The Frozen State

It is a new year and like most of us out there I am trying to figure out what I can change about myself for the better. My heart is quick to remind me that my weight loss goals still need to be met, and those hundred pounds aren’t going to go anywhere if I don’t change my exercise habits. I have the goal and a healthy deadline of 18 months. I know what I need to do to get moving and I have all the tools I need, but I am stuck in a frozen state. That is the moment right before I take a big step towards something positive but I can’t get past my fear and doubt to start. That moment when fear drowns out the encouraging voice of God can be devastating.

This is a dangerous place to be for Christians because the enemy stalks us here robbing us of all that God has to offer. The voice inside our heads that tells us we can’t live the life God calls us to live is the devil. That sly creature of destruction is the master of doubt and sometimes he can be hard to drown out. When we feel unworthy of God’s love it is a lie planted there and it blooms because we water it inside our minds. When Israel got to the promised land after crossing the red sea they sent in spies to check it out, and the spies gave such a negative report that the Israelites were afraid to claim what was already theirs. All except for two spies named Caleb and Joshua. They spoke out against those who were afraid and doubted God.

Numbers 14:6-10 ESV ‘And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord, And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.” Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel. And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.” 14:22-24 none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it. But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.’

The Israelites bought into their own doubts that God couldn’t protect them from their enemies and they became discouraged to the point that they sinned against God. They thought that God led them all that way just to let them down, and during the meeting the negative report given by the spies spread like wild fire to the other Israelites. These were a people who had seen God perform miracle after miracle and still gave into their own self doubt.

They had their own idea of what was possible and couldn’t believe that God was greater than their expectations. They couldn’t see God as a limitless and amazing shepherd that would lead them every step of the way. It is so important that we watch how we speak to others because we can encourage like Caleb, or we can tear each other down with our own doubts. If we see someone who is willing to serve in our churches how do we respond? We should say, ‘yes absolutely! Let me disciple you and help you get a great start.’ Do we doubt their abilities because we know their past, or do we discriminate because of their standing with others? Do we see someone doing good for God, but gossip about them behind their backs because they did something different than how we would of?  If our answer is yes to the last two questions then we need to pause and take a look at our own hearts. We need to pray that God take away our doubt so we can extend encouraging faith. If we are the one handing out self justified ‘reality checks’, we need to make sure that we aren’t the ones acting out of line with God. Living in unjustified suspicion of people’s motives only leads to us doing the devil’s work for him. Think about the moment that the spies began to share their fears with the large group. All the devil had to do was plant that seed of fear and doubt. From there it grew into a vine that choked out the gift of the promised land to those who bought into the lie that God would forsake them.

It may seem harsh the way that God dealt with those who believed the spies, but we are no good as Christians if we give into doubt. When we live in fear we are living for the enemy and not standing firm in our faith. Would we want to love someone who constantly doubted our ability to protect and lead? I would say not. In the end God did keep his word to the nation of Israel. After Moses and all the other men who saw the signs in Egypt had died, Joshua (who was the other spy with Caleb) was tasked with taking the promised land. He not only led the people in, but was victorious and lived to see the land divided between the twelve tribes. Remember that this leader was almost stoned to death by the fathers of the children he led. Instead God rewarded his faith tenfold. He lived to see God keep his promise to Israel.

‘And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.’ Joshua 21:44-45 ESV

So what is it that holds us back in our faith? Do we limit God to fit inside of our own faith instead of growing our faith to match him? I have been guilty of saying, ‘but God you don’t understand’. In all reality it is I who don’t understand God. We are often guilty of living inside our comfort zones, and we want to fit God in that zone with us. We serve a limitless and all powerful God who has compassion enough to grant us free will. He doesn’t want a following of mindless slaves, but rather he calls out through forgiveness and mercy to find disciples who choose to follow him. The real question is, how well are we doing this following? Do we follow when it is easy or when we need to hold up our standing with others? Do we follow and cling to God when things are tough and our dreams are dashed? In those moments when our dream is broken we need pause to grieve and then ask God where he would have us go from there. Grief serve the purpose of healing. We are not meant to live in our grief anymore than we are supposed to live in doubt of each other.

God is calling us to step out of the shadows even if we think it is in a small way. I felt God leading me to blog and it has enabled me to reach people on the other side of the globe. God may be calling us to extend a hand of encouragement to someone. We live in such a broken world that a simple act of building someone up may be the reason they choose to live one more day over suicide. We may never see the impact of our actions, but we must have faith that God will use what he is asking us to do for his good. We just have to recognize fear and doubt as the tools of the enemy and choose faith over all.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 ESV For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

I am going to get very real here with you and walk through the steps of taking my fear captive about losing weight. Maybe you can apply these steps to something that has you frozen in your faith too:

  1. What is the thought? I don’t want to work out and get smaller
  2. What is the fear? I am afraid to be skinny because I am afraid to be pretty.
  3. Why is this your fear? I am afraid to be attractive because I was assaulted and was told it was because I was pretty. I don’t want to put that thought into anyone else’s mind because I may be an easy target if I am smaller.
  4. What does your fear say to God? (this one is a really hard question, so don’t get discouraged if you need a minute here) My fear of being attractive, or smaller says that I doubt God’s ability to protect me. I am saying no to a longer and healthier life spent serving God and leading my kids, in exchange for a false security that my weight keeps me safe from another assault. I am believing a lie over the truth that God loves me and doesn’t want to see harm come to me.
  5. What is truth here?   If I lost the weight I would be healthier and possibly live a longer life. If I were assaulted again, God is still sovereign and He knows His plan for me. Any harm that comes to me is meant to shape me into a stronger Christian. Trading my health for a comfort Zone is not how God wants me to live.
  6. Can you find that truth in Scripture? Psalms 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. Matthew 10:26-31 So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark I say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your father. But even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
  7. What do you think needs to change about your thought? I need to strive to live healthy and trust God to protect me. I need to be a good steward of the blessing he has for me, by taking care of my body.

Remember that we are in charge of how fear and doubt affect our walk with God. We shouldn’t give into the enemy when he brings these snares against us, but we should live with the wisdom that God has promised good to us. We should overcome our enemy by living in truth. As always, God Bless!

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