed your soul as needed.
Oh God of my life, thank You for giving me a spirit of power, love and sound mind. Forgive me when I give in to the prodding of the enemy and respond with fear; a fear driven by memories of past failures and thoughts of personal weaknesses. I desire to be all that You created me to be and to achieve Your purpose in my life. I realize that I cannot do this in a spirit of fear. I claim all the power that comes with the gift of salvation and call upon Your name to conquer any fear in my life. Show me the fears I am shackled with so that I may confess them and claim the victory of changed responses. I come to you in the name of my precious Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.