Draw the Line

 Source: Dr. Charles Stanley - In Touch Ministries

Source: Dr. Charles Stanley - In Touch Ministries

"YOUR greatest challenge may not be the FEAR you face, rather, it may be giving into distractions, illusions, lies, and comfort. A RENEWAL is but one thought away" – Chris Hewitt

Fear is one of the greatest motivators in our world today, the other…. Love. For much of my life I was not only motivated by fear, I was ruled by it. It's funny though, seeing me you may not have known it. I was fearful of allowing people in to know my feelings, my internal struggles. This included my family. What guy would do something like share his emotions? Perhaps, one who is Inspired to Love. Listen. Lead. Perhaps, a man of HITOP. 

Many of us are plagued with fear. Many of us wrestle with thoughts like: 

  • I cannot allow anyone to know the real me, the Christian. 
  • I cannot share my faith, for I fear being rejected, ostracized, or isolated. 
  • What if I fail? 
  • What if ____ dies and I did not share my faith with them? 
  • What if I am not good enough or don't have what it takes?  
  • What would other people think?

So, what can you do with these thoughts? These fears? Hold that thought, we will explore this more in a moment. 

TEST IT OUT

As you read this section, look for the distractions, the illusions, the lies, and the desire for comfort. Allow yourself to see whether the fear I experienced is one you can relate to. 

There I was experiencing the familiar feeling I faced week after week, fear. Public prayer specifically. I was 25 years old and met weekly with a group of Christian men. Our focus was to grow in our faith, hold each other accountable, and grab some breakfast before work. For me at first it was about the breakfast. Then it became about the guys and the relationship with them. Finally, and most importantly, it became about God. Before the conversations got going and our food arrived, we would turn to prayer. Having not ever done this in the public before the feeling of fear instantly took hold of me. I could feel the tension in my body increasing. My pulse racing. Sweat would surface from my pores. Everything was amplified. I could hear people whispering. I could smell a variety of foods. I could hear the footsteps of everyone around me. Louder and louder these sounds would grow. All I wanted to do was open my eyes and see what was around me. I wanted to know whether people were looking at me. But I didn't, I remained in prayer. Desperately fighting the desire to open my eyes and get out of this moment, I held on. Terrified, trembling, and slightly embarrassed, every fiber of my flesh fought the Spirit within. Finally, it was over. As I opened my eyes and gazed across the table, I realized…I did not hear a word. Fear won, and would continue to, until I stopped focusing on Chris and how he looked and started focusing on Christ and who He is!  

Today, we still meet and I am so in tune with my prayer that I do not hear anything but the words pouring over me. It’s beautiful. Faith, not fear, is now invited into my prayers, my conversations, and my life.   

My transformation was not immediate. It was a painful, uncomfortable period of my life. As I matured I became more content. I gave myself grace, lots of it, during this time of growth. In time, I stopped fighting and started following. I let go and let God. I grew through His love, by listening, and allowing Him to lead. God has brought me far, refined me, and transformed me. 

Time for Truth 

What has a grip on your today? What is distracting you? Are there areas in your life that you are accepting the illusion, the lie, the comfort? 

Draw the Line. Author Jon Gordon defines fear as: False Evidence Appearing Real. If it takes your focus, time, energy, and pursuit of your passions and desires, Draw the Line. Take Action. 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7 

Prayer Pause 

Lord, if anyone reading this has experienced fear, allow them to see the altered reality it brings. Allow them to lean into you Lord, stand in your strength, believe in your ability, and find the boldness to FEAR NOT. 

Transform with Truth 

The antidote for fear is Faith. If you’re fearful your faith is already being tested. Drawing the line is about rooting in your Faith, knowing the Truth. So, here are three methods of overcoming the mental block of fear you may be faced with today. 

1.     Renew your Mind

God does not love the person going to church, serving the community, pouring hours and hours into advancing His kingdom anymore and God does not love the person who is running from Him, struggling with Him, or rebelling Him any less.

Before you can renew your mind, you must take your thoughts captive. Captive means confined. You MUST lock these thoughts up. Do not allow them to roam around causing havoc. Do not go back to the prison you locked them in and visit them either. Imprison the thoughts of your flesh (Hatred, jealousy, discord, rage, selfishness, envy, gossip, worry, and fear). These thoughts must be confined and not visited again. If you do not imprison them, they will imprison you.

Discern that a renewed mind requires repentance. Abide in Christ. Stop trying (or believing) you can (or need) to please God. Accept His perfect love. “Perfect Love drives out Fear.” – 1 John 4:18 Know this - God does not love the person going to church, serving the community, pouring hours and hours into advancing His kingdom anymore and God does not love the person who is running from Him, struggling with Him, or rebelling Him any less. He loves the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the devoted and the lost, EXACTLY THE SAME! Be influenced by God’s Word, not your own.

2.     Soak up Scripture

Over 57 times, it is recorded in the Bible, “do not fear”. Another 46 times it says “do not be afraid.” Some would argue a total of 365 times there is reference to “not fear” in some way or another. So, I believe this something we should heed. 

If Fear is the lie, Scripture is the Truth.

Replace everything you believe to be true (Informational Fear) with everything you know to be real (Transformational Truth).
  • Notice, these are not suggestions, they are commands. 
  • Know, God would never command you to do something you were unable to fulfill. 
  • Believe, your mind only listens to you. Pay close attention to what you are telling it. Fear Ends where Faith in God Begins.

To get you started, turn to these powerful passages: 

Isaiah 41:10 
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 

Joshua 1:9 
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” 

Philippians 4:8
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." 

3.     Give it Time

Trust takes time. Anything you have been taught can be untaught and anything you have not been taught, you’re about to learn. Fear is overcome by trust and trust requires faith. The more time you soak in Scripture the greater your trust will be. This maturing process is about accepting grace and letting go of the past. Draw into God through prayer and allow Him to write this prayer into your heart “I will deliver you from fear and the lies that are tied to it. I will destroy the thinking pattern that fosters these anxious thoughts in you. I will strengthen you. As I change your heart, your mind will begin to focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy.” 

While you may walk out on God, He will NEVER walk out on you.

God stands at an open door. He waits. He allows you to decide, Him or Fear. You can stay and allow Him to transform you or you can walk through the door and leave. While you may walk out on God, He will NEVER walk out on you. You need not fear. You need not doubt. You however, do need to CHOOSE. Fear or Faith? Draw the Line.