Today I feel weighed down by the responsibility of writing in this blog. As I have sought to be more faithful to write here, believing it to be part of God’s calling for me right now, I have been so humbled by the response of my friends. I feel so very inadequate and underqualified to attempt to teach or lead or disciple or help. I have no doubt that I sometimes come across as some kind of expert– or at least as someone who believes she is some kind of expert– but I feel the opposite.
With every post and challenge and invitation I feel more and more small. I feel like a child, ankle-deep in the ocean, shouting instructions to the deep-sea divers. What right do I even have to talk about this stuff? I get discouraged when I don’t think people are reading, but when I know people are– then I get panicked.
What if I fail?
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
What if I mislead someone?
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
What if I fall to the grievous hypocrisy that Christ so strongly condemned in the Pharisees?
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Remember when Jesus was tempted in the desert, and Satan used Scripture itself to tempt Him? He seeks to do this to me, and I imagine He does the same for you. I have learned that I must be on guard against anything that causes me feelings of fear, guilt, or condemnation. These feelings are not from God!
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
The Holy Spirit uses Scripture in our lives to convict us and to lead us to greater purity and obedience. The above verses are really important. I must take heed lest I fall, and I must keep my heart right before God every time I write in this space, and I must recognize and root out sin in my life that causes me to be a hypocrite. But I must not give in to fear or guilt or feelings of condemnation. The Holy Spirit leads us into truth, not into lies. And those things are lies.
Scripture says that I am not to fear or worry. I am commanded to not be anxious about anything. I am commanded to fear not. And so I know that when I am confronted with fear, that that is absolutely not the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Not fear, but love. Not fear, but power. Not fear, but self-control.
We are all called to fight a battle against the enemy of our souls, and he is called the accuser for a reason. His accusations hit deep– You’re not good enough; you’re going to fail; nobody cares anyway; you’re such a hypocrite– you should be ashamed of yourself; you’re going to lead someone astray; if only these people knew the truth about you; what right do you have to say these things?
I have found that when the battle of doubt and fear rages in my heart, two things together bring me the greatest peace and quiet confidence in my Savior and His call in my life.
First, I need to confess that I am giving in to worry and fear and doubt. This was a huge realization in my life. Fear and worry are sins. I know it sounds so harsh, because we feel like we have no real control of our fears, but the truth is that there isn’t a single sin I can conquer on my own. I need the help of the Holy Spirit– the Spirit of power and love and wisdom– to overcome every sin, and that includes fear. But how can I expect Him to help me if I refuse to admit my fear is a sin in the first place? Confession just plops my ugly, insidious fear and lack of faith out there and invites the God who can do anything to do something about it. It is so freeing.
Once I have confessed my fear, I need to put on something else, and God has given me His armor to enable me to fight against the wiles of the devil. The shield of faith says that I trust God to give me the power to do what He has called me to do. I pray almost daily for God to help my unbelief– to grow my faith in Him into a mighty shield that Satan’s darts can’t permeate. And then, I need to fight back with the Sword of the Spirit– the very Word of God.
When Satan comes against us with lies, we must fight back with Truth. And there is nothing truer than the Word that sanctifies us. I’ve already shared some of my favorite verses to fight fear with– God has not given us a spirit of fear is one of them, and no condemnation is another. But there are so many more.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 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.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
I am still unworthy, unqualified, unable on my own to ever teach, ever lead, ever counsel, ever disciple. That never changes. What changes as I fight Satan’s lies is my perspective. I am unworthy, but I am called and so made worthy. I am unqualified, but I am daily given what I need to do what I am asked to do– given it by the hand of a good Father who is strong in all my weakness. I am unable, but He is able and He is in me. And that is enough.
He is always enough for me.
And today, my friends, He is enough for you.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.