Hebrews 10:9-14“9 then He said [Jesus], "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He [Jesus] had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”
Once we have received salvation, we spend the rest of our lives being sanctified; set apart from the world for God’s use. We work to show ourselves approved for God’s work. We don’t work to show ourselves perfect. We will not be perfect until we are out of this sinful body and in heaven, the way God created us to be in the beginning.
Few ways of thinking are as harmful as perfectionism. Perfectionists believe that they should never make mistakes and that it is a catastrophe when they do. They tend to become quite upset when people or situations are out of their control and don’t go the way they “should.” We must realize that we can only control ourselves; we cannot control others. We are not God, only God controls all things. Perfectionists expect more from themselves and others than is reasonable and they often become angry and bitter as a result. Though perfectionism in people is fairly common, it carries a high price tag in terms of causing emotional problems, relationship difficulties.
Now I’d like to take a closer look at this problem to discover how we might view it from a Christian perspective. Then we can discover what we can do to defeat this spiritual affliction, which is a form of idolatry. There are two aspects of perfectionism we need to consider in defining this problem.
When people think they should know everything, they beat themselves up for every mistake. They believe: they should be totally powerful, and they become upset when things don’t go their way because it makes them feel out of control. When they believe that they should accomplish the work of ten people in a given day, they become depressed and discouraged over what “little” they do accomplish. While God calls us to be “perfect”, it is an ideal that He is asking us to move toward a goal. Perfection is not something that we can literally become. Only God is perfect. He controls it all, and his presence fills our world completely. Finite human beings know very little, can’t control others, and can only accomplish the work of one person on any given day. God accepts that about us, and we need to accept ourselves, the way that God created us. It is enough just to be who we are.
Knowing the theological and psychological aspects of perfectionism is only the beginning. Perfectionists must continue to grow in their knowledge of, and their love for Christ. Perfectionists must remember these words of Paul: “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12)
We could all take a lesson from Paul’s imperfect perfection. Paul was considered a “perfect” Jew. He had the right pedigree, the right training, the right desires, and the right enthusiasm. However, being “perfect” in your own eyes does not make you saved before God. When God got hold of Paul, he understood two very important facts:
We must not allow ourselves to be, enslaved to the “perfectionism” of this world because it is worthless. Only when we cast ourselves before God and allow Him to use our background, training, and gifts for His glory will we find complete fulfillment. Only when we repent of our sins and accept Him as our Savior does He perform His perfect work in us. We cannot work long enough, hard enough, or smart enough to work our way into heaven. We need to study the Word of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ and apply them to our lives then we can live by the truth. Jesus said in John 8:31-32, “31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Over the next several weeks we will be learning about: Who Is The Holy Spirit? What Does The Holy Spirit Do? How Does The Holy Spirit Work In Our Lives? How Does The Holy Spirit Speak To Us? ; as well as some other things about the Holy Spirit of God. But first we need to understand that God the Father Is Spirit! He is not flesh and blood.
The teaching that “God The Father; is spirit” is found in the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-26). In John 4:23-24: we find that Jesus told the “Woman at the Well”: “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” When we see the word “Spirit” written in the bible with a capital “S” it is referring to the Holy Spirit. Jesus revealed to the Samaritan woman at the well that he is the Messiah. She was the first person to whom Jesus revealed this. She thought that physical locale had a bearing on the proper worship of God. She said: You Jews worship in Jerusalem, but we Samaritans worship on Mt. Gerizim. Jesus was telling her the more important worship of God is done in our spirit, small “s” meaning in our own spirit.
There are people, still today who believe that their denomination, their man made doctrines, or their methods are the only true way to worship God. Some denominations believe that their man made doctrines are the absolute truth and all others will go to hell because they believe in something different. Jesus is saying here that none of the material things matter, we should worship God “in spirit and in truth.” In our spirit and in His truth.
What Does It Mean That God Is Spirit? The fact that God is spirit means that God the Father does not have a human body. We humans were originally created in the “Image of God”, meaning that our true selves is the spirit that keeps our bodies alive. The spirit that gives us breath and animates our flesh. The flesh is just a temporary home for our spirits as we continue to live on this earth. When the flesh becomes to weak to support our eternal spirit that keeps this body alive, then our body will die, and our spirit will return to the spiritual realm to be judged. Jesus will judge his followers works. He will reward the works they have done in his name. If we haven’t accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior we will be judged for the sin that we’ve committed while living in the flesh. Jesus, God the Son, came to earth in human form clothed in flesh like we are, but God the Father did not.
Many people speak of God as if He has a body. Humanity sometimes creates God in their own image so they can attempt to relate to Him better. Some question why the Bible sometimes speaks of God as if He has a body.
God is invisible because he is spirit, to say that God is spirit is to say, that God the Father is invisible.
God is a living, personal being. Even though God is spirit, He is also a living, personal being. As such, we can know Him personally.
Philosophically speaking, God must be a spirit in order to be infinite. God is not limited by a physical body like human beings are. Human beings are limited by the flesh; we can only be in one place at a time. God can be in all places at the same time. We are limited by hunger & exhaustion, God doesn’t need food or rest. If He was restricted by limitations of any kind He would not be:
He is not limited by any of the created things that limits our abilities in many ways. He can exist in all places at the same time. God is the un-created “First Cause” that is the power behind all other beings and all other created things.
Jesus helps us to connect the dots in the story of “The Woman At The Well.” In John 4:24 Jesus shows us the connection between God being spirit and worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. The idea is that, since God is spirit, people must worship Him accurately in spirit and in truth; with all their heart, mind, soul and strength; as opposed to relying on traditions, rituals, and physical places like: Churches, Synagogues, Cathedrals, or geographic locations. We can worship God anywhere at any time. All we have to do is call out to God, or, Jesus, or even call out for the Holy Spirit. He’s waiting for you to call out to Him, to tell Him your desire to be in relationship with Him, wherever you may be at the time of your need. Just speak His name and say: Lord, I need you. He’s there just waiting for you to turn back to Him. To Repent – which means to: “turn back to God”
If you don’t yet know Jesus as Savior – Just call his name and tell him you want to follow him. If you do know him as Savior & Lord, but maybe you’ve backslidden. Just call out to him and tell him you want to rededicate your life to following him. He will take you back because of your repentance. Then you just need to stop straying from him in sin. Take your mind off the things of the world and put your focus back on Jesus. Then follow his teachings that are outlined in scripture. This is where you’ll find healing and deliverance from the sin in your life. That is what our ministry is all about, our mission is: “Encouraging emotional, physical & spiritual healing through the application of scriptural truths.”
A Teaching From Genesis 4: 1-9
“ 1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” 8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Murders, muggings, rapes and riots; daily we hear reports of violent crimes perpetrated upon innocent victims every day on the evening news stations. Violence is nothing new. The Bible tells us in Genesis 6:11 that “11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” The Old Testament reveals mankind’s tendency to resort to violence as a means of gaining control, taking revenge, fighting back, or asserting authority. The reasons for violence in the Bible are the same reasons why people use violence today. Violence seems to be in every country around the world today, we only need to watch the evening news to be exposed to violence daily. From the time that Cain committed the first murder, humanity has been subject to violence.
God flooded the earth during the days of Noah because the world was full of violence (Genesis 6:11-13). Violent people will often come to a violent end as predicted in these proverbs:
Proverbs 4:16-19 “ 16 For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; and their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. 19 The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”
Proverbs 21:7 “ 7 The violence of the wicked will destroy them, because they refuse to do justice.”
Jesus also spoke about the violence of society in Matthew 26:51-52 saying: “51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Murder, the ultimate form of violence is forbidden in the Ten Commandments. Jesus said that murder begins in the heart [the mind], with angry and vengeful thoughts.
In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus said:
“21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry [or-gid'-zo – is to provoke or enrage] with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment [kree'-sis – a tribunal; by implication justice (specifically divine law): - accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment]. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ [meaning: empty headed, or worthless] shall be in danger of the council [The Jewish Sanhedrin; the Jewish legal system]. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire [gheh'-en-nah a valley in Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment: - or hell].”
The Commandment of God says: “Thou shall not Murder.” Killing occurs during wartime, for self-protection or it happens by accident. To Murder is when someone makes a plan to kill someone. Murder is a premeditated, well thought out and carried out with precision according to a predetermined plan. This is what happens with abortion. God’s people are warned against, allowing our natural emotion of anger to erupt into violence, because it can harm others. Believers must also be discerning regarding television, movies, and video games. These things can desensitize a person to violence and sometimes even glorify it.
With the filling of the Spirit, the believer will produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23 – “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Violence is evil and God hates those who love it. He warns believers not to envy people of violence or choose any of their behaviors. A Christian’s life is to be characterized by love, kindness, humility, gentleness, and forgiveness, not selfishness, anger and violence.
Colossians 3:8-10 says that when we become a new creation in Christ we are to follow Christ, or be more Christ-like. This scripture says: “8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,” [The Greek word for man, used here is Anthropos, meaning human-being, or all of humanity, not just the male gender.]
Christians Are Not Immune To Violence. Christians are also not immune to the devastation of the effects of violence or the temptation to use it. Many have been victims, not only perpetrated by strangers, but by the very people, they live with, the ones who are supposed to love them the most. Behind the closed doors of many homes a secret kind of violence lives, leaving tragic scars on its victims and causing lifelong consequences. People in such cases have suffered silently from relentless verbal, psychological, or physical abuse, and sometimes, sexual abuse. God cares deeply for the victims of violence. Throughout the Psalms, David cries out for deliverance from the hand of his oppressors. God has a tender heart toward those who have been victimized by cruelty and violence. He says that He will take revenge upon the perpetrator of violence for the victim. They can take comfort in the fact that a decisive judgement awaits those who oppress and hurt others. God loves you and does not want you to suffer at the hands of another human being. He loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to demonstrate how you can live your life reconciled to God now, right now, not sometime in the future – But, NOW!
How Are Christians To Respond To Violence? Should the Christian resist someone who is violent toward them? The apostle Paul wrote that in his own life, he did fight back against violence. Instead of fists, guns, knives, or ugly words he used the weapons of righteousness. Spiritual weapons for Spiritual Warfare. Believers are in a war of good vs. evil, but they are not to fight like the world does. They can win this war against evil
by overcoming evil with good. How do they win over evil with good? What does this kind of good look like?
It is good to protect ourselves from violent people. Proverbs 27:12 says, “a prudent man foresees evil and hides himself.” The angel of the Lord warned Joseph to take the baby Jesus and escape to Egypt because Herod was plotting to kill him. The apostle Paul escaped from those who tried to stone him. Believers should do what they can to remove themselves from violent or potentially violent situations.
It is good to expose deeds done in darkness. Ephesians 5:11 says that believers are to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” A woman went to the hospital for a surgery. A male nurse sexually assaulted her after her surgery. Eventually she mustered up the courage to tell someone and expose the violence that had occurred at the hands of an evil person. Her speaking up brought about changes in the way patients are handled after surgery, and hospital employees were more rigorously screened. Evil attacked this woman, but she exposed it to keep it from harming others and in the way that it happened to her. She exposed a deed that was done in darkness to the light of God.
It is good to speak the truth in love Ephesians 4:25:
A woman’s husband attacked her with violent, ugly words. She was afraid to confront him. Although her fears were legitimate, the only pathway to overcome this evil in her marriage was to speak the truth in love, that his behavior was sinful, hurtful and not a legitimate form of headship in their home. By speaking the truth from a loving heart, she demonstrated to her husband that she was not attacking him. Instead, she was genuinely concerned for their relationship and his spiritual well-being. She overcame evil with good.
It is good to allow violent people to experience the consequences of their actions. Proverbs 19:19 says: “19 A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; For if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.”
You will have to continue rescuing him because he will not learn that there are consequences to every choice that he makes. This action helps the person learn to take personal responsibility for the choices they make for their life. One of life’s great teachers is to experience the consequences of the choices we make. When a violent person sins against, someone, it is not wrong to use the legal means of protections and justice that God provides. It is entirely legitimate to call the police, press charges, and separate yourself so that the violent person learns that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.
It is good to be gracious to an enemy. Romans 12:20 says: “20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy.”
The last thing that people feel like doing is to be gracious to someone who has hurt them. Yet God speaks of kindness as a means of shaming our enemy.
Joseph was kind and gracious to his brothers in spite of their cruel act of selling him into slavery to the Egyptians. Being kind and gracious does not mean to ignore the wrong or pretend it did not happen. It means that the sin does not define the person who harmed by the violence perpetrated upon them. It does not shape them, or make them into something evil. It was by Joseph’s response to the violence, injustice, deceit, and treachery of his brothers that good won out. Joseph reminded his brothers; in Genesis 50:20 “20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
God gives His people the weapons of righteousness to fight against evil and violence. These weapons may seem feeble to the spiritually untrained eye, but Paul says that they are “Mighty in God”. We must take up the whole “Armor of God” found in Ephesians 6:10-18, so that we can stand firm and fight the good fight against evil and violence in our homes and in our communities.
Jesus said that it would not be easy to follow Him. In fact, sometimes it is very hard to follow His example. He tells us in Matthew 16:24-27: “24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
Jesus’ cross was a very hard to bear. He showed us how hard it was by his own example. He wanted us to know that it would not be easy, but there will be victory if we just follow Him to the best of our ability. God is a God of Love, but He also requires us to follow Jesus and the lifestyle that He demonstrated for us. That is what will lead us to victory. Our Commission is found in Matthew 28:18-20 “18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
“ 1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 to know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, 3 to receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, judgment, and equity; 4 to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion--5 a wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, 6 to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Solomon is saying: ‘If you want to achieve all the things mentioned in the first six verses of this Proverb, you must have what’s mentioned in verse 7 of this Proverb. Proverbs 1:1-7 emphasizes that, “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” In this case fear of God means reverential awe of The Supreme Being, The Creator, The final judge.
While knowledge is possible without knowing God, it misses the point, since God is the Source of everything. It’s ridiculous for humans to claim great knowledge and wisdom without having any respect for God. All human knowledge is only a tiny portion of all that there is to be known, just a speck in the vast universe of knowledge / wisdom of all that God has created. As we humans seek wisdom and knowledge, we should do so in the context of a proper fear of God. Then we will be able to use that wisdom and knowledge for whatever purposes God desires in order to build His kingdom. When God’s people fear Him, they understand His power over their lives and willingly allow His hand to guide them.
In the first few words of Proverbs 1: 1-7, the theological foundation of this Book of Wisdom is established; “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” The fear of God, as the foundation for wise living, is a recurring theme throughout the whole of scripture. The Book of Deuteronomy contains the great summary of God’s total claim on humanity and their expected response to His requirements. Yes, He does have requirements for us to live the Christian Life. Deuteronomy is a summary of how God’s children are to live each day of their lives. Deuteronomy 10: 12 says: “12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,…” There is a great riddle wrapped up inside this passage. Israel was given directions that were foreign to their neighbors – to stand before God in both fear and love. Even today, living with fear and love seems to be a perplexing paradox.
A Paradox of Fear and Love. Since fear is the most primitive of all human emotions, all anxiety disorder are rooted in fear. Fear is also the body’s natural alarm system. Any perceived threat will turn this system on. The nervous system that God designed you with becomes quite noticeable. Your body is automatically put in the “fight or flight” mode. Your heart begins to race. Breathing becomes shallow and rapid. Blood flows away from the extremities and digestive organs and into the large muscles. Hands and feet become cold. Sweating increases to cool down the body that has gone into hyper-drive. In short, the person is ready to stand firm and fight the object of their fear, or, to run away and hide from their aggressor.
When that same person experiences love, or laughter or relaxation, the body’s response is very different. In this instance; it is the parasympathetic nervous system that dominates. The body prepares to approach and enjoy, not to flee, or fight. Fear and love are physiological opposites. So again, how can it be that people are to both fear and love God? Let’s look at fearing God. The word “fear” has many synonyms such as reverence, awe, dismay, dread, distress, trouble, terror, horror, and respect. Most of these synonyms for “fear” have not survived the journey from biblical times & culture to the present day. For most people, to fear means to dread instead of to hold in awe or reverence. Some would argue that little is lost and much gained if we re-translate Proverbs 1:7 the same as, Proverbs 9:10 that says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And, the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
However, the fear of God does not totally equate with reverence and awe. The Hebrew concept of God was filled with wonder, awesomeness, majesty, and yes, terror and fear. A concept that modern people may struggle to comprehend. So while substituting other words for “fear” may be helpful in certain situations or with some individuals, we must continue to pursue a deeper appreciation for God that preserves the idea of fearing Him. He is much more complex and awe-inspiring than a “big buddy in the sky.” God is the ultimate Friend and Father, but He is also holy & completely “other.” To see Him in all His glory might very well be enough to stop a human heart. That is power beyond our understanding
People’s love for God should create a sense of heart-pounding anguish at the very thought of moral evil, revolt, rebellion, or compromise. With this in mind, a person ought to be terrified at the possibility of having life apart from His presence or on any other terms but His. The new person in Christ should mature into a sense of being delivered from worldly fear, since the presence of Christ’s love pushes out fear: 1 John 4:17-19 says: “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us” Are you really just like Him in this world?
The maturing disciple, however, should likewise experience a sense of terror at the possibility of being alienated from God or incurring His displeasure by living in this world like the non-Christians. On one hand, Christ impressed upon His disciples the necessity to fear God who can destroy both the body and the soul. Matthew 10:28 says: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Luke 12:5 tells us: “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” Jesus did not downplay the reality of the prospect of judgment. On the other hand, Jesus presented, a radical means for overcoming fear, being led by the Spirit of God to receive a sense of adoption by which we can cry, “Abba, Father” Romans 8:15 tells us: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” God’s gift to His children is not a “spirit of fear, According to 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Through the mystery of Christ, it is possible to move from the fear of being punished in His presence, to the joy of being drawn into His love. We ought to fear God, yes, but, we should not run from Him. Instead we ought to run to Him. We can come out of hiding and flee back into His presence and His standards for living. Then we can let fear keep us from leaving again, as the bonds of love grow and keep us tied to His presence.
Gideon knew fear. He wasn’t cowardly, just cautious. His courage had a strong component of fear that actually made him an effective warrior. He figured the odds. He took risks but planned to survive, and he demonstrated a willingness to resist a superior enemy with caution. That is why God’s messenger found Gideon in disguise. That is why Gideon tested God’s guidance. And that is also why Gideon had to learn a new lesson about fear, “The fear of God.” God reached Gideon during a military mission. Gideon was conducting a wheat threshing operation under the camouflage of a winepress. His act of resistance included a fair amount of desperation and danger. The people of Israel had been driven underground for almost seven years by the repeated pillaging of their Midianite oppressors. Obtaining wheat had become a dangerous enterprise. For Gideon and his men, discovery by their enemies would have meant losing the wheat and probably their lives. These factors explained Gideon’s response to the stranger he noticed sitting under a tree that overlooked the winepress.
When God’s messenger greeted Gideon with a compliment, Gideon brushed it aside and expressed a complaint about God. “If the LORD is with us,” asked Gideon, why then has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13). Many times in life, we ask the same question – Why Me God? Why does this have to happen to me? Instead of an answer, God gave Gideon a command. Gideon responded with an offering. God then replied with a miracle and specific directions. Gideon obeyed by destroying a Baal altar and starting a way toward victory. Thirty-two thousand Israelites joined Gideon to fight, but they were no match for the huge army of the Midianites. Faced with apparent annihilation, Gideon asked for further confirmation of God’s blessing: He put out a fleece as a means of getting a signal from God. God confirmed both Gideon’s blessing and His own role in the outcome of the battle. He downsized Gideon’s fighting force to 300 warriors. They did little more than light up the scene while God insured that the Midianites slaughtered one another. In all these events, Gideon’s fear affected his behavior. But fear didn’t prevent him from obeying or acting courageously. Fear actually clarified his choices and pointed him to God as the real source of victory. Gideon discovered a deeper courage in respecting God’s commands.
God will give us victory in the daily battles we face with fear. We can allow our fear to force us to obey the commands of God or, our fear can paralyze us into allowing others to have control over our destiny. Personally, I choose to be controlled by God. I believe that He will provide a way where there seems to be no way. He will open doors that I could never open on my own, and He has a host of angelic beings that will attend me as I fight my worldly battles each day.
God loves you so much that He sent His only Son, to this earth to become a sacrifice for you, to die a horrible death to forgive the sins of the world. He came to show us the way to be reconciled to God the Father. But the choice is ours, God will not force us to follow Him. You get to choose your destiny, either follow God to gain your life and live eternally with Him in heaven, or follow the world and lose your life eternally, with all of those who follow the Prince of this world – Satan!
Deuteronomy 30:15-16 God says: “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that, I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, so that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.”
For us, that land is heaven. But, it can also be a marriage, a new job, a new ministry, the mission field; anything that can seem impossible to us. The choice is yours alone! Will you put your full focus on spending quiet time with God getting to know Him personally through Jesus His Son? The question that God presents you with is: Will you Center your life on Him & His Son, Jesus?
ONLY YOU CAN ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF
The words in red in our Bibles are neither more nor less important than the words in black. Jesus said to the seventy: "He that heareth you heareth me" (Luke 10:16). This was his position concerning every divinely inspired writer or speaker. While millions read the Bible daily, few know why the words of Christ are printed in red. The idea originated with Louis KIopsch, the first editor for the Christian Herald Magazine.