"Fear - and Loss of...
FEAR - and Loss of Joy
"I say these things... that [you] may have the full measure of my joy within [you]." John 17:13 NIV
Did you know that 'worry-warts' usually have a higher than average IQ? But they also tend to have a bad case of the "what ifs." "What if I wreck the car... or get sick... or lose my job... or don't measure up to the challenge?" Now, most of this stuff never actually happens, but the fear of it overwhelms them and prevents them from living life now.
Chronic worry will steal your joy because worry is just fear that's unpacked its bags, signed a long-term lease and moved in. You can't be joyful and fearful at the same time; they're fundamentally incompatible.
How you act - reveals what you believe! By living in fear you're demonstrating that you don't trust God enough! Furthermore, when you serve God out of fear instead of gratitude, you end up feeling like a martyr, envying and resenting those who are living in joy. Jesus said, "I say these things... that [you] may have the full measure of my joy within [you]." Notice, He didn't pray that you'd be happy and escape trouble. No, He prayed that you'd have the same joy He had. "What kind's that?" you ask. A joy firmly grounded in your relationship with Him. A joy that's not subject to negative emotions within, or adverse conditions without.
David said: "Be glad in the Lord, and... shout for joy" (Ps 32:11). So, when you can't think of a solitary thing to be happy about, be glad that you're still held securely in the everlasting arms of God!
FEAR - and Loss of Intimacy
"God called to Adam, "where are you?" He replied, "I heard You. I hid. I was afraid."" Genesis 3:10 NLT
Is fear causing you to hide from somebody? A boss? A husband or wife? A touchy co-worker? A strong-willed child? God called to Adam, "Where are you?" He replied, "I hid. I was afraid" - and we've all been hiding ever since! We hide behind forced smiles, agreeable words we don't mean, social rituals we detest. Or worse - we hide behind things we do believe but don't express because we're afraid of what people might think - like the pain of confronting someone and the emotional energy we'll have to invest in cleaning up afterwards.
Short-term it may seem easier to act as if things don't bother you, or pretend to agree when in reality you disagree. But long-term it doesn't work. Why? Because peace isn't the absence of discord. When you remain silent in order to avoid confrontation, you end up avoiding something more important - intimacy. For example, when you don't speak up on the job because you fear making waves, you end up resentful, alienated from your fellow-workers and maybe losing a chance to make things better. When you're afraid to confront your marriage partner (and this should be done in love, not anger) you end up emotionally distant. When you refuse to share your faith with others because you're afraid of being ridiculed, you lose an opportunity to offer hope to those who need it the most. So today confront your fears, come out of hiding and start living!
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