Don’t Let Fear Take You Out
Many years ago a pastor of a church I attended shared a story in his sermon that I have never forgotten. The pastor (we will use the name David) was telling of a time when he was in seminary and visiting with his counselor (a well-known professor and author). David had come in to bare his soul to this professor about some feelings of inadequacy that he was experiencing.
- Said the prof as they talked, “Well, David, are you hard up for money?”
“Oh no, I’m working part-time and my new wife has a full-time job, so we’re fine in that category.”
- “Speaking of the new wife, are you getting along okay? I know there can be challenges in that first year of marriage.”
David responded, “No problems, really, we are really in love and doing very well.”
- Asked the prof, “Well, are you doing okay with your grades; I know you’re taking Greek and Hebrew right now.”
Replied David, “The grades are great — no complaint there — I just feel so inadequate and don’t know why!”
- Asked the prof again, “David, is it your off-campus ministry? Is it fruitful, are you enjoying it and finding it fulfilling, or is it difficult and unfruitful?”
“Well, it is going fabulously — God is doing some great things in those areas. Professor, I just have this inadequacy that overcomes me.”
- There was a pause and suddenly the prof. looked him squarely in the face and said, “Good — because you are.”
“What????” David exclaimed, “I bare my soul about this, and all you can say is ‘good?’”
“That’s right, David,” he exhorted. “The truth is that all of us are inadequate in and of ourselves. The day we begin to think we are adequate to any task, we are in a heap of trouble. David, you are inadequate, and by the way, so am I! The fact that you recognize it is a good thing and don’t ever forget it. Jesus Christ, David, is your adequacy!”
I have not forgotten that story. After serving the Lord in this ministry for over 45 years, there are times when I’m ministering all that I know to help a person, but there appears to be no ultimate change. Suddenly I feel completely stumped and don’t know what to do. I feel SO inadequate. (Ha, you would think I would know better!) Then the Holy Spirit gently reminds me that the more I have learned, the more I don’t know. God never said to Moses, “I’ll make you adequate for the task.” No, He said, “I will be with you.” It is then that I must choose to shift my focus from my own dilemma and begin asking Him for answers and wisdom so that the troubled person receives total freedom from THE DELIVERER, Jesus Christ, the Lord.
When a new teammate is fully trained and ready to pray for the first time, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are nervous before their first sessions. I sure was! But as time goes along, nervous feelings are quieted as they gain experience and confidence. However like me, they will find themselves faced with a ministry situation that stumps them. It is at those difficult moments that we can choose to remember: Without the Lord guiding us, we’re dead meat!
Is He with us at every moment, even when praying a deliverance appointment that is tough? You know the answer. We are called to do hard things that will expose our failures and weaknesses. So? It’s all about Him anyway, isn’t it?? And don’t we want Him to receive all the glory??? When we turn to Him for help, wisdom, great faith, and a full mind of Christ to get us through it, He meets us every time! In 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 we read that it is God who gives the increase. I love it when I am finished with my ministry session and I walk away, telling Him once more, “Wow, you just did another fabulous job, Lord. Thank you!” I love it when He gets the glory and draws a person closer to Himself than they have ever been by destroying bondages that keep them captive!!
Read this carefully! This is one of the most important quotes I can share with you; and when you’ve finished reading it, I’ll tell you where it came from.
- Question: “What percentage of Christians who have said “yes” to God regarding a commitment to walk in their anointing of deliverance are actually doing it?”
- Answer: “10%, Plenty of them receive the call initially and began to minister. But if we can cause them to step away, then 90% (of the 10%) are taken out, thus leaving only 1% of the original Christians called to deliverance who are walking in it! They are afraid of ridicule and are more concerned about what people think than what God thinks. They want a watered down version (of the process of deliverance) and are embarrassed to tell people that they received the ministry for themselves. They do not see any repercussions from walking away — they are pretty spineless people. Get them a little closer to the fire and they get afraid.”
Wow……… That quote came from a demon confessing this to be true before the Throne of God during a deliverance session! In my last blog, I referred to the potential of this happening, but I felt to share this expanded quote which says it all. It is true. Fear is one of the over-riding traits of believers worldwide, not just in your church or your community. Fear is universal, and it comes down to the story I shared about inadequacy. It has to do with knowing our identity in Christ Jesus and coming out of agreement with our fear of man. When we do not have a biblical view of ourselves, we are very concerned about what other people think of us.
Let me share another personal story with you. Years ago I was one of the most codependent people you could ever meet. I was so caught up in what others thought of me, that any criticism would put me in a cave for long periods of time. One day, however, the Lord in His graciousness approached me. I had been complaining to Him about a lie someone had said about me that was preposterous and that some of my friends had actually believed it! Suddenly He asked me:
“My son, why do you care?”
I stuttered around with, “Well, I…uh…well, it’s because….well, the biggest reason is….” It was comical. Every time I would try to come up with a good reason why it was important, I couldn’t finish the sentence because I realized all my reasons sounded foolish. “Exactly,” He said. “It does not matter what others think of you but only what I think of you. How about choosing to let that go once and for all and stop going around that mountain one more time? You’re building quite a rut that you won’t be able to climb out of shortly.”
At that moment, I gave Jesus my fear of man and the fear of inadequacy. Our Lord says He will be with us and never forsake us. On December 2, 1993, He gave me this verse from Deut. 31:8, “He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” I have that verse specially marked in my Bible and have never forgotten it. I know that I‘m’ not perfect and I need Him to root out more and more of those imperfections, but today I can receive correction without feeling totally condemned, because I KNOW THAT HE FULLY LOVES AND ACCEPTS ME. I don’t care what others think of me or if they disagree with my beliefs or whatever. I don’t care. I simply want to satisfy Him. I know I can’t satisfy everyone anyway, so what’s the big deal?
Where are you on this journey? Are you still afraid of failing or making a mistake if you try walking on water in a ministry you know you are called to? Why? Do you think that those doing it so well have never made a mistake? Why not ask them and watch them roll their eyes and say, “You have no clue!” Jesus Christ is the only one who did not blow it! That leaves you and me in quite a large company of mistake-prone individuals. It is because we are inadequate in and of ourselves and in desperate need of wisdom and power from the Son of God.
So don’t “make a demon’s day.” Don’t choose to be spineless by walking away from the wonderful gift that you know God has called you to, just because you’re close to the fire or someone might say something negative about you. So what? What’s new? Do you really care what a person of that caliber has to say anyway? Are they the kind of people you really want to impress or be friends with anyway? Or would you prefer fellowship with genuine, inadequate people in need of Jesus just like you??
Look to satisfy the Lord alone. Let Him restore His default setting within you – the default that He originally set in man, which is one of holiness and a personal relationship with Him. This is no time to continue dancing a clumsy two-step: one foot with Him and the other one with spiritual/political correctness. This will only result in sore feet that could mis-step His divine path for your life.