Of course you know, this means war…

Both Joshua and David faced serious battles prior to and throughout their roles as leaders. Moses asked Joshua to fight the Amalekites early on in his assistantship. It took obedience, courage, and trust to lead the Israelites in battled against the fierce Amalekites. Once Joshua became the leader, he led them in battle after battle against the enemies that lived in the promised land. Although God had given them the land, they still had to listen to the Lord and participate in the way that God chose to bring it about.

David also faced much opposition early on. His first battle with Goliath was a huge success, but as a result, Saul soon became envious and frightened by the great love that the people had for David. This led to several attempts on David’s own life. Many of the Psalms give us a window into the heart of David during these dark times where he cried out to the Lord, asking God to fight on his behalf and conquer his enemies. The Lord did act for David, but David had to seek the Lord and he had to face the battles.

We can be confronted by all kinds of battles on our way to the purposes that God has intended for us. Sometimes opposition even comes from unexpected persons or places. In these painful, confusing times, we must be bent on following after Him anyway.

Isaiah 43:1-2: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

This is the phase I’m in with leadership. By God’s grace, I have been granted the opportunity to begin this good and precious work. It is has been a great joy to me. Meanwhile, Satan is not at all pleased and I was assailed with trials, doubts, and fears very early in my leadership experience. No sooner did I begin to see fruit and victory, did I also feel the strong presence of hardship hastening to my doorstep. Since I’m in this place, it is difficult yet to see my way past it. What I can say is that God is working in me through this time and that I see Him showing up in ways I wouldn’t see if things were still happy and easy. There is a lot going on that I don’t understand. At all. But I do grasp that if this was His plan for my kingdom work, it is no wonder to me now that I had to wait many years to move into leadership. Earlier on, I would not have stood up under the weight of these obstacles. Only in His strength, do I press on and find myself compelled to choose Him, even after counting the cost.

What scriptures, hymns, quotes, or thoughts remind you to stay true to Him when in means entering spiritual battles?

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When we don’t fear God…

Although most Christians wouldn’t have much trouble verbally and mentally assenting to the concept of fearing the Lord, many of us face serious trials when we attempt to live this principle out.

What prevents us from a right view of our Lord?
Certainly there are so many possibilities. Here are a few big ones:

  • Doubting/Unbelief
  • Fear of man
  • Ingratitude
  • Pride/Arrogance
  • Rebellion
  • Selfish ambition
  • Unresolved sin
  • Worry about the future

When we habitually live with any of the above woven into our approach to life, this makes it increasingly difficult to fear the Lord as we ought.  These things that we carry around repel us from a right understanding of who God is and how we are to relate to Him.  In our faith journey, it is often described as “hitting a wall,” “getting in a rut,” or “feeling stuck.”

When we don’t fear God, we can leave ourselves vulnerable to further avenues for sin and greater distance from God.

What defense do we have when these times come?

For one thing, we may need to do the things that we know we should, even if we don’t feel like they are helping.

  • Being an active part of your church, praying, reading scripture, worshiping, and taking up our daily responsibilities
  • Seek accountability with a mature believer you can trust
  • Serve others

It is important to try to identify the root of the problem.

Begin with what you see outwardly that you recognize doesn’t square with scripture.  For example, perhaps you observe recurring patterns of : 1) anxiety about finding a job, 2) attempts to ‘help’ God, and 3) losing sight of the good He is doing and has done.  As you pray and think about these symptoms, maybe you find that the deeper issue is a struggle with trusting in God’s provision. The person who lacks confidence in God will be likely to fear people and circumstances more than God.

Equipped with this knowledge, now you are in a better position to fight back with scripture about God as provider and giving your anxiety to Him. This will help you think what is true instead of what is false. You can study passages in scripture that demonstrate God’s willingness and ability to take care of those who fear Him. You can talk to your accountability partner about suggestions he or she might have to combat your lack of trust in God. You can also prayerfully ask God to grant you opportunities to change your behavior.