Continued from Perfect Love Casts Out Fear.

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.

Proverbs 29:25

Yesterday I left home earlier than necessary to meet a friend for lunch. Arriving at the location, I stepped out of my car to walk around the area, but something nagged me to first check my calendar. Good thing! I had arrived at the right restaurant but at the wrong location. Twice I had been prompted quietly yet clearly in my spirit regarding this lunch meeting;  first to leave home early, something I rarely do, and second to pause and re-check the details (even though I had no idea  I was in error).  The Holy Spirit, with his quiet yet powerful prompting,  had guided me even in these seemingly small ways. I drove to the right location, grateful  that I was able to meet my friend, over her lunch hour from work, on time!
 Why is it then that I can grow confused over how God is guiding me with decisions? If I am really honest with myself,  any confusion is usually an issue of my own will – do I really want to hear God?  If I really hear Him then I have no excuse but to act upon how He is guiding me.
Erin, at age four, discovered that it would serve her well at times not to hear me so that she could go right on doing what she wanted to do.  When confronted, she would respond with “I didn’t hear you” or “I didn’t understand you.”  I eventually got smart and didn’t allow “dull ears” to be an excuse and expected her instead to listen carefully to what she was told and respond.

 Failing to hear God can be a handy excuse for disobedience!

God’s promise to us in James 1:5  that if ” anyone lack wisdom, ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given him.”  We have a powerful promise of God’s ever present loving guidance available to us each and every day.

 Why then  do I fail to hear God at times? 

I fail to hear God when I allow the voices of others to become predominantly what I listen to. Then I begin to doubt God as I fall into people-pleasing-habits: seeking the approval of men and trying to make everyone happy (It’s exhausting!). James goes on to say in verse 6 ” but let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” When I hand myself over to what people think, I grow confused – unstable – a prisoner of pleasing and performing.  It is then that I am ensnared into compromising what God would have me otherwise do.
G.K. Chesterton claimed that “Jesus promised the disciples three things – that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy and in constant trouble.”
Crucifix and BibleI like the idea of being fearless!
And absurdly happy!
Losing the approval of others brews what feels like trouble in my heart. That’s because the fear of man is a snare for me. Yet I know that God asks me, at times,  to make decisions that will not please everyone. That is when  I must be especially mindful to conscientiously be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit who guides me if I am willing to listen. What a precious gift we have in our Helper who teaches and guide us in all things.  We simply need to maintain open ears and willing hearts!
“But the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”   John 14: 26

“Fear imprisons, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages; fear sickens, faith heals; fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable.”

Harry Emerson Fosdick

More next week!

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