“This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people: ‘Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear….'” (Isaiah 8:11-12 NIV)
“When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19 NIV)
These verses from Isaiah hit home with me today. Some people might call me a believer. I am a believer, but I’m also a skeptic. I am skeptical of the world and the various pressures and ways in which it “gets in my face” and “urges” me to conform.
Of course, I am being inappropriately anthropomorphic. The world doesn’t do these things. Or does it? Paul says,
“[W]e do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
If there are forces pressing upon us to conform, they aren’t always human forces. Being anthropomorphic isn’t entirely accurate, but it’s the best we can do, perhaps. We are the unwitting pawns in the battle. Some of us play our parts with gusto.
The apostle, John, wrote, “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) This was written by a man who, when the chips were down for Jesus, scattered in fear with the rest of the apostles. As Jesus tried to tell them of the need for him to die and be raised from the dead, something the apostles did not understand, he predicted they would all forsake him.
“You will all [i]fall away because of Me this night…. (Matthew 26:31)
Peter might have pumped his chest with bravado as he protested that others might leave Jesus, but he would never leave. (Matthew 26:32-33) But, Jesus knew better than Peter knew himself. He predicted that Peter, though swearing allegiance at that very moment, would deny him not once, but three separate times. (Matthew 26:34)
So great was the fear that overtook the disciples that they scattered after Jesus was taken by the Roman soldiers. Even Peter, who didn’t scatter, but stayed back to witness the interrogation, beatings, mocking and humiliation to which Jesus was subjected, denied that he knew him… three times.
Fear is a powerful emotion. It can overwhelm us and cause us to stumble from the path that we know is right. How do we overcome fear?
We don’t always think about the courage necessary to be a follower of Christ. Sure, we know the words that Jesus spoke: If you deny me before men, I will deny you before the Father. But we tend to view those words through the fear of being found wanting.
Fear is a bad motivator. I don’t think our tendency to be afraid of losing our salvation serves us very well. Perfect love casts out all fear. God is looking for the courageous, not the fearful.
“When you have two tuning forks in a room and one begins to vibrate the other will also begin to vibrate if it’s tuned to the same frequency. They resonate. They abide in each other’s frequency.” (Ted Dekker from the Forgotten Way)
If we are tuned to God’s frequency, we will resonate with Him and abide in Him. When we are tuned to God’s frequency, “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
God’s Spirit and our spirit are like the tuning forks. When we are on the same frequency with God, we resonate with God.